The Astron Road Show

The Astron staff will be participating in various events over the next few months.  We hope to see you at one or several of them!

ASAE Annual Conference

August 9-12, 2014 Nashville, Tennessee 

Join the Astron team at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee as they participate in the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) annual conference! Early registration ends July 9th2014!   Astron will be in booth #235, so please be sure to stop by and say hello!

CNY SHRM Survey Debrief

On August 21st, Astron National Director Jennifer Loftus will conduct her annual survey debrief to the Central New York SHRM (CNY SHRM) chapter in Syracuse, NY.  Attendance is limited to survey participants.  

Green Mountain Payroll Meeting

On September 10th, Astron team member Michael Maciekowich will be a guest speaker at the Green Mount Payroll Association one day conference in Burlington, VT! Come here him speak on designing an effective total rewards strategy. Sign up soon, there is limited spacing for this event!

CEA Survey Debrief

On September 16th, Jennifer Loftus will conduct her annual salary survey debrief to the Cement Employers Association during their annual gathering.  This year’s event, limited to CEA members, will be held in Savannah, GA.

New York State SHRM Conference

Have you wondered how you can engage your employees in a new and innovative way? One avenue organizations are exploring is Gamification.  Astronology discussed the growing popularity of gamification in a previous article. On September 28-30, 2014 Michael Maciekowich will be a guest speaker in Buffalo, NY at the New York State Society for Human Resource Management’s annual conference. Michael Maciekowich will be speaking on Gamification and the use of it in Human Resources. Register today to hear him speak!

2014 Upstate NY Healthcare HR Conference

From October 8 – 10, The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Association (ASHHRA) Upstate New York Healthcare Human Resource chapter will be hosting its annual conference. The Astron team will be in attendance and look forward to seeing many of our friends in the Healthcare industry! The conference will be located at the Woodcliff Resort & Spa in Fairport, NY.

Wisconsin State SHRM Conference

Looking for a way to gain more knowledge on HR topics and policies? The Wisconsin State Society of Human Resource Management will be holding its conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, Wisconsin. The conference will be held October 15-17, 2014. In addition to exhibiting, Michael Maciekowich will present “Gamification in Human Resource Management: An Introduction.” He looks forward to seeing you!

As you can see Astron will be on the road several times throughout the summer and into the beginning of fall. Will you be near any of these locations? Consider stopping by and saying hello to the Astron team! For future updates on Astron’s travels, check out our Astron Roadshow page!

Learning from Mistakes

July 23, 2014  |   General
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ast_mistakes“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear you will make one.”-Elbert Hubbard. A wise quote, yet in business, one can’t afford to make many mistakes without suffering dire consequences. Despite this, mistakes are unavoidable…we all make them! So how can an organization make the best out of mistakes that are made?

For starters, once a mistake is recognized, the best thing to do is to be transparent about it. Hiding it can create more problems, or make the problem larger than it originally was. By alerting those who need to be aware of the mistake, one can begin to critically examine what went wrong. Such an examination will reveal everything that went right, and most importantly identify what caused the mistake to happen.

An extreme example of using transparency when making mistakes includes Paul Levy.  As CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he began blogging about injuries and infections suffered by patients, particularly the wounds that could have been easily prevented by staff personnel. Despite the controversy Paul’s openness caused, it did reap significant results:

  • Hospital mortality of 2.5% (translates to one fewer death per 40 Intensive Care patients)
  • Total days patients spent on ventilators reduced (350-475 in 2006, to 300 by mid-2007)

How did publicly opening up about errors create future reductions? Dr. Tejal Gandhi, Director of the nonprofit organization “Partners Healthcare,” mentioned that this approach, “…drives leadership to take action more immediately.” Researching public reporting of patient harm, Dr. Ashish Jha, Associate Professor at Harvard School of Public Health, said that “evidence shows it changes health care providers’ behavior in ways that improve safety.”  In effect, publicizing or acknowledging these mistakes motivated workers to explore options to minimize repeat mistakes.

Another helpful tip is to categorize mistakes into one of these four groups:

  • “Stupid”: the absurd things that just happen, for instance, stubbing your toe.
  • “Simple”: the avoidable mistakes that, due to decisions made prior, create the inevitable.
  • “Involved”: the mistakes that require more effort to prevent, for example, frequent lateness.
  • “Complex”: the mistakes that are created by complicated circumstance, such as failed relationships.

Recognizing which category the mistake falls in can help one to gain the proper perspective / attitude about the mistakes and take the appropriate steps to prevent the mistake from happening again. No need to make mountains out of molehills!

Try to keep a “progression, not perfection” attitude.  Features of this attitude include the following:

  • Do better the next time, than last.
  • Eliminate aspects that can cause error.
  • Improve strengths / weaknesses.

Mistakes can be stressful. By objectively examining them, however, these same stressful mistakes can be valued building blocks for an organization. So instead of allowing a mistake to become a crisis, keep a progressive attitude and share these lessons with your organization.

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