Saturday Morning Rounds October 24th, 2020 - How to focus on the one important thing

Posted by BossB, MD on October 24, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

How to Focus on The One Important Thing

It's not often that we highlight general business content - something not related explicitly to women or medicine - so when we do so, there's a high bar for the quality that content must deliver.

And "deliver" this podcast certainly does.

The link above is an episode of the Tim Ferriss podcast in which Tim Keller (that's two Tims so far), the founder of Keller-Williams real estate, tells his story. It's an incredibly informative, useful interview that Carlton assigns to his "Intro to Business" students each year, and we couldn't recommend highly enough that you listen to it as well, regardless of whether you ever want to get into any kind of "business" (other than what you're already doing).

The core question the interview addresses is one that Keller asks himself every day, and credits for his success:

“What’s the one thing I could do, such that by doing it, everything else will be either easier or unnecessary?”

Now, this might seem like a simple productivity hack at first glance, but posing this question in its exact phrasing can provide some really amazing results across domains. 

Keller shares examples of his "one thing" for many different areas of his life:

  • Business - Asks this daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, and distributes efforts accordingly
  • With his wife - Kiss her as soon as he walks in the door
  • With his mom - Buy her a basketball subscription on TV and play dominoes with her so that he can avoid the usual negative, gossip-filled conversations she tends to steer toward if left to her own devices
  • With his dog - Get on the floor with her and play for a few minutes early in the day

In the world of strategy, we call something that "makes everything after it easier or unnecessary" a force multiplier. We'll talk in our "tip of the week" about how you can use this in your own business conversations, especially negotiations.

Who we're following

In the spirit of our highlighted content this week, we'll ask ourselves:

"Who’s the one account I could follow on Twitter, such that by doing so, everything else on Twitter will be either easier or unnecessary?”

Now first off, we'd actually love to hear your thoughts on how you'd answer this question, because there's bound to be a variety of answers and we definitely don't wanna be missing out on the kinds of superlative Tweeps that would come up!

For us, the answer is clearly Dr. Kimberly Manning, MD (@gradydoctor). We've highlighted her in this newsletter before, and it's quite probable that you follow her already, but we love her Twitter profile because it's the perfect mix of (a) uplifting, meaningful, beautifully-presented medical content/stories, and (b) what's going on in the #MedTwitter world, as she seems to be a speaker or attendee at pretty much every good conference or event that happens.

This means that every time we visit her profile, we get our dose of feel-good brain chemicals, some tips that can make us better physicians and humans, and an update about what we should be paying attention to on #MedTwitter, all in one place.

BBMD tip of the week

Now we'll turn this question to business conversations and negotiations:

"What’s the one thing I could do in a business conversation or negotiation, such that by doing it, everything else will be either easier or unnecessary?” 

And the answer again becomes immediately crystal clear - CONNECT.

We've given this many names over the years. Emotional resonance. Humanizing yourself and your counterpart. Being "other-centered." Assuming best intent. Building rapport. Those are all really just different shades of the same primary color - connection.

Why is this so important?

Because much to economists' chagrin, humans are not rational, self-interested decision-makers. We are emotional decision-makers first, foremost, and always, and we generally use reason to reverse-engineer justifications for our decisions.

Things like the scientific method have attempted to counteract this tendency, but the fact remains that emotion is default decision-making input for almost all humans, and sadly, not many people apply the scientific method to their business conversations and decisions.

If you can use this fact to your advantage, you'll have an upper-hand in every business interaction you ever walk into. Why? Because we do nice things for people we connect with. We're more agreeable and generous toward people we connect with. We make more concessions and give more ground to people we connect with. The list goes on, but the fact of the matter is that there's unlimited upside to increasing a sense of connection with your counterpart, and almost no downside. 

So we get that it's important, but why can it be so hard to do so in a negotiation? Because the natural inclination is to get focused on the thing you're talking about rather than the person you're talking with.

We tend to focus on the salary in the negotiation or the "required qualifications" in the interview or the price of the car at the dealership, rather than the person sitting in front of us. But the way to INFLUENCE the salary, the interview outcome, and the car price is almost always through the person sitting in front of you. 

So, build rapport. Maximize emotional resonance. Assume best intent. Be "other-centered." Humanize. Listen (really, pay someone to teach you to listen better, even if it's not us - improv comedy/theater, coaching training, etc are some great places to start).

CONNECT 

The rest will almost certainly take care of itself

Quote we're contemplating

 "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care" - Theodore Roosevelt

 
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PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds October 17th, 2020 - 9 things every health care leader should know about compensation

Posted by BossB, MD on October 17, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

9 things every health care leader should know about compensation

Not only should every healthcare leader know these things - every healthcare provider should understand them as well. 

This article is one of the best we've ever read on this topic. It immediately recognizes and dives into the emotional nature of such conversations, yet grounds itself in the importance of a rational, evidence-based approach. It's insightful, and packs a lot into a very short read.

