Wendy Hanson 0:24
Welcome, everyone. I am so thrilled today to talk to Dr. George woods. Dr. Woods is a forensic neuro psychiatrists, we are going to explore the concept of hope. I've had the pleasure of knowing him for many years and consider him a dear friend, and he's on the board of advisors at BetterManager. We're going to explore the neuroscience behind hope, mindfulness and other important strategies, as Dr. Woods brings his extensive medical background to help us learn about how these opportunities could show up better in business. So let me tell you a little bit about his distinguished background. Dr. Woods is the recipient of the 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Utah Medical Center, the first psychiatrist ever selected from 2017 through 2019. He served as Secretary General to the International Academy of law and mental health during its amalgamation with the Institute of Ethics, medicine and public health at the Sorbonne in Paris, France. He has also worked with Vulcan industries, Microsoft forefront, telehealth and Walmart on psychometrically and culturally competent employment testing procedures. He is a neuroscience adviser to BetterManager, a leader in advanced coaching for all levels of management. In 2019, Dr. Woods was appointed to the governing board of the Stanford University Medical Shared Services Program and was appointed medical expert for the San Francisco District Attorney post conviction units in in, in no sense commission in 2020. In 2021, he was appointed to the American Psychiatric Association, and the Morehouse School of Medicine Center for Excellence focused on African American behavioral health disparities. Crestwood behavioral health appointed Dr. Woods as chief scientific officer on March of 2021, the first in the company's history. So we are quite fortunate to have Dr. Woods with us today. So welcome, George, thank you so much for taking the time with us
Dr. George Woods 2:48
a real honor and pleasure, where do you thank you very much.
Wendy Hanson 2:51
So I love what we're going to discuss. And this actually came out of a conversation that you and I had. So what is hope? When the
Dr. George Woods 3:00
hope is the combination of resilience? And watching for opportunities,
Wendy Hanson 3:08
resilience, and watching for opportunities? Wow, I've never heard that kind of description, and it makes so much sense, say a little bit more. How did you kind of come to thinking more about hope?
Dr. George Woods 3:22
Well, you made me think about hope. And I really was trying to get the body of hope, not just the head of hope. But I was really trying to get the body of what, what does hope mean to me, because for many, many years, hope didn't really mean much. As you may have heard people say, you know, hope is not a strategy. And I went along with that. This thinking for many, many years. The real change change for me came when particularly I've always been a hopeful person. Personally, I've always been a glassful person. But when I came to Crestwood customer it is a psychiatric rehabilitation model, rather than a medical model. And what that means is they focus on hope, rather than technology. And that hope is very, very much built on a series of strategies and resiliency, that I really had never taken into consideration. Now the first one, of course, is mindfulness.
Wendy Hanson 4:47
Yeah. Tell us a little bit more for the listeners about, you know, being in a facility like Crestwood. You know, treating folks with psychiatric and it's a huge organization with just Read out all over California, they do so many good things. Tell us about the difference between the medical model and a rehabilitation model.
Dr. George Woods 5:08
The medical model, which I was trained in, and most doctors are, is, what's your pathology? Right? What's wrong with you? The psychosocial rehab model is, where is your health? Where is your strength? Not to contend that does not mean that you don't live and make sure that you understand the other aspects of someone. But you're really looking for those things that can make a person move ahead, and can be their best. And it really, yes, we are large, we're 30 facilities, we serve 7000 people and 3000 staff. And we serve those that many would think are the most seriously mentally ill. And yet, we have become very successful in our model, and our model is built on.
Wendy Hanson 6:18
Yeah, I love guts, I can so resonate, and you know so much about BetterManager, and our coaching with looking for people's strengths. You know, so many people and companies look at people's weaknesses or challenges and try to fix them, instead of trying to look at their strengths and grow them.
Dr. George Woods 6:38
Exactly right. Exactly. Right. And, and the growth, often reframe the weaknesses, we have to, we have to acknowledge how little we know about human nature, right. And to be able to really understand human nature, it's important to put out too to look at what people are trying to give you. And they're often trying to give you their strengths. And when you when you take those strengths into consideration, and work with them, you get a chance to really see how they may handle their weaknesses. And, and really learn how to help them in those areas as well.
Wendy Hanson 7:27
Also, George, when I think about hope, I often think about holding a vision, because if you're going to have hope, you have to know what you're hoping for.
