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Maximize Consumer Engagement via Technology

Maximize Consumer Engagement via Technology

Maximizing Member Engagement Through Technology

In the spirit of the Christmas season, I will be (re)giving a talk entitled Maximizing Member Engagement through Technology. This will take place on December 19th at 2:00 pm ET.

This webinar will cover a variety of efforts to connect with consumers in the marketplace, and how to use technology properly as both a channel and an experience. I gave this same talk this summer and it was so well received I was asked if I would do it again.

The Internet has transformed the way healthcare is managed and delivered. It significantly reduces costs, builds strong relationships with customers, and allows for tailoring of message on a faster delivery channel. As such, the question is not who is searching for health info online, but rather “who isn’t”?

My basic premise of this talk is that technology should serve as a means to help educate, navigate, plan, motivate and choose from suitable solutions for health care needs, anticipated and otherwise. If this sounds informative to you, or perhaps helpful to your own work – please join me.

What You Will Learn

During this webinar you will explore how a leading health plan developed these best practices and learn:

  • Optimize member engagement through technology.
  • Maximize the potential of retail health.
  • Increase member engagement through direct consumer marketing.

The webinar availability is guaranteed only to the first 250 registrations so if you are interested please register by clicking here.

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO


3 Ingredients for Health Innovation

3 Ingredients for Health Innovation

Healthcare Innovation Require Three Things

For well over the past decade I have made innovative healthcare companies my home. In that time, I have developed a simple litmus test to determine if the company I am working with is ready, willing, and able to create breakthrough innovation. Let’s call it my “3-legged Stool of Innovation Readiness.”  Like any three- legged stool, it cannot stand on only one or two legs – it takes all three.

An externality creating an impetus (Ready)

I have heard that only wet babies like change. While I am sure the part about the babies is true, I am not convinced that most companies are truly resistant to change. The inherent desire is there, which we will talk about next, but without some external force applying pressure, most companies will forgo change to focus on the problems of the here and now. I think of this as needing equal parts carrot (desire) and stick (impetus). However, very few companies are disciplined enough to apply their own stick. Ingredient number one of the three-legged stool is that impetus.

Look at the healthcare industry as an example. With the exception of those services rendered to consumers for direct cash payment (such as Lasik and liposuction), we have seen little change in quality or cost. In fact, many trends seem to point in the opposite direction. Now this is obviously not the entire fault of the healthcare industry – I have always argued that consumers are equally culpable. However like those folks that would rather eat potato chips and sit on the couch instead of getting out and exercising, companies do not often seek out a change in lifestyle – even when, change is necessary.

So along comes some outside force to require that change – The Affordable Care Act. Say what you will about its inability to address the underlying cost issues; Reform has forced the hand of the healthcare industry to do something about the problems at hand. And now that we are past the point of no return, these companies must act or potentially cease to exist.

Without PPACA, I am convinced there would be little or no room for disruptive innovators like myself within the “healthcare industrial complex”. As it turns out, we are now in high demand.

But even with the requirement to change, some companies are not willing to change. Many say they are but are merely paying lip service to that fact. Let’s talk more about that notion.

A real desire to change (Willing)

So the second ingredient is a deep desire or a sincere willingness to embrace change.

I have heard that addicts will not change their lifestyle until they hit bottom and bounce. I am not sure it is that drastic for healthcare companies. But obviously, a company must be willing to make room for new thinking and new thinkers before it can change.

Let’s take a lesson from science here. Consider that adding any catalyst to a mixture creates some reaction. However, most catalysts get used up in the reaction. If you are being asked to both implement a new disruptive idea and create a culture of change readiness (where none exists) at the same time – be forewarned. What I have found is that you do not want to be the straw that breaks the camel’s proverbial back.

What I mean by this is that to realize large-scale sustained change within a large company, you need an established platform for change in place. Staring from a cold stop requires all of your energy to just get the ball rolling, and leaves you no time or resources to implement your new ideas. So, if you find yourself in this scenario, ask yourself if you are primarily a “change agent” or an “innovator.” A change agent is willing to focus on creating the infrastructure required to sustain change and introduce new ideas –which may or may not be their own. This is noble work and requires a full commitment to the long-term culture of the company that one is changing. An innovator, as described in this discussion, is about creating new value and getting new ideas to market fast.

So, if you are primarily an innovator and you are focused on getting your idea to market quickly, without having the luxury of a change platform in place – you will likely meet roadblock after roadblock. And you will become frustrated. And you will want to quit or be asked to as you gain the reputation for not being able to “get anything done.”