While we totally recommend you take the small amount of time needed to read it yourself, here are the "9 things" in summary (break-downs and more detailed explanation of each can be found in the article):

  1. Studies show that, after accounting for co-variates such as part-time work, productivity, and a host of other factors, there is a documented problem of gender-related pay gap disparities for women physicians
  2. Women who also identify with one or more other underrepresented groups may be at particularly high risk for inequitable compensation
  3. Published calls to action state that paying women physicians fairly should be a top priority for every dean, chair, health care executive, and business administrator
  4. Expecting new hires to negotiate fair pay, particularly early in their careers, is not considered best practice
  5. Paying women less than men for the same work is increasingly becoming illegal as states enact fair pay laws
  6. Paying women less than men for the same work is unethical
  7. Paying women physicians unfairly begins with their first position after training, and plagues them throughout their career
  8. Women may be at a disadvantage for fair pay due to a host of nuanced issues that are documented in the literature (but are often left out of discussions)
  9. People who dismiss or minimize pay disparities may not be knowledgeable about the evidence-base on physician compensation

Who we're following

The author of this week's article - Dr. Julie Silver, MD (@JulieSilverMD) - is the PM&R Department Chair as well as the Leadership CME Director at Harvard, with a fascinating career that's spanned business, medicine, diversity & inclusion efforts, and seemingly everything in between. Give her a follow to stay up to date with what she's doing!

BBMD tip of the week

While this whole article is spectacular, one of the things that most stood out to us about it was the early focus on the importance of emotion in negotiations. Dr. Silver hit the nail on the head when she wrote:

"current leaders may feel defensive about their decisions and actions involving paying people who work for them, and workers may feel angry or upset if they know or perceive that they are not being paid fairly."

And that's what our tip of the week is all about - defensiveness - the single most important emotion to avoid during a negotiation (or really any conversation you want to have go well).

That's it, that's our TED talk.

Avoid defensiveness in yourself and your counterpart at almost all costs. If you only have bandwidth to focus on a few key things during a negotiation, that should definitely be one of them. 

How do we avoid defensiveness? Well, thinking about doing so explicitly is 80% of the battle, and once you know that's the target for which you're aiming, you'll naturally adjust your approach. But here are a few of the tactics we've taught over the years that work for our clients:

  • "Assume best intent" - Pretty self-explanatory (we like to add the assumption of intelligence, as well)
  • "Invite the elephant into the room" - A tactic we teach of saying the worst thing that could be in your counterpart's mind, the worst possible interpretation of your own actions, so that you can openly address it and signal that you're not defensive
  • "Preemptively save their face" - Paint your counterpart's actions in the best possible light, out loud, preemptively, and you'll give them a positive vision of themselves to live up to

This is only a small set of examples, but the core message of avoiding defensiveness will serve you well in just about any conversation we can think of. 

Quote we're contemplating

"...during this time when misinformation and disinformation is common, good health care leaders can distinguish themselves by educating others about what is known to be true. Great leaders, regardless of their gender, will be ethical (Silver, 2018) and use science and facts to drive change--even when they encounter resistance--to ensure that women are paid fairly." - Dr. Julie Silver, MD

 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds October 3rd, 2020 - Can nice women get ahead at work?

Posted by BossB, MD on October 3, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

Can nice women get ahead at work? by Sarah Todd

This article tackles a complex topic with the care and nuance that it deserves. The author starts off by describing a problem that our readership is all too familiar with - namely "that women who act friendly and warm in the workplace are often viewed as less competent, regardless of their actual abilities" -  and then transitions into explaining that it's specifically comparative contexts in which this becomes more of a problem:

"And so the warmth-competence effect serves as a kind of psychological sorting mechanism when we’re trying to weigh people against one another and decide who deserves an award, or a raise, or a job, or our votes."

"Warmth-competence effect" is a great way to describe the tightrope that most women, and especially most professional women, have to walk. It's not all bad though! The author goes on to point out that

"On the bright side, there is reason to believe that the general tendency to regard women as inherently less competent than men is changing. A recent meta-analysis of 16 polls of Americans, published in the journal American Psychologist, found that women are, at long last, generally perceived as being just as competent as men. According to the American Psychological Association, in 1946, just 35% of Americans thought men and women were equally intelligent. But by 2018, '86% believed men and women were equally intelligent, 9% believed women were more intelligent and only 5% believed men were more intelligent.'"

Her suggestions on how to fix the problem focus on changing the system. She cites an emotional intelligence training of mostly men at oil & gas company Shell that decreased workplace accidents by 84% because it fostered better communication and a willingness to admit to mistakes. We have some more ideas on how to confront this issue regardless of what the system does in our "tip of the week" section.

Who we're following

Dr. Michelle Kittleson, MD PhD (@MKittlesonMD) is probably our favorite #MedEd contributor on Twitter. She posts tips that are PURE GOLD, especially for students and trainees, under the hashtags #KittlesonRules and #TipsForNewDocs. Not only is her feed full of valuable insights, it's also charming & funny. We're all lucky that she's representing physicians so well on social media by adding substance to the conversation, and we recommend you give her a follow!

BBMD tip of the week

We'll be the first to admit that the problems addressed in this week's article are systemic in nature and that the burden to fix them lies squarely with the system itself (and those individuals who have power within the system).

That being said, waiting for them hasn't turned out so well to date, and we here at BBMD exist to help you take that power into your own hands. While constantly having to perform "gender judo" is undoubtedly exhausting (and unfair), what if there was a way to do so more effectively, AND spend less energy in the process?

Well there is, and in our curriculum we call that exercise "Meeting Your Captain" (adapted from CTI's coaching training). While the full exercise would be too time-consuming to do here, you can skip ahead to the good stuff pretty quickly.

