These Strategies Won’t Work For Me

I’ve been leading a lot of workshops lately, sharing tools and strategies to improve communication and relationships. There’s one statement that no matter where or what group I’m with, someone will say it. Do you know what it is? Here it is . . .

“These tools and strategies are all fine but they’re not going to get me what I need.”

And it’s true!!

Yep, you read that correctly . . . it is true that none of the tools and strategies I share will get people what they want IF (and it’s a ginormous IF) …

They don’t consider the level of influence they have.

 Let me explain.

If (there’s that word again) you are providing point-of-care service to a patient and you walk into your leader’s office and say “It’s crazy out there. Workload is out of control, call bells are ringing. I need another nurse.” To save you the pain of rejection, I’ll tell you what you’re leader will say (in most cases), “We don’t have the budget for another nurse (or care aid, physio, educator – just fill in the blank).” And as a result, you’re frustrated, make up stories about the lousy leader you have AND you don’t get what you want. I’m sure that’s not earth shattering news to you. Here’s my point, as a point-of-care health professional, you don’t have the decision-making power to decide if you need another nurse or not. Just like a manager doesn’t have the decision-making power to change the focus of the program he/she is managing.

You have to advocate within your level of influence.

. . . otherwise your efforts fall on deaf eyes. I want to be clear of one thing, I’m not saying you can’t advocate to your leader about needing another nurse, I’m saying you don’t have the power to make THE decision or demand the result. But you can advocate within your realm of influence. Of course all of this begs the question, how? The answer?

Hit Their Pain Point (budget)

Every leader, at least that I know in health care, is acutely aware of their budget and how much services, resources, and personnel are costing them or conversely, what the lack of services, resources or personnel are costing them.

What You Do

Advocate in terms of those pain points: “I’ve noticed that our sick time has increased since the workload went up and we’re calling for overtime at least once per day. What kind of money are your spending on overtime each month?”

Next Step

Then give a suggestion (not a demand) about how to reduce or eliminate those pain points i.e. “Would it be more cost effective to routinely have another nurse on shift instead of always paying the overtime costs?” Now this doesn’t mean, the next day they are going to hire a nurse. It does mean you will have a much better chance of having a productive conversation about your unit or area needs when you speak from your realm of influence.

Give it a try, And let me know how it goes.

Learn, Share, Enjoy




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  • Our workshop participants found Barb’s approach to teaching at the Centre for Professional Development to be dynamic and engaging.  Barb not only taught effective communication and presentation skills, but also role modelled techniques throughout the day. Participants were excited to be able to apply learning’s directly into their day to day roles

    Leasa Knechtel

    Associate Director at the Centre for Professional Development, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.

  • Your plenary session was a real asset and a great contribution to the success of our National IPAC Conference. From beginning to end participants were energized and actively engaged.


    Gwyneth Meyers BSc, MSc, PhD

    Scientific Committee Chair

  • “The workshop was wonderful!! Barb walked the talk by continuously demonstrating the tips and skills she was teaching! It was amazing to see it all come together. I would recommend the workshop to anyone who has to present.”

    Bev Waite, Education Lead-Nursing,

    Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

  • I told one of the nurse educators that it was the best 3 hours I have spent in a training session as the content was clear, relevant, exactly enough to be able to incorporate into presentations, and you demonstrated each point which was great. It was watching an expert at work.

    Aideen Carroll, Advanced Practice Nurse Educator

    Toronto General Hospital

  • Your workshop was also a big hit. It was interesting to hear people talk about it as not good, but great.

    Debbie Ross

    CMP Manager of Governance and Events CNA

  • After working with Barb, our team returned to work energized, enthused and inspired to utilize tools that increase our communication, clarity and relationship with not only each other, but also with the residents and families that we serve. I would highly recommend Barb if you want to bring out the best in your team.

    Dale Clements, Administrator

    Columbus Residence

  • Barb Langlois led a wonderful one day workshop for 45 Clinical Nurse Educators in Saskatoon Health Region. She worked with us in advance to really understand our learning needs, Six months later, I see CNEs using Barb’s techniques to engage learners and I use them myself in my own presentations. I strongly recommend Barb – she is a very skilled facilitator who connects with learners in a very meaningful and effective way.

    Margot Hawke RN, BSN, MCEd, Nursing Professional Practice Lead

    Saskatoon Health Region


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