So this cautionary tale is for both you the employee and for you the employer. To the employer, I recommend investing time and energy in facilitating change readiness so that you can bring change agents in and they will have success. For you the employee – make sure you know who you are and which role you are being asked to play. This will ensure your happiness and their success.

A means to invest in the future (Able)

So the final ingredient is the hardest to come by – ability. Even with the previous two (assuming they are ready and willing) – a company must be able to change. They must be financially stable enough to commit resources in the form of capital and talent directly to unknown or uncertain outcomes. For a company struggling to stay afloat, or concerned with the cost of upgrading their core “plumbing”, this can be a frightening and unrealistic necessity.

So know the environment you are going into and the one that you are in. If your company is not willing to dedicate at least 1% of their capability budget to innovation/R&D, then you will forever be chasing ideas and never implementing them. Great leaders like AJ Lafley from Procter & Gamble understood the need to invest in radical ideas. Ask your leadership if they are willing to “put their money where their mouth is” – with no strings attached.

A quick note of caution in this respect – if you are promised a budget based on other conditions (like finding savings elsewhere) – you are most likely not going to get it. We all know that overruns and unforeseen circumstances or priorities are common occurrences, and if you budget is relying on the efficiency and generosity of another group – be prepared.

A Final Note

When you find all three of these ingredients in a company – jump on the opportunity. My coming to Florida Blue (the Blue Cross Blue Shield Plan of Florida) in January of 2010 to be their Chief Innovation Officer, was predicated on their alignment with these three requirements for “breakthrough innovation.” As such, we were able to accomplish some amazing things and be counted among leaders in the healthcare payer space in innovation.

And if you are lucky enough to find all three ingredients, it is your job as an innovator and/or change agent to respect and nurture them within the organization. Ensure that you continually and effectively lead the clarion call for the importance and progress of your work. Congratulate your peers and leadership for their commitment to innovation, and remind them of their professional responsibility to advocate for, and push change in your company. Most importantly share in the victories you have created with and because of their sacrifices.

To your health

The Team at imagine.GO

Workshop on Health Consumerism

Workshop on Health Consumerism

The Journey to Consumerism for a Healthcare Company

I will be speaking at the 4th Annual Medicare Advantage Strategic Business Symposium in San Juan, Puerto Rico on December 4-5 at the Gran Melia Resort where I am conducting a pre-conference workshop entitled “Member Engagement: A Journey to Consumerism for Medicare Health Plans”.

Design for the consumer is often overlooked as companies rush to build capabilities to fill mass-market needs for markets they do not understand. The push for a retail solution cannot bypass the need to understand who your customers are. The graveyard of poorly designed “consumer” health solutions reminds us of this fact.

The Workshop

The workshop will consist of a conceptual part and a practical part.

In the conceptual part of the workshop, we will be learning about the difference between Consumerism versus Retail, which I have written about before. And YES, there is is a difference. We will also look at what a retail market looks like for a Medicare health plan.

In the practical part of the workshop, we will be designing for a great Medicare insurance customer experience. To do this, we will be using the first part of my 3 part Collaborative Business Model Innovation Method For Healthcare. This visual language for healthcare system thinking, problem solving and solution design was designed to enable companies to quickly generate consumer focused business models and test them easily. The method is derived from years of healthcare experience delivering innovative solutions within both large legacy companies and entrepreneurial start-ups.

Healthcare-focused Consumer Personas

In our workshop, we will focus on defining your customer, creating a value proposition, and designing a customer experience.

We will then use some design thinking tools to help craft a value proposition for our exact customer.

And hopefully, if we have time, we will discuss how to then create an experience that will be meaningful for a consumer and result in a purchase decision.

We will start by defining which Medicare customer is the one we are focusing on – because they are definitely not all the same. This requires us to think in terms of their jobs to be done as well as our business needs.

I look forward to seeing you there. Contact me if you are interested in attending.

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO

Sponsor Customer Teams Not Sports Teams

Sponsor Customer Teams Not Sports Teams

The Current Marketing Model

Today I happened to notice the TV at the restaurant while eating brunch at with my family. The pre-game football fact was sponsored by Aetna and one of the football teams was sponsored by Florida Blue. It piqued my interest because at first it seemed novel, but as I thought more on it I wondered if it was a high-value use of marketing spend.