Essentially, your "Captain" (or "guide," or "model," or whatever term works for you) is a wise, calm, confident individual who has unconditional positive regard toward you. Most importantly, they're a model for how to behave in a situation where you'd need to balance your image to be perceived as both warm and competent at the same time. 

So think of someone who always seems to respond gracefully but can't be pushed around either. And then use them as a shortcut for how to behave - in essence, channel their energy and their response patterns instead of having to come up with your own from scratch.

This can be a great way to respond adaptively in the moment without having to second-guess yourself and spend a bunch of energy thinking of how you should say or do something. The most common captain that our clients come up with by far is, no surprise:

And here's why we think that is. Imagine Michelle Obama after a speaking event taking questions. Imagine that she gets a heckler or someone deciding that this is the time to ask an inappropriate or rude question.

How do you think she'd respond?

Regardless of your politics, it's hard to fathom her responding in an uncontrolled, emotionally reactive, or defensive manner, but it's almost equally difficult to imagine her backing down from the situation as well. She'd likely say something both graceful and firm, then direct everyone to move on. And by thinking of how she or someone else who embodies both grace and strength might respond adaptively to such a situation, so can you.

Quote we're contemplating

"Don't you take my kindness for weakness

Because I'm gentle doesn't mean I'm not strong"

- Soul Children

 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds September 26th, 2020 - What is stoicism, and how can it make you a better negotiator?

Posted by BossB, MD on September 26, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

 
If we had to write a short list of the schools of thought that most strongly influence   our curriculum  - especially the lifestyle design and negotiations portions - stoicism would be way up there.
 
And we're not alone. High-performers the world round -   from Roman emperors to world-champion athletes, from T-Pain to Anna Kendrick  - have looked to stoicism for practical wisdom on how to live and do well.
 
Which brings us to this week's article. Whether you're deeply familiar with the tradition or just now heard of it for the first time, this short read is a great examination of some of the most important traits that the stoics taught and embodied.
 
Many people, when they hear "stoicism," think "denial of emotion." And while the stoics were certainly world-class emotional regulators, there's so much more to the philosophy than that. In our "tip of the week," we will break down the 9 traits from the article and show how you can apply each one to negotiations and the business of medicine in general.  

Who we're following 

Stoicism is full of proverbs and aphorisms, which means that one of the best ways to learn about it is actually to do so slowly and intentionally, treating its concepts as opportunities for daily practice rather than a tome of knowledge to absorb as quickly as you can. The Daily Stoic (@dailystoic) is a great Twitter account to follow if you're interested in doing so. They post (you guessed it!) daily pull quotes from the annals of stoic wisdom - perfectly digestible little tidbits to contemplate and to put into action throughout your day.

BBMD tip of the week

As promised, here we'll break down the 9 traits from the article and draw some specific connections to your world and concepts that we've highlighted before.

The article is definitely worth reading on its own to get some more context, but here are the traits that the author believes were widely shared among stoic leaders and philosophers:

  • Good judges of value
    • Most of our clients first come to us focusing on money, but that's often not the most valuable thing on the table in a negotiation - time, staff support, resources for research, parental leave, the list goes on - can all be more meaningful concessions than money for you, and easier to give ground on for your counterpart as well
  • Sound aim and preparation
    • Readers of this newsletter are definitely no strangers to sound preparation, but opportunities to develop sound "aim" are few and far between in the rigid medical education and training process - hence the importance of spending time on lifestyle design before jumping into any negotiation, but especially before jumping into your first
  • Shrewdness and ingenuity
    • We talk a lot about being "other-centered" and proposing mutually beneficial solutions - a good negotiator shows shrewdness by anchoring their asks to something that matters for their counterpart rather than themselves, and ingenuity by proposing creative solutions that feel like a "win-win"
  • Tough on themselves, understanding of others
    • If we've said it once, we've said it a million times: ASSUME BEST INTENT
  • Modesty in speech, dress, and lifestyle
    • This might feel a little but preachy and dated at first glance, but the moment you don't need a job or that extra bit of salary, you immediately get a huge leg-up and a position of great power in a negotiation, which paradoxically will make you more likely to get the job or the salary bump - and one of the best ways to give yourself that leg-up is to avoid the "buying the big house and the nice car because I've delayed gratification for long enough" trap that so many early-career physicians fall into
  • Taming the tongue: listening more than talking
    • People love to hear the sound of their own voice, and if you can get your counterpart to do more talking than you in an interview or negotiation, you'll be almost guaranteed to maximize your informational advantage - the single most important key to succeeding in a negotiation
  • Kindness, fellowship, and fair dealing
    • The second most important key to succeeding in a negotiation is to maximize what we call emotional resonance - the feeling of mutual goodwill, high potential, and "being on the same page" - which could easily be alternatively stated as "kindness, fellowship, and fair dealing"
  • Bravery is serving the common good
    • In almost any business conversation, one of the quickest routes to finding the best possible outcome for yourself is not to focus on you or even on your counterpart - it's to focus on what's best for the institution that you both are in service of, and to keep framing your asks in terms of that "common good"
  • Character is fate
    • All of the best negotiation advice and business tactics won't help you if you haven't put in the work to be a great hire - that being said, most of our readers and most women in general err on the side of underconfidence and imposter syndrome - they absolutely have put in that work, but don't always allow themselves permission to really highlight that because it seems immodest. Your playing small serves nobody, so be sure to highlight the work you've put in, and the strength of your character and therefore your candidacy.
Quote we're contemplating

“It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people, but care more about their opinion than our own.” – Marcus Aurelius

 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds September 19th, 2020 - How to become an "Antifragile" negotiator

Posted by BossB, MD on September 19, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Ya know that feeling when you read a book and then you can't stop seeing its concepts literally everywhere you look? Like you've added a new lens through which to view the world?

