STOP! HALT! Keep Quiet … or Lose Business

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Last week two of my friends invited me to participate with them in a local March for Our Lives event being held Saturday.

If you are tuned into the news and politics of today, you know that marches were held to support gun control to keep people, especially our children, safe from being victims of mass murderers. Hundreds of thousands of individuals marched on Washington, DC, and in hundreds of other cities to bring attention to this issue.

To my friends’ invitation, I replied no. I couldn’t / wouldn’t go. But maybe not for the reasons you might think.

It’s not that I don’t believe in peaceful protests – because I do. I remember being inspired by the civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s. I participated in peaceful protests over the VietNam War when I was in college. I even (metaphorically) burned my bra!

But no, I did not attend the March for Our Lives. Here’s why.

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Pancakes, Snakes, Red Flags, and Advocacy

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You don’t have to be a huge fan of Dr. Phil’s to appreciate his delightful and useful sayings. He boils down important and sometimes complex concepts into downhome philosophy that helps us better understand our fellow human beings and our lives.

Today we’re going to focus on one of those sayings to improve our ability to ferret out those clients we should not work with (yes, I said, SHOULD NOT work with):

 “No matter how flat you make your pancake, it still has two sides.”

Advocacy stories are like those pancakes. They have at least two sides, too.

I raise this today after an exchange with an APHA member about a disconcerting client experience. That came on the heels of another advocate’s experience where, because of a simple typo on her directory profile, a potential client posted a negative review of her work.

Say what? Let’s look at both stories – and, in pancake style, their flip sides.

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Fashionistas! What Hats Does an Advocate Wear?

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I played golf the other day with a group of women I didn’t know well. I came away from the round being less pleased with my golf game (I really can’t putt!), but much pleased with the conversation and its application for our health and patient advocacy profession. In fact, I was so pleased with it, I went home and recorded notes so I could remember the conversation to share with you.

The ladies I played with were very curious about advocates. They all had healthcare horror stories to share. One had recently been through some bad medical experiences with her husband. One by one throughout the morning, she told me about some healthcare system transgression he (they) had suffered. For each one, I described to her some ways an independent advocate might have helped (with the emphasis on “independent” for all the obvious reasons.)

Ultimately the conversation produced a list of “hats” – the many kinds of help and support an advocate can provide. It wasn’t a list of services, such as the list we’ve included on the AdvoConnection Directory site. Instead it was more about benefits and support.

So I share this list with you today and invite you to add to it below. Each hat completes the sentence: An (independent) advocate is a _________________.

Of course, not all advocates wear all these hats, but all advocates wear at least some of them.

So, advocate fashionistas… What hats can you add to the list?

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Top 10 “Best Of” APHA Posts: 2017 in Review

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As 2017 comes to a close, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the blog posts you, my readers, considered to be most worth your reading time. Using post analytics, I’m able to see how many of you have read each of the 44 posts from 2017. Then, accommodating for the fact that some posts have been online for 11+ months, while others were just posted recently, it’s easy to tell which ones captured your imagination (or google’s search interest) to make the assessment.

So here are the top 10 posts (well – OK – I did have trouble counting again), in chronological order, the oldest to the newest:

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What Matt Lauer Can Teach Us About Private, Independent Advocacy

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The shocking news last week (although not-so-shocking to some) that Matt Lauer had been kicked to the curb by NBC came in tandem with an email conversation with a newly minted health advocate who wanted to be listed in the AdvoConnection Directory, but who has a little (not so little) problem with her website and marketing materials.

It struck me that Lauer’s behavior, as he faced accusations, even though the circumstances are NOT at all the same, provides a lesson to share with you.

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