Building your 2022 Cairn

While you might already know this story from reading my book, it bears repeating because it explains my “why” for the work I do.  It also explains the “why” for my 2022 approach to blogs, newsletters, free webinars and more.  

Hiking in the woods where the trails were clearly beaten down with old leaves and brush had been cleared away was as natural as anything else, and I didn’t get lost (very often). Moving to the high deserts of Colorado, the trails could not have been more different. Frequently the path seemed impossible to discern, I could have easily gotten lost on a regular basis. It was out there, in vast Mesa County, that I discovered the importance of cairns: beautifully balanced rock formations that are universally known to hikers as a signal that they are on the right track.

As you know by now, a cairn is not an ordinary pile of rocks; it did not appear by accident or coincidence. This structure has been constructed by people who have gone where you seek to go. Reflecting the unique perspective of whoever built them, cairns serve one of three main purposes:

1. To establish the best path forward by providing a trail marker

2. To clarify the better route when a path diverges

3. To draw attention to obstacles or pitfalls that are hidden from view

The simplicity and practicality of cairns struck me so deeply, I named my business Cairn Consulting Solutions. At some point over the years, I discovered my own personal guiding philosophy, my first cairn: Grow your people to grow your business. 

A cairn is made up of layers of rocks: each one solid and large enough to support the others. Building a cairn that stands tall enough to be a guide requires balancing the rocks in a way that prevents a collapse. Within this model, the four rocks for organizational design and personal leadership are THINK, SAY, DO, and GROW.

THINK is the foundational rock of People First because it encompasses your mindset, your beliefs, and your intentions. Every action you take and every word you say is based on how you THINK. If your mindset and intentions don’t truly support “people before patients,” then what you SAY and DO and how you GROW won’t lead to long-term success.

For 2022, my blog posts and newsletters will follow the structure of the THINK, SAY, DO, GROW cairn.  I encourage you to utilize this idea of building your own cairn for 2022.  Start with your intentions and mindset.  This cairn isn’t your new year’s resolution, it isn’t your company’s strategic plan.  It is the approach to those things.  I look forward to seeing you on the path.

And I’d love to hear how your journey is going.  Send me an email…

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About Amy Lafko

As a Physical Therapist, Amy spent years in school learning best practices for patient care and how to put the patient first. Like so many technically skilled clinicians, she advanced to a leadership role. Spending 20+ years in operational leadership, she had an epiphany: Putting the customer first isn’t the path to success or fulfillment. Rather, the most successful organizations and practices put their people first – and exceptional customer care, profitability, and effectiveness naturally followed.