Well, this is one of those books for us.

Matter of fact, this might be the single best non-fiction book we've ever read (and we read A LOT of 'em). We just finished it a couple weeks ago and can't wait to dive back in for our first re-read.

Why the effusive praise? Because in Antifragile, Taleb:
  • Presents a truly original and iconoclastic core idea - that the uncertainty, volatility, and stress which we often try to remove from modern systems are actually nature's way of improving things, and that the more we smooth out short-term volatility the more expose ourselves to huge long-term downside
  • Convincingly shows this concept at work in a wide variety of fields, from medicine to investing to politics and just about everywhere in-between
  • Provides real-world, tangible ways that you can apply the concept(s) to improve your own thinking and life

Reading this book helped to flatten out the emotional roller coaster that is living in 2020, and provided not only a real tangible sense of increased calm and equanimity in the face of all this uncertainty - it also provided us ideas on how to make that uncertainty work in our favor.

Taleb is a bit of a pugilist, so be forewarned that he does like to pick some fights, and that he doesn't spare the field of medicine their turn in the ring. That being said, if you read this book and expose yourself to the ideas therein, you'll come out of the experience with either:

  1. A new and improved worldview, or
  2. A much more solid grounding in your existing one 
Either way, it's entertaining and well written, so even if you disagree with what he presents you'll likely enjoy the experience of reading it. Cannot recommend highly enough.
 
Who we're following 

Taleb (@nntaleb) is also one of the most interesting, least predictable Tweeters we follow. We don't always agree with what he says but he never fails to make us think - definitely worth a follow if you're into that kinda thing.

BBMD tip of the week

The approach to negotiations that we teach in our curriculum is all about keeping things simple and limiting what you have to focus on. You're never going to get enough reps in to become better at all the negotiation skills than your MBA-wielding, business-person counterpart, so it's our job to make sure you can out-maneuver them on just a couple of the most important basics, where it really counts.

To do so, we always encourage our students to focus on maximizing 2 variables in a negotiation:

In his book, Taleb presents the idea of "Optionality" as one of the core strategies for creating antifragility, and it maps perfectly to the idea of maximizing your informational advantage and emotional resonance. In his own words:

"Options, any options, by allowing you more upside than downside, are vectors of antifragility.

If you 'have optionality,' you don’t have much need for what is commonly called intelligence, knowledge, insight, skills, and these complicated things that take place in our brain cells. For you don’t have to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom to not do unintelligent things to hurt yourself (some acts of omission) and recognize favorable outcomes when they occur. (The key is that your assessment doesn’t need to be made beforehand, only after the outcome.)

Option = asymmetry + rationality

The mechanism of optionlike trial and error (the fail-fast model), a.k.a. convex tinkering. Low-cost mistakes, with known maximum losses, and large potential payoff (unbounded). A central feature of positive Black Swans."

Seeking an informational advantage means that you know your counterpart's stance before you reveal yours, which gives you the option of orienting toward them in the most adaptive way possible. One of the best examples of this is finding out their pre-defined pay range for a job before telling them what you make today or are hoping to make.

Seeking emotional resonance also provides a great deal more options to you because it's a way of amassing more "chips to spend" interpersonally. If someone has goodwill toward you and is feeling positive "vibes," they're more likely to go along with what you present, more likely to make concessions to keep those good vibes flowing, and less likely to say or do something that would turn things sour.

These two factors, when combined, create a positive feedback loop that just works. After reading Antifragile, we now understand more deeply why it works, which means that we can get even better at the skills and their application.

Quote we're contemplating

RIP RBG 💔

“Fight for the things that you care about. But do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

“You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”

“Feminism … I think the simplest explanation, and one that captures the idea, is a song that Marlo Thomas sang, 'Free to be You and Me.' Free to be, if you were a girl—doctor, lawyer, Indian chief. Anything you want to be. And if you’re a boy, and you like teaching, you like nursing, you would like to have a doll, that’s OK too. That notion that we should each be free to develop our own talents, whatever they may be, and not be held back by artificial barriers—manmade barriers, certainly not heaven sent.”

“Another often-asked question when I speak in public: “Do you have some good advice you might share with us?” Yes, I do. It comes from my savvy mother-in-law, advice she gave me on my wedding day. “In every good marriage,” she counseled, “it helps sometimes to be a little deaf.” I have followed that advice assiduously, and not only at home through fifty-six years of a marital partnership nonpareil. I have employed it as well in every workplace, including the Supreme Court of the United States. When a thoughtless or unkind word is spoken, best tune out. Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.”

- The Hon. Ruth Bader Ginsberg (1933-2020)

 
 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds August 29, 2020 - In defense of the psychologically rich life, and how to use negative emotions in a negotiation

Posted by BossB, MD on August 29, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

 
In this article, recently published in The Scientific American (which is currently celebrating its 175 year anniversary!), the author offers an incredibly compelling new framework:
"What does it mean to live a good life? ... In the field of psychology, two main conceptualizations of the good life have predominated: A happy life... and a meaningful life. But what if these aren’t the only options?