Dr. George Woods 7:37
Exactly right. Exactly. Right. Right, right. And you have to be able to what you are hoping for may be something that you're building, you know, my first and this is before I went into the dark hole of hope is not a strategy. My address in in my undergraduate and graduate education was in Utah. And obviously, I had extraordinary experiences with the Mormon Church, in Salt Lake City. And one of them that I will never forget, is the concept of a Hope House. And I don't know if you and I've ever talked about this, but the early Mormon pioneers built what they called Hope houses. And what that meant was that they would gather the family and neighbors together, and they would dig a basement. And right around this time of year, the basement would be getting complete. And they would find a tarp or whatever they could to cover that basement and the family would stay in that basement during the during the winter. And then when the spring came, they would start building the next layer of the next level of the house. And they would build that level of the house. And that next winter, they would just stay in the basement of that next level. And then the next day they build the next level of the house. And it was an image that has stuck with me. And really, to be honest with you, in difficult times, has really made me believe in in hope. Because if the other part of hope, which is resilience. You can't always know where you're going. But you can believe that you're going to get there if you have a plan.
Wendy Hanson 9:42
Yeah, I have never heard that story, George and it is just incredible. And it speaks to me also about you know, you take things one step at a time. Exactly.
Dr. George Woods 9:54
Yeah. You know, and I think the first step that most businesses don't take into consideration, and I certainly learned it. At Crestwood was the that the rule of mindfulness and health. Crestwood starts every meeting, and we probably have 10s, if not hundreds of meetings today with a mindfulness and when I first came to Crestwood I wasn't as mindful of mindfulness at that time. Then over time I look, number one, it well, financial rich, you know, find out. But then when I came to understand was the role of mindfulness, in vigilance, and focus, right. And in order to be helpful to be able to develop that strategy, you got to stop for a moment. Right, you got to kind of pull yourself together, you got to kind of think about it, you've got to be neurologically more intact. And mindfulness, as well as the many roles that mindfulness serve?
Wendy Hanson 11:16
And what can you tell me? What is that practice look like? In the beginning of the meeting, if people are listening and saying, Well, I'm intrigued, but I'm not sure exactly how I would do that at my company.
Dr. George Woods 11:27
Well, typically, one of the leaders of the meeting will either read mindfulness, or will do a mindfulness exercise, perhaps a grieving emphasize, or they may, what I've done is, you know, when is that I found useful, right, and play certain music, that you know, but you can do it in multiple different ways. You can read something, some people, there's a series of mindfulness exercises on the, on the internet. And people take those mindfulness exercises, and they may reason that there is a pattern in practice. It's really whatever you want to do, to try to be mindful in that moment. And so our administrators do it. We do it in our small groups. We do it with our clients, we do it. When I say hundreds of times a day, throughout the organization, I really mean that. And it's really, truly extraordinary. And I think it lends itself toward hope and rehabilitation.
Wendy Hanson 12:49
So they made a believer out of you. Yes, quickly. Well, one of the things I always appreciate about you is you're always willing to try something new, and never say no to it at first and then then be open and willing to the opportunity.
Dr. George Woods 13:06
Well, you know, when the I had always been on the fringes of it, you know, I believed it. Right. But I didn't understand it. And that's exactly what happened with Crestwood. I was obsessed with it 1982 to 1990. And their psychosocial rehab model, changed my approach to medicine. But I didn't understand that it was a psychosocial rehab model. Until I came back in 2021. I just thought it was a unique way of doing things. So once I saw a framework, and I think that's important for hope, right, like you say, you just don't hope you don't I mean, you know, you really put your ideas together and your strategies and, you know, every company has to pivot. Every company has to grow. And if you don't add hope, to your growth strategy, what, what are you doing?
Wendy Hanson 14:12
And, and for our listeners to understand that they're always looking for, like, what's the facts behind this, you know, from and we don't know, a lot, as you said about human nature, but from a neuroscience perspective, how is our brain impacted by feeling hopeful?
Dr. George Woods 14:31
Well, well, our brain creates help, and it keeps asking for help. And if we don't get it, we lose something. There's a there's a part of our neurological functioning called executive functioning. And it is constantly looking for help. It's looking for social cues. It's looking for context. It's looking forward A big picture, our right parietal lobe, the right side of our brain is looking at what's the big picture? What's the story here that I'm, that I'm trying to understand. And so it's always trying to pick up those social cues that understand context, so that it can provide resilience. You know, many people talk about what the brain is really about. And obviously, there isn't just one thing. But if I would give you what I believe the brain is all about, it's about resilience. It's about being able to continue to go forward. It's about being able to take an issue, you know, as the old Timex, Timex watches, take it to clicking and keep on ticking, right? Because that's what we have to do in life. And it's that resilience, the idea of resilience is based on hope.