Recently, I have noticed the proliferation of health insurance companies sponsoring major sports franchises. As a marketer and capitalist, I get it – exposure to large audiences – but as a healthcare executive on the consumer side of the business, I hesitate. I pose this simple question, would it not be more sensible to invest advertising dollars in actual consumer sports leagues rather than professional sports? I believe that health insurance companies should sponsor sports, not sports teams.

Let me make clear, this is not a commentary on insurance companies – I recognize that as businesses they need to attract consumers and I feel they are a necessary part of the healthcare equation in America, and for the most part really do try to bring value to their customers. But with the affordable care act now in place, these traditional B2B companies are rushing headlong towards consumer markets. It is unfortunate that the advertising agencies they use have convinced them that their dollars are best spent associating their brands with Lebron James and Tiger Woods, as opposed to their actual constituents.

We did some research and found this interesting website that shows which companies sponsor what businesses. The graphic below from is very telling – assuming it is accurate. Even without offering a total spend number, you can assume it is large as both professional sports and healthcare are big business.

Plan Sponsorship



Here are some examples of major insurance plans and their sports franchise sponsorships:

It even extends past the majors into college sports: Aetna sponsors the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida and Florida Blue sponsors the Florida Classic. Florida Blue also sponsors the Florida Sports Foundation which promotes Florida’s sports industry.

I am sure I missed more than a few, as this was just a basic search.

So, I asked myself, what is the motivation for an insurance plan to use professional sports as a brand booster? It must be two-fold, 1) the linkage with the sports as a model for healthy behavior and 2) brand differentiation via the association.

So, this is where the model breaks down for me. I can see Nike sponsoring pro sporting events as their constituents want to emulate the pro athletes that wear Nike gear. Seeing their favorite quarterback wearing branded wristbands results in a purchase decision for a young athlete. It also plays well for non-athlete fans that want to wear their favorite player’s jersey. A purchase decision ensures and the brand association works either way.

Now consider seeing a major insurer’s logo on a teams jersey, or up on the jumbotron. What effect does this have on influencing a consumer’s purchase decision? I would argue that the answer is resounding NONE. To be clear, I am arguing that a health insurer associating with a professional or college sports team has little or no bearing on a purchase decision by a consumer to buy or forgo an insurance product. Unlike the Nike example above, there is likely no transference of that brand association on a point of sale decision of one insurance product over another. One might argue that it actually has a negative effect in that with the perception of insurance premiums being so high – is that money better spent making insurance more affordable?

If this is actually not true – please someone show me, as I am very curious as to the true return on investment for this type of marketing spend.

A Better Way

There are some insurers that are actually focusing on sponsorship of sporting events that will likely result in healthy behaviors for their customers. This is a better model as it promotes the outcomes they most desire – healthy members. Remember, healthy people use health insurance products less than unhealthy ones do.  The result is a more profitable customer for the insurance plan.

  • Cigna has been involved heavily in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.
  • Humana sponsors the National Senior Games Association, the governing organization for the largest multi-sport event in the world for adults over age 50; They also sponsor, thru their subsidiary HumanaVitality, many endurance sporting events (like the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon) to promote their wellness loyalty program.
  • Florida Blue sponsors a series of running events throughout its state. In fact, almost all health insurers sponsor local 5 and 10K in their hometowns.


This model makes great sense and should be continued. They might even consider getting some of the paid athletes to meet the insurance plan’s customers at the finish line as a reward. Something like “run a 5K and get a picture with your favorite sports hero” – this would be motivation for consumers indeed.

A Much Better Way

But I believe there is even a better way. Here is my idea. Health insurance companies should 100% subsidize both youth and adult sports leagues for the communities they serve.

This is good for the plan and consumer for a host of reasons:

  • First, Insurer X would actually be contributing to ensuring their customers are living healthy lives by investing in a healthy activity. They could then reward participants in the free league that are also their members – creating an incentive for those who are not to consider. Coupled with a well-designed channel-threading strategy plans could “gently” direct non-members to online, telephone, and in store sales reps to learn more.
  • Second, the publicity it will create for Insurer X. This would in effect be a perpetual positive PR generation machine.
  • Third, the experience it will create with mothers, who in fact are the key healthcare decision makers. Knowing they can afford to have their child participate in youth sports because of the investment of Insurer X would go a long way and yield fantastic word of mouth advertising.


Why not extend this sponsorship to adult sports leagues as well? All those twenty-somethings’ being influenced by the brand that cares which may translate to who they choose on the exchange.

What do you think?