In recent years, a long-neglected version of the good life has been receiving greater research attention: the psychologically rich life. The psychologically rich life is full of complex mental engagement, a wide range of intense and deep emotions, and diverse, novel, surprising and interesting experiences. Sometimes the experiences are pleasant, sometimes they are meaningful, and sometimes they are neither pleasant nor meaningful. However, they are rarely boring or monotonous.

Recent research on psychological richness has found that it is related to, but partially distinct from, both happy and meaningful lives. Psychological richness is much more strongly correlated with curiosity, openness to experience and experiencing both positive and negative emotions more intensely."

The article is pretty short and well worth a full read - and in our "tip of the week" we'll provide some ideas for how you might apply the concept. 

Who we're following 

The author of this week's article, Scott Barry Kaufman (@sbkaufman) is one of the clearest modern thinkers on the topics of well-being, meaning, creativity, and really just the human mind in general.

He is a prolific researcher and writer, as well as an engaged and interesting Tweeter. You'd be hard-pressed to find any other source that provides more novel, scientifically-backed insights about the human condition -  definitely worth a follow.

BBMD tip of the week

We talk a lot around here about "emotional resonance," - a sense of emotional connection and alignment, of "vibing" with someone. And the reason we talk about it so often is that if you focus on maximizing this variable, especially during a negotiation, everything else just tends to fall in place a lot easier.

But a common misconception is that emotional resonance needs to be centered around positive emotions. That's simply not the case. Emotional resonance is about feeling a sense of connection with and goodwill toward your counterpart, period, regardless of the emotional valence that's being experienced. 

And that's where the alignment with this concept of the psychologically rich life  comes into play. The psychologically rich life focuses on heightening and fully experiencing ALL emotions - a kind of increasing of emotional resonance with oneself, in a way. And we know from research on negativity bias that human beings are far more (~5-10x) reactive to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli.

So how exactly does this relate to negotiations?

Well, almost any "ask" we would make in a negotiation comes from a gap between our counterpart's offer and what we want, and gaps have tension (negative emotional energy).

So, once you get into emotional sync with your counterpart, you use that tension by taking them temporarily into the negative emotional state that you experience when you are faced with said "gap" - a great way to frame your negotiation ask.

This all sounds kind of theoretical in writing, so here's an example from our curriculum of a role-play that our students do to learn how to use the combination of negative emotions AND emotional resonance together to their advantage:

In the example above, we're coaching our students to explicitly and directly bring up one of the most emotionally charged topics possible in a negotiation - the gender pay gap.

The motions are as follows:

  • Double down on emotional resonance and give them a positive vision of themselves to live up to: "draws me to this practice... everyone here has a high level of integrity"
  • Highlight the tension and shift them into your negative emotional frame: "bit surprised and, honestly, disappointed"
  • Avoid defensiveness but maintain tension: "Now I’m sure it’s not intentional or malicious, but this is an impossible pill for me as a woman to swallow. I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you that stings.”
  • Sit in silence and watch them jump through hoops you never would have thought possible to relieve said tension and get back into a positive emotional state w/you

Quote we're contemplating

"Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.


Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed."

- Kahlil Gibran

 
 
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PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

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Saturday Morning Rounds August 22, 2020 - What drywall can teach us about negotiations

Posted by BossB, MD on August 22, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

Have you ever found that some of the best "ah-ha moments" you have in your work come from concepts and experiences that you encounter completely   outside of your field?
 
Well, we had one of those this week.
 
Some context - we've been renovating our basement for a few months now, and luckily we have family visiting right now who are experienced in such things to help guide the final steps of that process.
 
We're currently on the "putting up drywall" step. IYKYK.
Now the last thing that Carlton built here was a fence - also at the guidance of expert family members - and that was a project that required a lot of precision. A "measure twice cut once" kinda deal.
 
For this project, the first step was to take measurements for the drywall where it was to be installed. Simple enough.
 
Next, it was time to outline & cut the first chunk - Carlton went upstairs to do so. Nobody could do anything without this step completed, so as more and more minutes ticked by without said piece of drywall appearing, our expert helpers decided to check in. Upon doing so, they found an explosion of straight edges, levels, and pen marks - but no cuts. That's when one of them said:
"Drywall isn't carpentry - it doesn't have to be perfect, just get it close and we'll spackle it from there."
The essence of the message is this: precision is great, but it is rarely an end in and of itself. Make sure you only take it as far as it actually serves you.
 
More on how to apply this concept to negotiations in our "tip of the week." 

Who we're following 

Speaking of concepts that originate outside of one's field but provide some of the most valuable frameworks for improving one's work, Yuval Noah Harari (@harari_yuval) is an author that should definitely be on both your radar and your bookshelf.

His most well-known work, "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" is required reading for anyone who wants to better understand who we are and why we do what we do. He's now turned his lens to the present and the future, with his latest titles being "Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow" and "21 Lessons for the 21st Century."

His Twitter feed is a great place to stay abreast of books that are worth reading, concepts to help us understand the world (especially what's happening geopolitically), and a rich, thoughtful, informative perspective on LGBTQ issues & topics.

BBMD tip of the week

Now, back to the limits of precision.
 
We've said many times before that any "ask" should embody what we call   the "2 Rs" - it should be reasonable and it should be relational.
 
