3-step model for positive change, innovation

Michael Levin, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker, encouraged Pinnacle EMS attendees to embrace an entrepreneurial workplace that creates powerful positive change


Michael Levin, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, presented the keynote speech at the Pinnacle EMS conference. 
Michael Levin, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, presented the keynote speech at the Pinnacle EMS conference. 

MARCO ISLAND, Fla. — Michael Levin, entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, shared a three-step model for creating powerful positive change in any organization to attendees at the Pinnacle EMS conference. Levin, drawing on his experiences in managing and starting several businesses, believes that change can only succeed when everyone is given a voice to suggest solutions and have ownership in testing and adapting changes.

Levin advocates for an entrepreneurial workplace, even in EMS. His leadership philosophy is based on four pillars:

  1. Guidance
  2. Mentorship
  3. Sponsorship
  4. Support

Those pillars have helped him connect with and engage employees to get their recommendations for fixing problems and coming up with innovative solutions. He compared the act of unlocking solutions to challenging problems to lyrics from his favorite Eagles song, “Already gone.”

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key

Memorable quotes on managing change and growth

Here are memorable quotes from Levin’s presentation to Pinnacle attendees.

  • “We see what we are used to seeing. We see what we expect to see.”
  • “Going through change is like going through a grieving process. I believe change doesn’t have to feel that way.”
  • “I don’t know how to get people to embrace change by shoving it down their throats. The number one key is giving your people a voice.”
  • “It’s amazing what people will do when they are motivated and they are given a voice.” 

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Top takeaways

Change is the thing that everyone wants until it happens to them or around them. Change, especially when it is forced on us, is stressful. Levin described the Kubler-Ross change curve, which is strikingly similar to the Kubler-Ross five stages of grieving. Levin believes his model brings people into the change process and results in solutions in which they have buy-in and a desire to see change through to implementation and success. Here are four takeaways from Levin’s three-step model for change.

1. Give everyone a voice. From focus groups, to employee engagement surveys, to 1-on-1 meetings, EMS providers need to have an opportunity to participate in making decisions and leading the organization. Brainstorm ideas with field providers. “Those closest to the situation really know how to fix things,” Levin said.

2. Involve as many as possible in the change. Levin called on EMS leaders to get as many people involved in implementing change. Change, handed down from the top, is often doomed to failure, but changing the culture that gets everyone involved is more likely to succeed.

3. Make fixing the problem the final step. Too many solutions to increase revenue, decrease expenses or fine-tune the operation come from the leader first saying, “here’s what we should do.” Levin’s model makes stating and implementing the fix the final step. “Start change with giving people a voice, not the fix,” Levin said.

4. Self-care matters for leaders. Levin also discussed his experience as an EMS patient nearly two decades ago. He shared his vivid memories of experiencing heat stroke and the EMT who took care of him. “I remember how he made me feel,” Levin said. “I was the most important thing to him.”

Levin endured a potentially career-ending experience with panic and stress that manifested in a variety of physical ailments that at first seemed unrelated. He detailed his personal experience with sweat and how it connected to his mental health in the book, “Let them see you sweat: Lessons I’ve learned on my personal journey with stress.”

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Additional resources

Learn more about change management and employee engagement with these resources:

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