Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Credible Connections - Summarized

The philosophy of Credible Connections is the philosophy of Charles Schulz put into action in the workplace.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schulz, the creator of the 'Peanuts' comic strip.

Follow along . . .

You don't have to actually answer the questions. Just ponder on them. Just read the this straight through, and you'll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.

2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.

3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.

4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.

5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress...

6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?

The point is that none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List three teachers or professors who aided your journey through

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.

3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.

4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special.

5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.


The lesson:

The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials.. the most money... or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most.

In the workplace, that person should be your boss and, if you're a boss, that's who you should be to those who look to you not only for leadership, but for care, compassion and concern.

Simple as that.

Credible Connections,
the system, is about putting that simple, yet profound, philosophy into daily practice.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Will Drugs Really Solve Our Problems?

I sure hope so because most Americans take a lot of drugs -- "uppers, downers, screamers, and laughers," as Hunter S. Thompson once described our love affair with pharmaceuticals.

A recent revelation of the top 50 most prescribed drugs in America -- which represent 10 percent of the nation's annual health care costs -- reveal that we're looking for the "happy pill," or at least the pill that will take our pain away.

The number one most prescribed drug?

Hydrocodone -- a powerful opiate pain-killer often marketed as "Vicodin" that is highly addictive.

Number 9 is Alprazolam, the generic name for Xanax, also addictive and given for anxiety and depression.

At 15 we have Sertraline, another depression medication, along with Lexapro at 19.

At 20, there is oxycodone, another highly addictive pain killer.

Rounding out the Top 50 are another 7 medications for depression and anxiety.

Which makes the collective blood pressure of the country not surprising. In the Top 50, there are 10 medications for hypertension.

The problem? While the meds may be making us healthier, or at least let us live with whatever it is we have, they are surely not making us happier.

Indeed, in the most recent World Happiness Survey, the United States ranks 16th, which may overstate the case since 81% of all Americans believe we're headed in the wrong direction.

For sure, we're one of the most scared populations. Scared of what? Mostly of losing our money which may be why we take so many drugs that don't work which leads to . . . well, more drugs.

It would be nice to see a health plan introduced on either side of the aisle that dealt with the causes of disease rather than simply delivering expensive ways to live with them.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Health Care: What Happened to The Part About "Personal Accountability?

Part of the campaigns of both candidates for President last year focused on "personal accountability."

Now, with relentless bailouts of financial institutions, car companies, and a "stimulus" that is supposed to make everything better, I am left wondering what happened to the "personal responsibility" part.

This is obvious across the spectrum, but perhaps nowhere more in your face than the various health plans being promoted on both sides of the aisle.

Bottom line of all plans: Extend health care to everyone. Ignore pre-existing conditions -- even if they are self-inflicted. In insurance terms, it is the prohibition of underwriting risk. In plain English, it means those who take care of themselves will be paying for those who have and continue to abuse themselves with food, alcohol and tobacco, just to name three.

But let's take one, the most common one in our society -- obesity.

Under these circumstances, being overweight or obese is not just a personal issue that affects one's health but is also a public health issue that impacts other people in society, especially those who are paying the bills.

A recent study in the journal Health Services Research reveals that the extra Medicare cost associated with overweight elderly people will cost hundreds of billions of dollars across the entire current Medicare population.

The article's findings show that treating the health needs of an overweight or obese elderly person will cost Medicare 6 to 17 percent more over a lifetime than treating an elderly person with a healthy weight. The same will surely be true of younger people.

The authors of the study used a measure of weight that takes into account a person's height, known as the body mass index and looked at total costs from Medicare alone for individuals covered from age 65 until death. The extra demands made of the healthcare system by overweight and obese elderly amounts to Medicare's spending on average an extra $15,000 on overweight elderly individuals and an extra $26,000 on obese individuals.

"Our research provides valuable information for why the public and health policy makers need to pay attention to the financial burden of health care for overweight Americans besides it's being just a health issue," Professor Zhou Yang at Emory University concluded. "More aggressive public health campaigns or early behavioral or policy intervention to stop the obesity epidemic could be cost-effective as well as otherwise beneficial for society."

And that is probably true. But I don't believe this is primarily an educational problem. Rather, I believe most people know they are killing themselves when they overeat, drink, and smoke. I just believe they don't care and figure the health care system will take care of the problem when the time comes.

This health care debate is a monument to what an absence of personal responsibility looks like in the real world and the cost will be staggering. After all, one's medical condition and their lifestyle won't count when calculating premiums so why not skip the gym and have a drink, hey?