Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Healthcare Makes Me Sick!

Our healthcare insurance carrier is conducting themselves in a manner that is changing my perception of their industry-- for the worse!  Their industry is under a lot of scrutiny these days, and I'm beginning to believe they deserve it.

My Perspective To-Date
I run a small business and am sympathetic to the plight of the small businessman (or woman).  Our taxes and fees are increasing, and doing business-- especially in California, is challenging.

But I have always defended the insurance industry as I would any legitimate business.  They provide a service, and they have a right to do so profitably.

Our Situation
Without going into specifics, our health insurance company made fast changes to their plans that cost us and our team members thousands in the last year.  These were done without warning, and they were entirely unsympathetic to our plight.

The person in our office responsible for dealing with them was under so much stress from them that I personally took on the responsibility earlier this month.  I've been working with them for three weeks, and now I understand why she was nearly at tears.  They have been insensitive, uncaring, and unresponsive.

Big Isn't Always Better
Before starting our small business in the mid-1980s I was in executive service for General Motors.  They had pirated me from a similar role in Ford Motor Company.  I understand working in a large corporation, and know that sometimes they can be difficult to navigate.  Sometimes their personnel can be unsympathetic to customers' needs.  But an objective and caring manager can create a culture where the customer is king (or queen) and reasonable needs are met.  The best part is that everyone wins in that scenario!

My New Perspective
I'm beginning to believe that those who hate the healthcare insurance industry are justified.  I can't believe I'm saying that, but after trying to deal with them for three weeks, they have completely turned me around!

I spoke with their CEO's office, and they are trying to navigate the corporate culture to resolve our issue.  Unfortunately, the first person I was referred to had the sole responsibility of defending and explaining their plan.  Not helpful.  Next is that person's manager and the national VP.  I hope I will be writing a follow-up post that says they made everything right, and that my original position (that of defending their right to do business and to do it profitably) is still in tact.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Basics

I love baked potatoes-- especially with steak! My wife makes the best I've had... she puts a rub on them that makes even their skin taste good. Mmm...

Restaurants rarely serve them steaming hot these days. I'm not sure why-- maybe a lawsuit someone won, or maybe they just don't care. This has even been true at some of the finest steakhouses around, so it has been surprising!

Last night We went to a steakhouse (The Hitching Post in Buelton, CA) to celebrate my birthday. I was so happy to see that the potato was steaming hot! The steak was excellent too... It was a great dinner.

What's Your Potato?
Serving baked potatoes hot seems pretty basic. It's a 'no brainer'! But we all have baked potatoes in our lives-- areas where we may have gotten a little lazy or stopped putting in that 'little extra' that makes what we do special.

I confess that I've been focusing on my baked potato for the last year. The Lord reminded me that an aspect of what he wants me to do as I serve others was a little off. My heart had gotten kind of lazy. I was still doing all the right things, but I wasn't doing them for the right reason. I've been working on that, and am enjoying the fruit of it.

The Reward
The best part, I think, of doing the right things for the right reason is that it brings an extra element of joy! Proof again that good is better, and serving well is worth it!

So... what's your potato?