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO

Which of these Describes your Health App?

Which of these Describes your Health App?

What is “Retail” Health Technology?

This post is specific to health technology, so let’s start by defining our context. I think this definition by Booz is the best I have seen. Take a moment to read and digest!

“Retail health is where consumers find quality care in a variety of convenient forms and at competitive prices. Consumers are able to plan for the health care needs they anticipate and make informed decisions based on readily available information. They can then “shop” competitively for products and services using a variety of channels, formats, and business models. And for those that need help, they can turn to “navigators” who work with them to design the most suitable health care solutions for themselves and their families.”

I love this definition. Particularly that it points out that consumers should be able to “shop” competitively for products and services using a variety of channels, formats, and business models.

So then, what is the right place for technology in retail health? For me technology should serve as a means to help educate, navigate, plan, motivate and choose from suitable solutions for health care needs, anticipated and otherwise.

How does technology power retail health?

Technology is transforming the way healthcare is understood by the patient, managed by the insurance plan, and delivered by the provider. One major benefit is that technology can greatly reduce costs by removing the need for the same care to be delivered through a much less expensive channel, which is available at the consumers demand. Another benefit is it allows for customer-intimacy over a faster (and less expensive) delivery channel. So, with those two benefits alone, and there are many others, it is worth the heavy investment that we see in the marketplace. But to add icing to the cake, technology enables consumer’s health data to be stored in one easy to access place, securely. This enables a consumer to access their health information over time to see if their health is trending one way or another. With increasingly sophisticated smart phones and collaboration software, there will soon come a day when health care is delivered seamlessly as part of a consumer’s accepted daily routine – such as appointments and care decision alerts via their calendar, email and text messaging.

Smart health care companies will find ways to overcome trust and regulatory issues, simplify – and make meaningful the fire hose of health information, and reach consumers with relevant and reasonable guidance to help them take charge of their own health.

As it stands today, there are (too) many companies offering solutions to help consumer with their health. Here are a few examples – there are many, many more.

So Many Health Vendors

With all this choice, what then could be the problem?

However, because technology has made choosing a cheap alternative, vendors have rushed to provide consumers with too much to choose from, and thereby exacerbating the problem by creating a fragmented path to solve their jobs-to-be-done. As such, consumers typically get help at “points in time” when making health related decisions, but not “over time” in a consistent and evidenced based manner.

Let’s take a look at what too much choice can be like.

Example # 1

Say you want to buy health products from Amazon. A simple search for heart rate monitors results in greater than 14,247 heart rate monitor entries. Try it yourself by clicking here.

Example # 2

Ok, so you and 1 billion others have a smart phone. Well now you need a health application. Yikes! There are over 13,000 healthcare related apps in iTunes. Try it yourself by clicking here.

Example # 3

Ok, let’s just play it safe and look up health information online. There are over 23,000 articles on WebMD that have to be searched through. Now WebMD does have search filters thank goodness, but that assumes I understand enough about the topic to know what filters to use. In most cases consumers do not. Just looking at the back pain page gives me a headache.

The moral of our story

Simply put, build technology that matters to the consumer by creating an experience in which they want to engage.

Ok, so what can you do to ensure that you are not adding to the problem? I offer up this simple test to see if you are helping or hindering the consumer in their pursuit of health.

Is your technology a shovel, a hole, or a fruit tree?

shovelA lot of our health technology is what I consider a “shovel”. It is by technicians for technicians – it is shinny and sturdy, but in and of itself is of no use! Well, this one is not shiny but it is sturdy, and you get the point.

Shovels offer no value exchange. They create no purchase reason.


holeOther health technologies are “holes”. They are there and can be used for whatever you want them for. Better than shovels (in fact best created with shovels) holes have usefulness if filled properly.

They can be good for growing a good idea into something bigger. They can also become mud puddles or sink holes.


FruitTreeFinally, we have Fruit Trees. The value is well understood by both growers (providers) and consumers. They have utility. You forget about the “tree” because you are focused on the sweetness of the fruit. This idea is what we have to aim for. You have to envision your consumer drinking a glass of your orange juice on a sunny morning before they go to work brimming with energy. Yes it took a hole to grow the tree, and yes it took a shovel to dig the hole, but the experience (that lip smacking satisfied customer) is what matters.


Envision the value being realized – now go create.


To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO

How Do You Judge a Great Start-Up?

How Do You Judge a Great Start-Up?

