Object-centered Sociality: Digital Affordances in Physical Spaces
A Gathering on Gatherings

The Business Value of Integrity, Openness, Vulnerability and Compassion

Merrit Quarum, MD, Founder, Chair and CEO of Qmedtrix, highlighted the business value of personal qualities that I have always valued in his presentation today at the NWEN Venture Breakfast Meeting.  He also provided an overview of Qmedtrix' history and mission, talked about some of his courtroom battles, and shared some of the most egregious examples of overbilling (e.g., a $450,000 bill for a 10-day course of penicillin ... which typically costs approximately $300 -- a case which Qmedtrix won in court).

Qmedtrix develops defensible solutions for controlling and reducing health care charges, while promoting the highest quality care for patients. The result—Qmedtrix’s medical, technological and legal expertise has saved medical bill payers hundreds of millions in excessive charges.

This was all very interesting, however, I was most inspired when he turned his attention to the ways that people and organizations conduct themselves in business.  Dr. Quarum emphasized the importance of integrity in all business dealings, especially with respect to the establishment of fair, reasonable and consistent rates in the medical and health care industry (an issue I grappled with, and wrote about, recently, regarding fair consulting rates). 

He then went on to highlight the importance of the sense of community in an organization, listing the three most important employee retention factors -- compensation, opportunities for career development, and recognition.  Of these, he claimed that the lack of appreciation and recognition was the most significant (and, I suspect, the easiest and least expensive of the three problems to address), quoting an article from the Regent Business Review:

Employee recognition is a practice that clearly comports with contemporary business thinking about human relations.  Acclaimed as more than just a nice or ethical thing to do, encouragement and public praise has been touted by many in recent years as vehicles to greater employee satisfaction, productivity and retention.

Dr. Quarum emphasized that recognition has to be a consistent, ongoing process throughout the organization.  He then provided a definition of organizational trust from the June, 1995, issue of Academy of Management Review:

Organizational trust [is] the willingness of an employee and employer to be vulnerable, to be open to one another and to take risks for one another.

He noted the challenges in managing his dual roles as courtroom expert witness, where he has to don his armor before battle (embracing what I would describe as his warrior energy), and CEO, where he wants to model openness and vulnerability for his team.

The last part of his talk focused on knowledge, networking and compassion, where he drew upon the book "Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders, highlighting the following concepts:

  • It makes a difference how people view you and themselves
  • Compassion will lead to a better experience
  • Compassion will help people remember you and when people remember you, it is good for business
  • Compassion creates commitment, keeps you focused
  • Compassion buys forgiveness
  • Compassion creates opportunities for realizing potential

I recently started the book "Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: Searching for the Soul of Kindness" by Marc Ian Barasch, which extols many other benefits from a compassionate perspective and actions, including a "helper's high" (first coined by Allan Luks in his book "The Healing Power of Doing Good") ... which reminds me of the mantra "givers gain" that I heard at the BNI meeting I attended yesterday morning.  It feels good to find so many connections as I continue to align my personal and professional goals and values.

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