Wendy Hanson 16:04
Yeah, the idea of resilience is based on hope. So we need to have a long with having some concrete things in strategy, we need to have hope. And then we need to have a bit of a vision of what we're being hopeful towards, or for That's exactly
Dr. George Woods 16:21
right. And that vision doesn't have to be complete. Right? It just is efficient that we can continue. Because if we can't continue, we will, we will put together the thing and particularly business, you know, like I said, You're right now, these are very difficult business times. And, you know, in many ways, we've got issues with the stock market here in California. If you are a commercial realtor, you know, you are, you know, hopeful that things are going to turn around, right. And so, hope is that first step, is that faceless? Your plan? Yeah.
Wendy Hanson 17:07
And and using the story that you told about the Mormons, if Hope is the basement of the plan, then you take that as your foundation, and then you keep building on it. Exactly. Right. I love that.
Dr. George Woods 17:19
Yeah. And what else you do that is important about that story? Is that you collaborate? Yes. Right. Yes. Right. Collaboration is such an important part of how to have other people that believe in your vision that believe in you, that can continue to encourage you to move forward and do best. So, you know, cope is really much more a concrete factor that some abstract kind of pollyannish Oh, I wish it were, you know, that's not really for copious, you know, hope is really the theme that underpins your strategy and your ability to go forward. Otherwise, you wouldn't go forward.
Wendy Hanson 18:10
Right. Now, we've been we talked a little bit about Crestwood, you know, in the medical versus the rehabilitation model. When we take those and put them over onto business. Sometimes business seems to be stuck in one model, and needs to move to the other. Tell me a little bit about that. Because one of the wonderful things about you is that you have you have such an unbelievable medical background, when people are listening to your bio, yet you've taken that and integrated so much of that into business. So that it's it's kind of the best of both worlds. So tell me about business in the medical model and rehab model that you see in business from as we say it BetterManager Sitting on the balcony, here.
Dr. George Woods 18:55
Well, let me let me first of all, give you just a bit of history. You know, I the first time that I was accepted to medical school, I never thought I was going to go, never planned on going was a psychology major. And the first time that I was accepted to medical school, I turned it down and became a salesman for IBM. And I sold computers for IBM. And it was actually my IBM manager that convinced me to go to medical school. And so now 40 years later or more, I have this. I have this talked about here and the title of it is everything I learned about medicine, I learned to sail school. And it's absolutely true. I mean, you know, I really learned how to work with people. I learned how to have Oh saying no. Right, I learned how to ask, or what, you know, all of those things came from IBM sales school, which to this day is one of my best education, you know, rather than, rather than anything I learned in medical school. But more than anything, I think, with Crestwood, it allowed me to move away, as I said earlier, from that typology model, which is not a building model, to the psychosocial rehab model, which is a building model, and you build businesses, right, you have to understand the kind of business that you want, that you're moving toward, you have to pull in the proper, you have to assess it, you have to assess your risk in that business, you have to assess your benefit in that business. And then you have to start to pull together the pieces of that business, you have to pull together your sales force, you have to pull together the finance, you have to pull together your technology today, you'd have to pull together, their education and all of those have to collaborate and work together for a common goal. And it is that collaboration, that is often very, very difficult. It's very interesting, I was watching last night, I show on the development of the automobile industry in the United States. And how Henry Ford was such a rigid person, that even though he developed a model T and so 15 million of him, Chrysler, and GM, Alfred Sloan and GM and route Chrysler, over time, were able to overtake him, because they were innovative. Right, that they knew that they that people wanted colors, you know what I mean? They looked at the the market. And it really is that transition from pathology, just looking at, okay, you need to, you need to fix this medical illness, to know, you really want to run a half marathon, you want to, you know, spend time with your kids, you know, what I mean, and your grandkids moving to that help, that really, I think is important is a business motivation as well. And so when I consult with companies, you know, I really try to have them look at and, you know, really, this is what you are just so amazing at, you know, look at the healthy part, what you're doing, doing good and doing well component of what you're doing.