A reasonable ask is exactly that - an ask that   has a reason. And almost any ask that has a good reason is going to be precise - meaning it won't be a round number.
 
Think "I'm asking for a $25,670 raise" as opposed to "I'd like a $25,000 raise."
 
This approach invites curiosity from your counterpart and activates their sense of fairness. It's much harder to deny something that has a well-reasoned logic behind it and is attached to real-world variables (avg pay for your specialty in your region, the money you generate for your employer, etc etc etc) than it is to deny a round, imprecise number.
 
But the point of this approach isn't to get a specific number   in return  from your counterpart, and if that's what you expect to happen, you'll be disappointed and frustrated almost every time. When we make a precise ask, what we're really trying to do is:
  • Anchor high
  • Get more information from our counterpart

So a typical response to the kind of precise ask outlined above might be "well, the most we can do is $20,000."

And if you're too focused on precision you'll miss the fact that you just got a HUGE WIN. You maxed out their range, and you now know all of the cards they have to play. But instead of celebrating in that moment, we've seen people get upset and recklessly spend relational capital/goodwill by arguing that their counterpart's offer is imprecise, and therefore unreasonable.

Precision has its limits, and is rarely an end in and of itself. Drywall isn't carpentry. If you're close enough to where you want to be, we promise that figurative "spackle" can handle the rest. And we're always happy to hop on a free 30min intro call to help you brainstorm what your specific version of "spackle" might be.

 
Quote we're contemplating
"I was taught that if you're going to study something, you must understand it deeply and be familiar with primary sources. But if you write a history of the whole world, you can't do this. That's the trade-off." - Yuval Noah Harari
 
 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds August 15, 2020 - Why emotional intelligence is important, and how to develop more of it

Posted by BossB, MD on August 15, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

"A Loyola Medicine study demonstrates that an educational curriculum for physicians in training improves their emotional intelligence, which may help protect against burnout.

Before and after completing this educational intervention, doctors took a test measuring their emotional intelligence. There were significant increases in their scores for overall emotional intelligence, stress management and overall wellness."

One of the most helpful skills in any interpersonal engagement, and especially in any negotiation, is emotional intelligence.
 
When most people hear the term emotional intelligence, they think of someone who has a great ability to understand and empathize with the emotions of others, but that's only half the story. 
 
The most essential component of emotional intelligence is the ability to recognize and modulate  one's own emotions.
 
And according to this paper, it seems that emotional intelligence will do more than help you to achieve external outcomes, it will also improve your internal experience as well!
 
More on that below in our "tip of the week."

Who we're following 

MS4s are becoming physicians in a time of incredible volatility & uncertainty, & the match/interview process going virtual only adds to that burden.

So, this week on Twitter, we've reached out to and followed a bunch of program directors and #WomenInMedicine leaders to ask their help in answering a quick (<5min) survey that we built to help ease that burden and provide some clarity. 

If you are a program director, please take a few moments to answer, and if you know a program director, please consider forwarding the survey on to them!

BBMD tip of the week

Want to increase your EQ but aren't sure where to start? The single greatest intervention we have for this is also the simplest.
 
"Labeling," or naming, an emotion as you're experiencing it is a highly impactful way to (a) create some space between yourself and whatever emotion it is you might be experiencing, and then (b) decide whether and how that emotion might serve you in your situation, rather than being hostage to it.
 
One of the best ways to start this practice is by  expanding your emotional vocabulary, but don't wait till you have the perfect word to try labeling! A close approximation is far better than nothing.
Quote we're contemplating
 " When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion." -Dale Carnegie
 
 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds August 8, 2020 - The most important variable in a negotiation

Posted by BossB, MD on August 8, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

We've had a number of conversations this past week about what we like to call the "pay:time" ratio.

It's a simple and essential fact that almost all of us are trading our time for money at work. Most people just focus on total pay, but once we shift our paradigm to focus on the pay:time ratio as the most important variable in a negotiation, we gain the ability to think clearly and creatively about how to achieve the outcome we want.

Given the importance and ubiquity of this topic, we're going to repost an article from our archives that covers it in greater detail:

Women Did Everything Right. Then Work Got ‘Greedy.’ - How America’s Obsession with Long Hours Has Widened the Gender Gap

This article, written by Clair Cain Miller from the New York Times, presents a compelling narrative about what drives the typically large pay gaps within white-collar couples. A few trends that have been increasing for decades now have come to a head, creating an environment that often limits women's earning potential - namely:

  • Work - Particularly compensation for working long hours
    • "Being willing to work 50 percent more doesn’t mean you make 50 percent more, you make like 100 percent more.. The trade-off between time and money is not linear."
    • "Four decades ago, people who worked at least 50 hours a week were paid 15 percent less, on an hourly basis, than those who worked traditional full-time schedules. By 2000, though, the wage penalty for overwork became a premium. Today, people who work 50 hours or more earn up to 8 percent more an hour than similar people working 35 to 49 hours"
  •  Coupling
  • Parenting
    • "Highly educated women are more likely to have children than they recently were. Eighty percent of women in their early 40s with doctorates or professional degrees are mothers, up from 65 percent two decades ago"
    • "Being a parent, particularly a mother, has become more intensive. Working mothers today spend as much time with their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s. The number of hours that college-educated parents spend with their children has doubled since the early 1980s"
  • The bottom line (with a little good news mixed in!)
    • "There’s no gender gap in the financial rewards for working extra long hours. For the most part, women who work extreme hours get paid as much as men who do. But far fewer women do it, particularly mothers. Twenty percent of fathers now work at least 50 hours a week, and just 6 percent of mothers do... There has always been a pay gap between mothers and fathers, but it would be 15 percent smaller today if the financial returns to long hours hadn’t increased"

