Tag Archives: Innovation

“Innovation in Healthcare – The Future of Employee Benefits”

Employers realize their employee benefits may be the deciding factor in their ability to recruit and retain the top talent. 

Adopting innovation as the foundation of a company strategy to provide employees with high quality, cost efficient benefits is a trend that is changing employer thinking. Making a transition to a strategic approach requires companies of all sizes to engage in a different way to purchase, manage and evaluate their benefit plans.

At the August CEOtoCEO Breakfast AristaPoint CEO Pat Chestnut and UHC Northwest CEO Claire Verity presented how to make the transition to Strategic Thinking and present the latest Innovations that employers are implementing to have a “Best Company” employee benefit program.

The Strategic Approach to purchase, manage and evaluate their benefit plans.

  1. Define Written Goals & Objectives
  2. Establish a Purchasing Process
  3. Know Your Market Segment & Rating Options
  4. Require Transparency of Cost
  • Marketing Compensation & Services
  • Evaluate Internal Administration Costs
  1. Benchmark Benefits
  • Versus Competitors
  • Region
  • Industry
  1. Establish a Healthcare Budget
  • % of Compensation
  • Total Expenditure
  1. Develop a Contribution Strategy
  • Defined Contribution vs Percentage
  1. Data Driven Decisions
  • Determine Data Points for Evaluation
  1. Develop a Product / Benefit Plan Strategy
  1. Analyze Carrier Performance

Rate Filings

Network Changes

Product Diversity

  1.  Review Communication Tools
  2.  Inventory Engagement Tools

Access to Care

Decision Making

Wellness Resources



Mariners President: How can we attract and retain young people?

One of the unique features of the CEOtoCEO Breakfast is that it is a very interactive conversation between the CEO speaker and the CEO’sKevin Mather - Sliding image participating at the breakfast.  At the July CEOtoCEO Breakfast Kevin Mather, President of the Seattle Mariners, provided an excellent overview of the business of baseball.  Kevin asked the CEOs for ideas on how baseball could attract and retain more young people to their game?

As attracting and retaining youth is a relevant challenge to many CEOs Kevin’s question sparked a lively brain storming session at the breakfast.  Working with those at their tables participating CEOs generated the following ideas on how the Mariners could attract and retain young people.  Are there any ideas you can use for your business?


  1. Win!
  2. Stop trading away prospects


  1. Batting cages at the fields
    1. Fans can play during games
    2. Offer a high school batting derby
      1. Mobile unit?


  1. Weekend Brunch days
    1. Open the park early and allow fans to purchase mimosas, bloody marys and other brunch related foods/drinks
  2. Menu Options
    1. Offer Vegan food choices on some of the ball park menu 


  1. Encourage participation in little league – engage individuals from youth to present
  2. Ride Share Partnerships
    1. Could also run promotions to and from the games
    2. Increases capacity to get to/from the games without having to worry about finding and paying for parking
  3. Education of Immigrant Population
    1. Help immigrant populations understand the game in order to appreciate it
  4. “Take a Fan to Work Day”
    1. Offer an essay competition for elementary/middle school kids to participate in. They can write about why they love the sport, who their favorite player is, etc. and when a winner is chosen, they can go to the field early and get a tour/meet players/watch batting practice/etc.


  1. Social Media
    1. Engagement with Millennials – Get the center field fans involved so that they pay attention throughout the game
  2. Interactive App
    1. Offer an app that allows children to participate in before/during/after games
    2. Offer an app that could be made up of short videos and games to help new fans understand how the game is played and scored
  3. Scorekeeping Educational Sessions
    1. Make a video to teach fans how to keep score via the big screen before the game starts
      1. Offer fans a free score keeping card/program for the game
  4. “Postable Moments”
    1. Increase or switch-up the types of “postable moments” that fans can interactively participate in during games
    2. Being on the BIG screen is exciting!


  1. Adjusting weekday game times
    1. It is difficult for younger generations to attend games that don’t begin until 7:10PM
  2. Appeal to the intellectual qualities of the game
    1. Create a hybrid game (ie. indoor soccer) that forces more interaction with the game and it’s components
    2. Kids will become more engaged with the increase in access to the hybrid activity
  3. Valet for Families
    1. Being able to valet would make getting to/from the games much easier for parents with young children. Especially those who have children who use car seats.


  1. Marketing Promotions
    1. More promotion of special events/nights (ie. Sriracha Night)
    2. Offer more events geared toward Millennials (ie. Two-for-one Night: buy two tickets for the price of one, Date Night: offer a special menu/drinks)


  1. Millennials as Employees
    1. Look at increasing the millennial work force at Safeco Field
      1. Highlight: Flexible schedules, technology but also that there is an expectation that work will get completed


A Forgotten Art and Component of Effective Leadership…Listening

hand draws the big idea

When people say the word “Leadership” there are lots of things that come to mind. Usually the comments center on someone who is strong, in control, good communicator, decision maker, and knowledgeable. While these are unquestionably important, there is one skill that truly differentiates the best leaders from average leaders…their ability to LISTEN.

Listening in many ways is a lost art today. Everyone has lots to say and most aren’t afraid of telling us what they think. And add into the mix the Tsunami of Social Media adoption by leaders today and you have exponentially increased the volume of content leaders have to say. So with all this talking, who has time to listen? Great leaders…that’s who.

I saw an article that was simple, yet quite impactful on 5 benefits to why the best leaders listen. The article was in Enterprise NK and I wanted to share with you what they have found to be 5 areas any leader can incorporate that will help them be a better listener. But they did it in a way that is all about how it can “benefit” the new or existing leader today. The article, “Leadership – 5 Benefits of Listening,” focuses on why this is something every leader needs more of today.