Wendy Hanson 22:58
And I love how you speak about collaboration, because I you know, we all have blind spots, right? So when we try to do things, and we just have hope, all by ourselves, there are things that we're going to be missing. And so the need in companies. And you know, I noticed this all the time, that, that when we try to go so fast, we often don't take the time to pull others in. Because people are saying, I'm so busy at meetings, I have too many meetings, but we need to figure out better ways to do that. So that we have hope we can have strategy. And we can collaborate with many different thoughts and ideas
Dr. George Woods 23:38
and, and have the time to take them in. habits. I mean, to me, that's sort of mindfulness really caught, right. Because mindfulness makes me several times a day, stop. And listen, makes me focus. And I've learned how to focus now and stop and listen to what someone is really saying. And that's a really difficult, I mean, it's one thing to be in a meeting, it's really much, much different thing to attend to what's going on in the meeting. Ah,
Wendy Hanson 24:19
that's brilliant, because many people are in meetings, and we know that their mind is not in that meeting, even having one on one conversations. We know that their mind is not there. Yes. So really attend to the meeting. And and you need when we have meetings back to back. You don't have time for that reflection piece you're talking about
Dr. George Woods 24:38
your right. And you know, in Crestwood, for example, I am learning something every day. It's a big company. There are lots of things that I don't know. They there are lots of Well, there are lots of regulatory things that are new to me. And if I stay in my silo into is kind of, you know, typing or something while someone is talking, I'm missing some very, very important learning material. And to me, that's what companies are really built up, you know, you mentioned earlier about the need to move quickly. And I do, I think that's true, we, you know, we do want a company to grow, and we do want it to develop. Yet sometimes I think we don't understand the evolution of the company. Like, we don't understand really the organic evolution of the company, how, what do we need to progress, part of hope, is really understanding, you know, what do we need to grow? How do we, what do we need to evolve, companies evolve, and a new startup is in a much, much different situation than Mom and Pop has become a very large company. And may may be to evolve a different way.
Wendy Hanson 26:06
Yeah. Wow. It is true. And, and that evolution that has to happen, needs to be guided. And, and, you know, it's, you have an opportunity, I was just talking with somebody who is a very senior manager, sales manager at a company, and I've known him for years, and he's going to a new company, as the, you know, the vice president of sales. And it's like, how do you go into something like that, because you haven't been there through the evolution. And, and, and really, listen, attend and listen and get the nuance behind what's happening. When when you're there, so that you don't come in with your own ideas, but you come in listening, you come in yearning to have curiosity about things, and then you're able to add some value after a while. And that's the same thing we need to do in our conversations with each other within a company. Right?
Dr. George Woods 27:04
Right. A very good friend of mine, who's just a brilliant, brilliant businessman, and really a wonderful person said to me, why she says, you know, the essence of a CEO is curiosity. If they are curious, they can never run a company. Because you need to know how things work, you need to know what's going on, you need to you need to want to learn. But and, and I will tell you, the lack of hope, will kill curiosity, because it will kill future thinking, hope is future thinking. You always want your company to be a future thinking company. But once you are stuck in, unfortunately, and I'm not going to get on my high horse here, but unfortunately, at times the medical model can get you stuck in a way of doing things that doesn't maintain that curiosity.
Wendy Hanson 28:23
Yeah. Or give a patient hope,
Dr. George Woods 28:26
or, or give a patient hope. Yeah.
Wendy Hanson 28:30
So George, what are three things that concepts are something we talked about today that you absolutely want people to take away today as they leave this conversation? Well, I
Dr. George Woods 28:43
want them to take away the whole the whole house. Yep. Because I think that's a wonderful concrete example of building your dreams. Not just wishing for them, but actually building your dream. I'd love for them to take away the idea of mindfulness as a tool to focus and attend. And I'd like with every take away the idea of health versus pathology, that we are always moving and trying to move towards health to not move towards topology. We're always trying to get better. We may be reframing, but getting better means but that's really what we want. And that's why I love the name BetterManager because you can always get better,
Wendy Hanson 29:50
right? Everyone always has an opportunity to be a better manager, you know and leader, but you have to, you have to strive for that. You have to collaborate with people to be able to get there. That's right. Yeah. You can't do it on your own. Right. Well, George, I am very hopeful for so many things. Always when I talk to you about, even though these feel like dire times, we need to have hope.
Dr. George Woods 30:19
We do we do. And I think I think we are in the struggle. If my mother used to say that darkest times come before the light. Yeah. And I think I think she was right.
Wendy Hanson 30:37
For that is a hopeful statement that the darkest time comes before the light. That's exactly how you think. And that's, that's why talking to you and sharing your wisdom is such a gift to everybody the darkest time so everybody needs to remember that. That is really what hope is about the darkest time comes. It follows. It follows by the light. Yes. So good. Well, thank you so much, and always a pleasure to talk to you and and everyone. In the show notes, you'll find you can reach out to Dr. Woods on LinkedIn. And then also because of his wonderful position as Chief Scientific Officer at Crestwood. Behavioral Health, we're going to post the website on there, and anything else that you want people to know? No. Okay, well, thank you all so much for listening. Take this information and make a difference in your organization. Don't lose hope. Make sure that hope is part of your strategy as you move forward. Because there will be your brain will reflect the positivity of hope and being able to have a vision out there. So thank you all and have a wonderful day.