Some good advice please

Seriously, how do you judge one start up against the next? I ask because I seem to be neck deep in looking at and evaluating start-ups lately.

Over the last 10 months, I have been busy designing and getting funded a (soon-to-be-launched) Healthbox accelerator in Florida, acting as a mentor for Start-Up America, judging regional start-ups for an entrepreneurial 503(C), and awarding innovativeness for the World Healthcare Innovation and Technology Congress.

Start-ups come in many shapes and sizes. Some have had series A-B-C or angel funding, some are just a smart person with a great idea looking to get incubated. Some have proven their market space; some have yet to do so?

So how do you judge across such a spectrum of diversity and maturity? Some standard valuation points investors look at are as follows:

  • Value proposition – who perceives what you do as valuable and how is it offered?
  • Market size and potential – how many customers can you get?
  • Investors already on-board – who thinks it’s a good idea, enough to commit funding?
  • Pedigree of the leadership team – who is driving the idea to market?
  • Exit strategy – how can this idea be monetized, for the company and for investors?

All of these are important and I take no case with any. But since I spend most of my time looking at how to change the healthcare ecosystem for the better, I am going to offer some additional points for any start-up looking into the healthcare domain.

First, who pays?

Seems obvious, right? You would be surprised at how many ideas I have heard from very bright people that have no clue as to how revenue will actually be generated.  And if your answer is “the plan will pay for it” – let me know how that works out for you? The plans are being pushed beyond their limits to find efficiencies in a rush to meet the reform market. There is some money available – but not as much as you might think. More so, they are distracted. If you really think the plan will pay for it, you need a clear and present value proposition that cuts through the noise and makes the case why your additional cost will be justified against squeezed margins.

Second, what is the ability to make a lasting and meaningful change?

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and BusinessIf you are going to effect change, you must change behavior. Behavior change takes time. You cannot be the app de jour but rather a meaningful part of a person’s daily workflow. Since the axiom of no size fits all is relevant here, your great tool must be aligned to a specific user group – be specific and create meaning. Be general and users will not gain value from the interaction and lose interest. If users lose interest, their behavior does not change. See my point. For more on behavior change read The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.

Personally, I also invest in companies that work in areas I love and understand. Here is a company I am proud to say I am invested in. I use their services as often as my wife will allow me to do so! Deneki Outdoors owns and operates fly fishing lodges in Alaska, British Columbia, and the Bahamas. Take a look at their tag line – we run fishing lodges! Pretty simple and very understandable.

Deneki Outdoors

If you want to ever talk more with me on this idea, or any of my ideas, please meet me down in the Bahamas at our Andros South lodge. I will be waiting for you with a drink in hand and fly rod in the other.

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO

Health Care is Still Going Retail

Health Care is Still Going Retail

The American Healthcare System Is Broken

Let’s first agree on that. Search Google and you will find plenty of experts who state that the answer to the health care dilemma lies in a shift towards a more retail type model. You will find just as many experts that prescribe a consumer-centric approach as the answer to our health system dilemmas. Few are talking about both of these in a synchronous manner.

As I mentioned in a previous POST, retail and consumerism are not the same thing. I want to speak more in-depth about both of these and then show how they must work in harmony to produce the desired effect. Even though the consumerism part should really come first, for arguments sake, let’s start with retail health.

Booz Health Care’s Retail SolutionMy favorite definition of retail health comes from whitepaper, by Booz entitled Health Care’s Retail Solution published in 2008.

“Retail health is where consumers find quality care in a variety of convenient forms and at competitive prices … Consumers are able to plan for the health care needs they anticipate and make informed decisions based on readily available information…  They can then “shop” competitively for products and services using a variety of channels, formats, and business models …  And for those that need help, they can turn to “navigators” who work with them to design the most suitable health care solutions for themselves and their families.”

Based on this definition, in my opinion, the retail health model should be those people, processes, and technology that help educate, navigate, plan, motivate and choose from suitable solutions for health care needs, anticipated and otherwise.
Much of health care today is delivered as fixed products available and marketed in a non-personalized, one-size-fits-all manner. This model, designed to gain operational efficiencies, in many ways has proven to be inefficient and costly.
Retail health, on the other hand, requires a clear value at the right price. Consumers vote with their “watches” and their “wallets.”  If they are not willing to give you their time, you have not demonstrated to them your value. If they are not willing to give you their money, you do not have the right price for the value they understand.

