Let Me Hear From You

Let Me Hear From You

The Key Metrics for Collective Success

I hope this email finds each of you recharged and refreshed from attending AudiologyNOW! 2014 in Orlando, Florida. It was, indeed, a magical experience to be a part of the largest gathering of audiologists in the world today. During General Assembly, Derrick Coleman's appearance certainly added his measure of magic. A fullback for the Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, Coleman was the recipient of a new Academy honor that I've instituted—the "Inspiration Award." Derrick has inspired millions of Americans with his personal story of hearing loss; his "no excuses" philosophy featured in Duracell's Super Bowl commercial is truly a success story of perseverance, dedication, and hard work.
But there are organizational and professional lessons to be learned from the Seahawks' collective commitment to achievement. Four years ago, Pete Carroll became the head coach of the Seahawks, but when he arrived, the team was uninspiring to say the least. Their record was five wins, 11 losses. Historically, the team was equally disappointing, with only one (losing) Super Bowl appearance in 37 years. To say they were an average team would be a charitable assessment.
What did Carroll and players like Coleman do to turn their team around? Here's what Carroll cited (as paraphrased by business consultant Dennis DuRoff):

  • Learn from mistakes and make day-to-day improvements. Regardless of how successful any effort is, there is room for improvement.
  • Don't stick with ineffective programs because it's difficult to admit a mistake—great leaders acknowledge mistakes and move on.
  • Let performance guide decisions.
  • To maintain a competitive edge, employees must be open to change and the organization must be committed to continuing education.

Not a bad set of philosophies. Pete Carroll determined that the key metric for Seahawk success was limiting turnovers. What are the key metrics to audiology's success in the current challenging health-care arena? Can we successfully identify and implement these? We can and must if, as a profession, we are going to achieve a full measure of autonomy. I'm certainly no Pete Carroll, but fresh from my interactions at AudiologyNOW! 2014, I do have some thoughts about things that need to happen for audiologists to become, indisputably, the preferred (and autonomous) health-care providers for hearing and balance wellness. Those include the following:

  • Volunteers and staff must embrace leadership skills that will facilitate success in a rapidly changing health-care market, and we must select our leadership carefully.
  • Volunteer leaders, members, and staff must hold each other accountable for outcomes.
  • Our profession must develop strategies that ensure appropriate responsiveness to a changing organizational, economic, political, regulatory, health care, and service delivery climates, with emphasis on effective patient-centered care, outcomes measures, and data collection mechanisms.
  • We must view our challenges as viable opportunities for success via change.
  • We must, as a profession, unite behind a single, achievable, advocacy strategy that reflects carefully developed relationships with policymakers.

We must step forward and own our profession—through personal responsibility reflected in our advocacy efforts, independent accreditation, collective giving to our foundation and PAC, and daily interactions with patients and stakeholders that reflect our very best capabilities.
Those who oppose our maturational process as an autonomous profession are successfully bringing forth requisite grassroots efforts in support of their beliefs. It is past time for the Academy to match those efforts with our own collective efforts. Your Academy leadership and staff is hard at work securing endorsements for direct access from organizations‎ such as HLAA, state academies, and many others. The piece that is missing, however, is YOU. Academy members MUST contact their members of Congress in support of our legislation. Without contact from constituents, the ONLY message that representatives on Capitol Hill will hear is that of our opposition. Through the Academy's Legislative Action Center, audiologists can quickly identify their representatives and send an editable letter in support of direct access. It takes less than two minutes and has a huge impact. Endorsements from state academies are also very helpful in our discussions with policymakers. More information and a sample letter is available on the Academy's Web site.

The key metrics for professional and organizational success are well within our grasp. Please, reach out, take action, and demonstrate your commitment to achieving real autonomy to our patients, colleagues, policymakers, and stakeholders. Those opposing our efforts have spoken—let's give voice to those in support of our quest for autonomy, and make sure audiology's voice is heard.