The four minutes it took to watch the video link below whilst searching for illustrative material to be included in an upcoming workshop, were well spent and enormously powerful.
When one works with incapacity, disability, ill-health and trauma in an assessment and analytical role it can sometimes be forgotten that any one of us could so easily be in the shoes of those entrusted to our professional service, be it as a corporation or an individual.
Irrespective of the environment or the reason, when engaging with people the words attributed to Theodore Roosevelt ought to serve as a motto:
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”
A number of recent professional experiences and media reports – particularly in the disability and health insurance environments – have given cause to reflect once more on the importance of the fundamentals of effective communication in the fast paced business world in which we live.
Neither the size of an organisation, nor the volume of knowledge or wealth that reside within its walls, will ever excuse or replace the basic human desire (and right) to be treated with dignity and respect. This should be even more so in the case of the delivery of disappointing or bad news.
The world famous coach, Tony Robbins, refers to the power of rapport in some of his teachings, which he connects with the feeling of commonality. It is when we connect on common ground that trust is built, information flows and knowledge is formed.
Rapport is absolutely not created by call centres; automatically generated ‘we will get back to you’ emails; generic template responses or being told that one is required to answer a zillion more questions in order to receive some kind of attention. These are the very actions that alienate, frustrate and irritate clientele.
It really does not matter who one is – the rules are the same.
Working with people who have suffered, or are suffering, illness or trauma requires an acute level of consciousness with regard to the development of rapport. Demonstrating that one cares does not run a concurrent risk of being seen to give in, roll over or give people what they want. It does not even equate to the perception of these things. The professional, contractual and or legal parameters of any situation are not jeopardised in any way what-so-ever when one treats others as they would like to be treated themselves.
Lest we forget, the needs of clients are the very reason for offering a product, a service and being in business.
The power of the above-mentioned video clip is the same power spoken of by Theodore Roosevelt and Tony Robbins in-so-far as recognising that every one of us is vulnerable to ‘being on the other side’ of the professional realms in which we work. It is human to want to be treated with care, established through the time and effort taken by those involved to develop rapport.
A final note on rapport is that it is created differently in every situation and requires conscious adaptation to the uniqueness of each. Even AI and ‘bots’ are being increasingly developed and programmed to recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’ methodology in dealing with people’s experiences, irrespective of whether or not they qualify for contractual benefits, or the size of their damages claim.
“Rapport equals trust plus comfort.”
It is against the above background that I am delighted to introduce Dr Sarah Whitehead who will be joining me under the BH Consulting banner this year. Sarah has experienced and lives with the challenges of disability, her story highlighting the unfortunate truth that far too many medical and aligned health practitioners have little to no knowledge of how to work with and develop rapport with those who are required to negotiate recovery and life whilst living with incapacity and disability. Having specialised in rehabilitation and case management, Sarah has recently taken time off to further and complete her doctorate in the development of recommendations to be included in the South African medical undergraduate curricula in order to facilitate future medical practice that is disability inclusive. A thesis that, in my view, is much needed and from which will flow the necessary training to enable those closest to incapacity, disability, ill-health and trauma to treat others with full awareness of their shared humanity. One of Sarah’s many strengths is her ability to develop rapport and create trust with her patients, both of which have a positive and powerful impact on their rehabilitative journey.
Sarah will be available to those who wish to discuss, adjust, confirm and or concur on case management matters, with focus on defining and refining the most suitable rehabilitative route to follow in the specific circumstances of each case. Although we will be sharing more detail about this new offering in early February, clients are welcome to contact Sarah directly (or through me) in order to discuss aspects of envisaged, planned and or active case management and rehabilitation. Fees will be at the BH Consulting hourly rate, as set out in the 2019 fees document (copy on request). It is our hope that this consulting service will be of value.
May 2019 be a year of positivity, productivity and success.
 Neil Strauss