Here at BBMD, we talk often about the tension between (a) the fact that these problems are systemic in nature, and (b) the reality that we can't afford to wait for the system to change itself. For the "systems-based" side of things, the author offers some solutions that would be great to see raised in a legislative session or a board meeting: 

  • "Certain changes would lighten parents’ demands at home, like universal public preschool, longer school days, free afterschool care and shorter school breaks. But the ultimate solution, researchers say, is not to make it possible for mothers to work crazy hours, too. It’s to reorganize work so that nobody has to. The most effective way to do that, Ms. Goldin’s research has found, is for employers to give workers more predictable hours and flexibility on where and when work gets done."

  • "Conventional wisdom... is that this is impossible — certain people are too valuable and need to be available to clients anytime. But some professions have successfully challenged that notion. Obstetricians, for instance, used to be on call when patients went into labor. Now it’s much more common for them to work eight-hour shifts in a hospital — and many more women do the job."

For the "can't afford to wait" side of things, see our tip of the week ;)

Who we're following 

One of our favorite Tweeps, Dr. Kimberly Manning, MD (@gradydoctor), is crossing a couple of big milestones next month and could use your help celebrating!

BBMD tip of the week

If you're reading this, you're almost certainly a physician. And if you're a physician, you're almost certainly employed in a model that trades your time for money.

People tend to think that because they're not paid an hourly wage, that because they have some mix of "fixed" salary and/or variable (RVU, bonus, etc) compensation, they have flexibility. But really, that just obfuscates the fact that there's a hard cap on your pay, and it's directly related to 3 variables:

  1. How much "doctoring" you can fit into every minute (increases with efficiency, support staff, etc)
  2. How many minutes per year you can spend "doctoring" (the focus of the article we shared this week)
  3. How much money you get paid per minute of "doctoring"

However, most of our clients come into the "negotiations" phase of our curriculum thinking that we'll be focusing most of our energies on how to maximize their total income - e.g. how to go from $100,000 per year to $125,000 per year.

In reality, the more important number to focus on (and maximize) is #3 - your pay:time ratio.

And that's great news! Because institutions often have a lot more flexibility to offer time (and time-saving resources) than they do money. While getting "pay" as high as possible certainly helps the equation, getting "time" as low as possible is oft-neglected and offers far more viable routes to success.

Here are a few examples of variables you can negotiate (or tweak in your own life) to maximize your pay:time ratio:

  • Paid time off
  • Parental leave
  • Commute time (this one gets you on both ends - it's essentially uncompensated work time, AND increasing your commute is the most reliable way to tank your quality of life/happiness)
    • One way to get your employer to help with this is a moving/relocation stipend - instead of thinking of that money as money saved on costs you would have incurred anyway, consider rolling it into a home that gets you closer to work
  • Productivity-based compensation (higher $ per RVU generated, lower RVU thresholds to achieving bonus, etc)
  • Call shifts/night shifts/schedule in general
  • Support staff (esp. a scribe and/or a mid-level)
  • Admin/research time
  • Dedicated office space (if that would help you work more efficiently)

There are even some more unconventional ideas that you can propose which (a) the private sector already offers so there's precedent + social pressure and (b) might actually be lower-cost to your employer and higher-impact to you, such as:

  • Childcare (onsite, subsidized, etc)
  • Laundry service
  • Free meals
  • Pumping room for nursing mothers
  • Legal aid from their counsel if you've got any issues with your previous employer
    • This is actually a situation we see often that can really add up quickly if you deal with it yourself - just remember that these institutions often have retainers with law firms or employ internal counsel, meaning a much lower cost to them for the same result
At the end of the day, the real goal for most of our clients is to operate at the top of your license and to get paid at the top of what's possible for doing so. Once you realize that time is often a more malleable variable in that equation than money, it provides a lot of creative solutions to achieve what you want.
 
Quote we're contemplating

All this talk about the cost of family planning and pay:time ratios can make it very difficult for a physician with children to avoid calculating the monetary loss from every game or recital or field trip they attend. And that can be a dangerous thinking trap to fall into, because humans are powerfully loss-averse by nature. So while we can't afford to ignore these economic realities, we should also strive to keep them in perspective and remember what it's all in service of. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry says it best in The Little Prince (chapter 21 - if you don't know the book read the whole chapter, it's beautiful):

"It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important."

 

 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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Saturday Morning Rounds August 1, 2020 - President Obama's eulogoy for Rep. John Lewis, and what it can teach you about influencing others

Posted by BossB, MD on August 1, 2020

Saturday Morning Rounds

A weekly round-up of career & negotiation content for women physicians

What got our attention

President Obama's eulogy for Rep. John Lewis

The speech is ~40min, but well worth the listen regardless of which side of the aisle you inhabit. Plus, President Obama is just about the only speaker that you can listen to at 1.5x without missing anything.

More on that, and a few other things you can glean from this speech to make yourself more effective at influencing others, in our "tip of the week" below.

