The best of Chuck Lauer: 10 columns to bookmark

Chuck Lauer has a knack for sharing stories and advice that remind people to be the best versions of themselves.

Here are 10 columns Mr. Lauer has penned over the years, although they are about timeless topics. We are grateful for his contributions.

10 traits of real, unforgettable leaders
Some of the most influential people you meet may not meet the textbook description of "leaders." But as Mr. Lauer details, that doesn't make them any less memorable and meaningful to you.

My 20 life lessons
Find new friends and cherish the ones you have. Set your own altitude with a positive attitude. Cultivate a sense of humor. When stumped, ask for help. Mind your manners. These and 15 other pieces of advice from a long life and career in healthcare, publishing, public speaking and consulting.

10 factors in creating a positive work environment
"Over the past few years, a new phenomenon has burst upon the healthcare world: the call for a positive work environment for employees. This is a great trend and I hope it will continue forever, but one warning: it is not so easy to accomplish. It takes a lot of hard work and total dedication. Here are 10 basic factors that I believe are essential to create a positive workplace. I believe each and every one of them is tremendously important to the overall health of the hospital and to the morale of the people who work in it."

Don't take a jet to the grocery store
"Many people in business, government, healthcare and even sports these days have a tendency to take simple matters and make them very complicated, wasting time, effort and money. NASA once spent years and millions of dollars inventing a pen that would work in space. The Russians gave their astronauts pencils. Smart people appoint committees, develop spreadsheets and protocols and spend months on problems that one person with sound judgment could dispense with in an afternoon. The more complicated we can make an issue, the smarter we seem, I guess."

The ethics of a good night's sleep
"I have witnessed among many senior leaders in healthcare a pride in needing only a few hours of shuteye a night. It is not a good example for others. It would do well for any of us who are concerned about our people to understand the possible consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep isn't treated with the seriousness it deserves, a result of a suspicion that you aren't enough of a go-getter if you sleep enough."

Keep it simple
"It's all too easy to get caught up in your own success and want to experiment with new ventures and new markets. In the process, however, your core product can get lost. Here are a few ways to keep things simple."

Simple, timeless insights into the art of negotiation
"Too often negotiations fall apart because the parties involved haven't done their homework. As a result, people walk away from the table disillusioned and bitter. Mark McCormack's insight is to do your homework, know what you want and listen as aggressively as you can to the other party and don't give the store away by talking too much. Brevity is always in vogue when speaking or writing."

7 things CEOs should ponder before moving on
Here are some things an executive should consider as their time with an organization appears to be coming to a conclusion. All do not apply to everyone, but they serve as a guide for how to conduct yourself when retiring, leaving under duress, or simply moving on for business or personal reasons.

For bosses, it's no more Mr. Rude Guy
"In my career I have had the good fortune to be involved with bosses who by and large behaved like human beings. Some were very open, while others were more guarded. Some were grouchy, while others had at least a semblance of a sense of humor. But in all cases you knew who was the boss, and if you were smart you tried to make sure the boss knew what you were up to and you didn't try to hide in the murky depths of the organizational chart — that was the kiss of death."

Leadership for great customer service
"Consumers now have a world of choices in accessing the care delivery system and are far more cost-conscious. They are going to be making decisions based in large measure on how they feel about their prior experiences. That means hospitals, health systems, medical practices and ambulatory care providers had better get with the program of good customer service as a core strategy for survival."

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