Retail is going to be a big part of saving health care in America. We are a consumer driven society. When consumers make the choice, they are in charge. And to compete for their business, insurers, doctors, hospitals and vendors of health related goods and services will need to:

  1. Personalize their products and messaging for each individual,
  2. Drive down their costs and price points, and
  3. Drive up their quality and feature set.

Retail is going to be a big part of saving health care in America. We are a consumer driven society. When consumers make the choice, they are in charge. And to compete for their business, insurers, doctors, hospitals and vendors of health related goods and services will need to:

  1. Personalize their products and messaging for each individual,
  2. Drive down their costs and price points, and
  3. Drive up their quality and feature set.


Final Words

My philosophy on health care (which I plan on writing about soon) is that consumers are increasingly confused about our their own health and desperately need help making sense of it all. Moreover, the market (our current American health care system) has made it too difficult a task to weed through the unlimited amount of information available and then effectively apply it in context to a current problem (or health-related job-to-be-done). Moreover, of this seemingly unlimited amount of information some is credible and some is not.

Ultimately, the winners in the retail health game will not focus on helping consumers navigate through the maze of options available, but instead focus on removing the maze altogether. As the maze is different for every individual, winners also must know who their customers are ahead of time. More on this topic for another day.

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO

Play to Your Personal Strengths

Play to Your Personal Strengths

Strive to know thyself!

I am a believer in the Gallup StrengthsFinder concept of self-recognition. The notion behind this bestselling book disassembles the myth that we need to be well-rounded in all aspects to be great leaders, successful business people, and happy humans. In summary, it states that we are all born with certain inherent talents, and instead of trying to improve in areas that are not natural to us, we should focus intently and intentionally on making our core talents become absolute strengths.

Of course, StrengthsFinder also states that you need to mitigate those behaviors that otherwise do not contribute to or are debilitating to your success – the equivalent of behaviorally not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. But do not confuse something you do not do well (and some one else does) with a deficit or flaw.

Strengths Finder 2.0These are my talents, which I work every day to turn into strengths: Achiever, Strategic, Positivity, Connectedness, and Competition.

I can say unequivocally that these are me to a tee!

Here are my paraphrased definitions borrowed from Gallup’s StrengthsFinder 2.0:

  • Achiever – I have a great deal of stamina. I love to work hard and I take great satisfaction from being busy and productive.
  • Strategic – I create alternative ways to move something forward. When I am faced with any given situation, I can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues, and see a path from A to Z.
  • Positivity – My enthusiasm is contagious, and I can get others excited and rally around a common mission. Moreover, I thrive on it.
  • Connectedness – I have an abounding faith in the links between all things. I believe there are few coincidences and that through this connection every event happens for a reason.
  • Competition – I measure progress against the performance of some mark. I revel in contests and I love to win. I will push others to be part of that pursuit of victory.


Why is this important?

It is important because no person is an island. And in business you have to assemble a team of individuals that can focus on, and be committed to, a common purpose or deliverable. As a leader, if you know yourself and your strengths, you will look to find others that can bolster that strength – and contribute other strengths for the benefit of the larger purpose. This is part of the most important puzzle facing business leaders – “how do I build the most effective team?”

To explain, I’d like to use a simple analogy.

Well-rounded people are like marbles – smooth, no sharp points, and easily moved. However, they only way they can “fit” with others in close quarters is to have a rigid structure holding them in. Think of the jar that holds a child’s marbles in place – without the jar there is chaos. As a leader of well-rounded people, you have to be the jar. That is a lot of effort and meaningless to boot. If all of your time is spent keeping the marbles stacked, how are you moving forward?

High-performers are like triangles – a secure base and an obvious point of strength. The triangle is one of the strongest shapes in nature and used often in building construction. It keeps its shape, rests on a strong footing, and can act as a strong support to other triangles stacked together. Now think of stacking triangles. Think about what you can build with lots of well-placed (high performers) triangles. The pyramids have stood the test of time. Will your team?

Don't Be Well Rounded

Understand what functions each role on your team or in your company performs. Create your teams so that the role aligns and draws on the strengths (and mitigates the weaknesses) of your team members. This means you have to hire well. Fit is part experience and part strength alignment with the rest of the team. Start with the end result in mind and build to that vision. Most importantly, do not hire when there is not a real fit or when the individual’s strengths do not contribute to the overall team – no matter the deadlines. Teams are living entities. They are the sum of the individuals within it, magnified by the relationships they have with each other.

When those relationships are based on strengths, the results will be good and they will be long lasting.

To your health,

The Team at imagine.GO