Here are their 5 Benefits as to why this can help you as a leader…

  1. You Discover Things – When leaders are simply walking around their organizations and interacting with employees in all areas of the company, if they stop talking long enough they will probably discover things they are doing as a company they didn’t even realize.
  2. You Take Better Decisions – When I first saw this I thought it was a type and the word should be “make” instead. But the way they explain it makes total sense. When you listen, you get a wider range of options presented and discussed and as such you can “take” the best decisions from the group…makes total sense now.
  3. You Gain Respect – This plays completely on the value employees place on being able to have someone of importance actually listen to what they are saying. They feel more appreciated and recognized just by the simple fact you listened instead of spewed some information.
  4. You Find Out More – This one is pretty obvious and similar to #1 other than it’s an opportunity to get more depth of what is going on in a certain area to help you make better decisions in the future with better and deeper information.
  5. You Uncover Opportunities – This is probably the culmination of the all of the above…you see things you may never have seen before and with the bright and creative mind you have as a leader, you can “translate” them into potential opportunities you may never have thought of before now.

There you have it…how many of these are you, as a leader, doing today? How many can you personally improve in? How many can your team improve in to make a stronger leadership team in your company? Maybe these could be a discussion in your next leadership team meeting…providing that the team is willing to “listen” to these ideas about listening!

15 Traits of a Terrible Leader…from Their Employees

leadership skill conceptThere are lots of lists and do’s and don’t’s about “Leadership” from Leadership experts…but what about from their employees? So when I saw this article by Success.com it made me think about it a bit more and some of the insights were quite thought provoking.

The article, “15 Traits of a Terrible Leader” was sharing feedback from the YEC (Young Entrepreneurs Council) from different members. I thought it was a list worth sharing and discussing with your leadership team to see how well you would grade yourself and your team in these areas. In a time where more and more companies are hiring Millenials and others, this is a perspective we could all use…

  1. Lack of Transparency
  2. Not Listening
  3. Dismissing Ideas other than your own
  4. Valuing Experience over Potential
  5. Ego
  6. Working 24/7
  7. Lack of Empathy
  8. Forgetting about Leadership Development
  9. Being Overly Conservative
  10. Permitting Negative Gossip
  11. Poor Communication Strategy
  12. Closed-Mindedness
  13. Assigning Blame
  14. Inconsistency
  15. Being too Slow to Adapt

You can agree or disagree with this list, but either way, I think there is value in discussing each of these to see how you, as the leader of the organization, believe you are doing in these different areas. You may choose to dismiss some based on your business but I believe this is a worthwhile group exercise to have a lively debate among your leadership team. But as I tell the CEOs/Business Owners I work with all the time, the value is in the “Process of doing” as much or more than the actual outcome. Meaning, you might not change everything, but having a healthy discussion about where you stand and “why” in each area has tremendous value.

I believe it is also valuable to “assign a score” to each item on the list. A “current score” and a “desired score.” This means you might only have a desired score of a 5 in one category and a 10 in another category (on a scale of 1 – 10) but it is how well you think you and your leadership are doing that really matters. Look at the gaps…this is a classic “gap analysis” of where you want to be and where you are. Wherever there is a big gap, schedule a time in your next management meeting to discuss “Why” and this will make for a great…and helpful…discussion.

Best Business Books of 2014?

strategy + business logoIt’s that time of year where we all talk about books that we read this past year and which ones stood out in our minds. These lists will start pouring in over the next couple of months. I will share some of these with you along the way. But to give you an early start, here are the top Business Books for 2014 as put together by Strategy+Business. Let us know if you have read any of these and what you thought…good or bad…it will help the rest of us that haven’t read them get a better idea if it is worth our time our not. Here’s the list…by topical category…

Business Strategy


Executive Self-Improvement

Organizational Culture




So if you were looking for things to fill your time during the holiday season, this should solve that problem. Enjoy…and let me know what you think of these books or if you have some of your own you would like to add to the list. If you have read a book and want to give our readers a brief summary, please e-mail me (Blaine Millet) and I would be happy to put your review up as a blog post.

A Personal Story of How to Move from Success to Significance

We had the privilege of having Dr. Larry Corey, President and Director Emeritus (former CEO) of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center speak at our breakfast this past week. Not only was Dr. Corey entertaining, but his message reached everyone in the room…and got us all thinking as he shared his own personal journey. The main… Continue Reading

Jack Welch got it Right…even for Customers

There is a famous quote I always loved from Jack Welch, famous CEO from General Electric. He said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, then the end is near.” Today the rate of change is eclipsing most organizations and they can’t keep up. Competition is… Continue Reading

Seahawks Winning Culture…

Back in September at our CEOtoCEO breakfast we had the great privilege of having John Schneider speak to our group about the culture of the Seattle Seahawks. We all know how that story ended…with a SuperBowl victory!! But being a business leader you know there are lots of moving parts behind this to make it… Continue Reading

It’s That Time of Year…STRATEGY

Whether you were busy building a budget or strategy in the fourth quarter last year or you put it off until the first quarter of this year, one thing is for certain…this is the time of year to “execute” that strategy! When I ran a consulting practice at Arthur Andersen in the late ‘90s one… Continue Reading

Where does CULTURE come from…Top Down or Bottom Up?

We had a great group of panelists at our February 7th CEOtoCEO breakfast event and as we promised, we want to share some of the video highlights as well as some of the answers to certain questions. One question that came from the audience and got lots of attention was in regard to CULTURE –… Continue Reading