This past weekend, I was back at Clarion University of Pennsylvania where I earned my Masters Degree in Communication many years ago. I was there to deliver the Commencement Address for the 2016 Spring Commencement.
What an amazing experience standing on that platform in front of thousands of students, parents, and family members to share a few words that would send the graduates off to the next phase of their careers and their lives.
The theme of my commencement address was, “The People You Meet, the Books You Read, and the Experiences You Have”. It is based on the wisdom of our long time professional speaker friend, the late Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, founder of Executive Books in Mechanicsburg, PA. Charlie always taught us that “you will be the same person five years from now except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Charlie loved The Lord, he loved people, and he loved books.
In preparing my speech, I expanded on Charlie’s lesson to say, “you will be the same person five years from now except for the people you meet, the books you read, and the experiences you have.” I’m really into creating experiences.
The People you Meet
In my speech, I talked about some of the people who have made a huge impact on my life; Dr. Jim Cole, the Dean of the School of Communication when I was at Clarion, JD Dunbar, a student of mine when I taught at Clarion, who is now CEO of the Pennsylvania Rural Leadership Program and a Clarion University Trustee, and my son Jason Tweed.
The Books you Read
I learned that the graduates in the audience didn’t want to hear any more about books. They are tired of reading and want a rest, but I encouraged them to get back into reading regularly after a bit of a rest.
The Experiences you Have
I talked about my experiences as a student at Clarion. I talked about my experiences as a new employee at Joy Manufacturing, the world’s largest manufacturer of underground coal mining machinery, and my experiences as a professional speaker and author.
I also shared the story of Jason and his life growing up with a physical disability. I told them about the doctor at Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital when Jason was one year old who diagnosed him with Werdnig Hoffman Syndrome and told us … “Jason will probably live to be three or four. Take him home and love him.” As many of you know, Jason is now 44, is married, owns his own web design and digital marketing company, and has twins that are 14 years old.
Lessons for Home Care Leaders
Today in my email, I received the photo at the top of this page showing me speaking at commencement. I was reflecting on the speech, and the applause and congratulations that came with it. Then I got to thinking about how these same lessons apply to CEOs and other leaders in home care.
Take a moment and consider these questions: Who are the people you have met who have influenced your life and your business? What books have you read that have helped you grow our business? What experiences in your life and work have helped you most in starting and growing your home care business?
What about going forward? Where can you go to meet new people who will help you grow your business? What books can you read that will help you grow your business? What experiences can you create that will influence your thinking about the home care business?
The People You Meet in Home Care
The best place to meet people who can shape your thinking about home care is at your state or national home care association. I’m a huge fan of home care associations and have worked closely with all of the national and state home care associations for over 30 years.
Another great place to meet other CEOs who can help you with your business is the Home Care CEO Forum. That’s our membership network designed to connect CEOs in the Top Tier of home care with one another. You can participate in monthly Virtual CEO Round Tables.
Another way to get connected with people who can help you grow is through a Mastermind Group. This is a group of non-competing CEOs who meet a couple of times a year to share ideas, solve problems, and encourage one another.
The Books you Read in Home Care
There not a huge number of books available on home care, but there are a few and we’ve written most of them. Here are my recommendations:
- The 2016 Home Care Benchmarking Study from Home Care Pulse
- Capture the Caller: Turning Inquiries into Admissions in Home Care
- Increase Your Income selling to Bank trust Officers and Other Trusted Advisors
- Six Secrets of Selling Private Duty Home Care
- The New Directions Policy and Procedure Manual
There’s probably no better experience to help you refocus your home care business than by attending a Home Care Field Trip. This is an opportunity to spend a full day inside one of the largest home care companies in the country while the CEO and COO describe in detail how they have grown their business. They will show you exactly how they run their company, and how they are dealing with major industry issues like the Caregiver Recruiting Crisis, the Affordable Care Act, and the Overtime rule.
Giving the commencement speech at Clarion University of PA has been the highlight of the year so far. But it’s not my only speaking engagement. A big part of what I do at Leading Home Care is speaking for home care association conferences, franchise organization meetings, and corporate conventions. If you are a member of an organization or a company that brings in outside speakers, I’d love to talk with you about getting an introduction to your meeting planner. Give me a call or drop me an email and we’ll set up a time to talk.
Call Stephen @ 502-339-0653