Who we're following 

They say it takes a village to raise a child

They also say that writing is an act of creation, a "labor of love"

So if what "they say" is true, does that make President Obama's former speechwriter, Jon Favreau (@jonfavs) an OB/midwife/doula?

We're not sure, but we do know that his Twitter feed delivers (see what we did there??) a consistently interesting and thoughtful perspective.

BBMD tip of the week

There's a lot that can be learned from President Obama's speech, but we're going to highlight 3 skills today that he modeled especially well.

Gravity

We made a joke about how you can listen to Obama at 1.5x and still absorb everything, and we're not the only ones - SNL, every comedy news show, and every White House Correspondent's Dinner act during his administration made a lot of much better jokes about his speaking cadence over the years.

It's unique and sometimes funny, yes, but it also works. And it's something we practice A LOT with out clients.

See, it's often the case that when we slow down our speech or let a silence hang for a beat, we feel awkward. We worry we might seem like we don't know what we're talking about. We worry like might seem weak or unsure of ourselves.

Most of us are incredibly uncomfortable with silence - especially silence while discussing an already-uncomfortable topic - which happens often during business conversations.

So we talk fast, we use vocalized pauses ("um, like, ya know"), and we hamstring ourselves by undercutting the strength of whatever we said before the silence with a bunch of qualifiers to make others feel more comfortable.

Not any more.

We offer a reframe - silence is not a sign that you're weak or don't know what to say, it's a sign that you're thoughtful and worth listening to. It's a sign that your word means something, that you're a serious person, and that you respect your counterpart's time and attention, and expect the same in return.

Once you can think of a silence like that, you can use those pauses to command a conversation the way a conductor commands an orchestra. You can hang in the balance and take a moment to be intentional with what you want to say next. And you can be pleasantly surprised by what your counterpart will concede just in order to break the silence that's made them uncomfortable, but that you can sit with.

As always, practice makes perfect.

Write out a script for some kind of business conversation - any kind will do, but the more uncomfortable or potentially confrontational the better - and then practice it in a mirror. Time your first attempt as you would usually speak it, then try as hard as you can on your second go-round to take at least 150-200% that amount of time to say the same words. You'll blow yourself away with how much more expressive you can be and how much more worthy of being taken seriously you'll sound.

Be Other-Centered

We talk about this concept a lot, and for good reason. 

It's no secret that President Obama is a Democrat, and the Democratic party is well-known to be more secular and specifically to advocate more strongly for the separation of church and state than Republicans. This is an important core value in the Democratic party. However, here are a few pull quotes from Obama's speech:

"James wrote to the believers..."

"Like John the Baptist preparing the way, like those Old Testament prophets speaking truth to kings..."

"As The Lord instructed Paul..."

Obama probably wouldn't have said those things if he was giving a speech in most other contexts - he almost certainly would have actively avoided them if he was speaking in front of, say, the ACLU.

But during this speech, he was in a church. So, he made an active attempt to be other-centered. Obama read the room and spoke to his audience.

And so should you.

To provide a more applicable example, we just had a call yesterday with a client who's been passed up for consideration to become a partner in her private orthopedic practice after two years of employment with them. Their bullshit excuse is that COVID has made money tight - really, they probably just wanna profit off her efforts for another year.

So, how can you speak to your audience and be other-centered in such a situation? Well, Orthopedics is a male-dominated field well-known for being the "jocks of medicine," so we asked if that was true of her counterparts and she said yes. 

This lead to us building a strategy together that hinged on an analogy - we named it the "put me in coach" approach. 

We'll spare you the details of the analogy other than to say that the idea is for her to frame this to them as the feeling of being passed up for varsity your junior year but not knowing why.

Such an analogy works because it:

  • Connects  to a context that's meaningful to her counterpart
  • Humanizes her by highlighting the pain and unfairness she's feeling in a way they can empathize with
  • Humanizes them as coaches who have to make a tough call, thus avoiding the shame/blame/defensiveness game just enough to make space for a productive conversation

Never pass up an opportunity to maximize connection with your audience.

Reject Zero-Sum Frames

One of our favorite quotes from the speech was:

"We don't have to choose between protest and politics - it's not an either-or situation, it's a both-and situation"

So many conversations hit a stalemate because someone frames things as zero-sum, as win-lose. That's an "either-or" construction, and it's almost always a logical fallacy and a trap (often an unintentional one - just a reflection of that person's fear/scarcity/deficit mindset).

This often takes the form of "squabbling" over how big of a "slice of the pie" each party gets.

Instead, we always always always want to focus on growing the whole pie for everyone. That's a "both-and" mindset - it's also the reality of any productive business relationship, a great way to get on the same side of the table/on the same team as your counterpart, and the best quickest most effective shortcut to maximizing your outcome in a negotiation.

Quote we're contemplating
"We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed
Perplexed, but not in despair
Persecuted, but not abandoned
Struck down, but not destroyed"
- 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (also, President Obama)
 
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PS - If you were forwarded this email and enjoyed it,  subscribe here to make sure you don't miss out on future ones!
 
PPS - As always, please let us know your requests and suggestions by replying to this email (we read 'em all) or getting at us via Twitter. Which section above is your favorite? What do you want more or less of? Just send a tweet to  @BossB_MD and put #SaturdayMorningRounds in there so we can find it.

Have a wonderful weekend, y'all!
 
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