How Identifying Your Mission Helps You Stay the Course in an Ever-Changing World

What do juggling and rowing have to do with dealing with change? I’ll explain how these two things help me deal with the continuously evolving world around me.

 Heidi Castaneda, staying the course in an ever changing world lg2

It’s hard to pinpoint one experience that has led to me to where I am today. But I believe that I have best learned to adapt to a changing environment while raising my children. Because of a big age gap among my four children, I’ve been parenting for 30 years. And during that time, my parenting style has changed to adapt to the times—what my oldest child was dealing with in the late ‘90s is completely different from what my children are exposed to today (e.g., social media and cyber-bullying).

Create a mission and vision

While I’ve witnessed constant change to what my children had to deal with in those 30 years, one thing has always stayed consistent: my mission and vision. Regardless of what’s happening around me, I always want my children to be safe, happy, healthy, and independent. And no matter what comes my way, I refer to my mission—because it’s helped my family stay the course during tough times.

As for my professional life, this is my 23rd year at Select Health. I started as a file clerk—back when everything was done on paper. Since then, I’ve witnessed nearly every business process we do at Select Health move to an electronic method. Needless to say, the pace at work has changed. We’ve reached a time when people want things done quickly, and to keep up with that demand, we’ve had to streamline our processes. As a result, our turnaround times have drastically changed. Tasks that used to take two weeks to do manually, we now accomplish in minutes.

But amongst all this change, one thing has always stayed consistent: the need for personal relationships. Because the electronic world is now preferred, we’ve lost a little bit of face-to-face human interaction and connection that was a necessity when we were doing things on paper. But, people are still critical to our process and mission. Knowing people on a personal level and supporting one another in good and bad times should always be paramount—and doing so gives us a better balance in a predominantly electronic environment.

Ask why

I don’t necessarily deal well with change. In fact, I prefer the word evolution—that means there’s no end, there’s no finish line. We’re not in a race, rather, we’re in a life-long marathon—a challenge that requires constant adjustments along the way.

It’s easier for me to adapt to change when I understand the “why” behind doing something. When there’s change occurring, I identify how the change correlates to my mission and how it will help me and my team succeed. If, after identifying the “why,” the reasons don’t tie back to my mission—it’s probably okay to let go of the change or seek better understanding.

Identify your priorities

Life is a constant juggle. What helps me? A metaphor: A scenario in which I’m juggling rubber and glass balls. The goal is not to drop the glass ones (my highest priority). So, if I know what my highest priorities are, then I’ll do whatever I can to never drop them. I’ll always be more productive if I’m taking care of the “glass” first (i.e., the things that are most important to me).

At work, my team and I need to be aligned with the same vision—because we all need to understand where we’re headed and know what success looks like. If my team’s on board with our mission and vision, they’ll be able to make day-to-day decisions that will get us to our end goal. When working on anything, we need to make sure our priorities will make a difference. So we ask ourselves: Will doing this make things simpler? Will it reduce costs? Is it connected to our mission? If not, we’ll realign our tasks so we don’t get distracted from reaching our goal.

I’ve been known to sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” to my team. This song serves as a reminder during times when there are plenty of distractions (when everything else seems to be a priority) that we need to keep gently rowing down the stream. And eventually, we’ll get to where we need to be. It sounds so simple, but it has a lot of meaning to me and my team. After all, life is but a dream.

Meet the needs of others

To meet the ever-changing needs of consumers, we built Select Health LinkSM—our new sales and enrollment system—to make the process of shopping and enrolling on a health plan as easy as possible. Link provides flexibility because it allows consumers to enroll on a health plan regardless of expertise with technology. With Link, it’s a custom experience. Individuals, agents, and employers can use the system to make a payment, sign a contract, enroll on a plan, or get a member ID card within minutes.

As technology has changed, we’ve also changed the way we communicate—and Select Health is committed to be available regardless of how our members want to talk to us. Whether it’s on the phone, via text, email, or online chat. We don’t shy away from advertising our contact information—we are here to help.

Be a trustworthy source

As a company, we do our best to educate our members and the people we serve in the community. If our staff is educated with a good foundation of knowledge about our products, services, and resources, we can better help others. People typically look to those they can trust for answers, so if we’re considered a trusted source of information, consumers may be more likely to look to us when they have questions or need help.

As an organization, it truly is our mission to help people live the healthiest lives possible. Part of the education we do helps to empower consumers to make the best decision for their circumstance. Even if that means that one of our health plans isn’t the best option, we’ll direct them to a different carrier that better fits their needs. And, if we can’t offer a Select Health plan or recommend a different carrier, we’ll find community resources to connect them to the services they may need.

Stay connected to your mission

In our team meetings, we’ve implemented a “Moment of Mission.” It gives us a chance to identify how our daily tasks connect us to our mission and vision. The stories we share during this activity help unite our team, show how we’re making an impact, provide a source of inspiration, and re-energize our efforts.

As an organization, we don’t get distracted with fads or do things without a lot of thought. We’re helping people make difficult decisions about their healthcare. And, because of that, we’ll always strive to be genuine with our members. That helps us stay the course and remain purposeful. We have deep roots connecting us to our mission—and while we’re weathering constant change, that will always be our safety net.

Related: 3 Ways Innovations Will Shape Healthcare This Year


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