It was a single sour note in an otherwise well produced musical. The final day of the AASCIF conference, during the opening notes, they announced that a number of people had been selected in a drawing to receive backstage passes to that evenings closing gala. The lucky winners would get a “meet and greet” with the headliners of the event, the iconic Beach Boys. How the people were selected was not really disclosed; all we were told is that we needed to stop by the registration desk to see if we were a winner.

Now, lets think about that a moment. There were likely about 200 registered attendees at this conference. AASCIF is a prime family event, so the accompanying guest count probably pushed the total number of registered attendees and guests to over 400. At best, 20 or 30 people were selected to participate in this meet and greet. We weren’t being told to check at the desk to see if we were a winner. Statistically they were instructing 95% of their attendees to check at the desk to confirm that they were a loser.

I enjoyed the Beach Boys growing up, but am not a die hard fan. I do not own any of their albums. Still, I found myself hustling to the registration desk as instructed to collect my major award. I asked the woman at the counter if I had been selected for a backstage pass. She looked at my name tag, said “Robert Wilson?”, looked down a short list of names and without even looking back at me, curtly said, “No.”

I am not sure, but I think I heard the sliding trombone sound from the game show “The Price is Right”, as if I had just priced a package of Pringles Potato Chips at $32. It was followed by the sound of (now retired) host Bob Barker telling me, “I’m sorry, you overpriced, but thanks for playing. Now be kind to animals and get the hell off my stage”.

I write about this, well, because I can. More importantly, I write about things I like at conferences. It is only fair that I opine on things that were not done well, or were poorly conceived.

There are two things they could have done that would have improved this process. First, they should have announced the drawing that morning and immediately announced the winners to those in attendance. That would have kept the focus entirely on the positive, and we could have celebrated with the winners, instead of being singled out one by one as losers. A more suspicious person might speculate that they didn’t want to publicly disclose the winners, particularly if the selection process was anything less than random. But an even more suspicious person would recognize, if that were the case, they likely wouldn’t have announced a drawing at all, instead giving the passes to whomever they please. Those suspicious people have too much time on their hands.

Not me; I am far too busy to entertain such foolish notions.

The second thing they could have done to improve the outcome, of course, is called my name. If they had done that, everyone could have then celebrated my major award with me. That would have made this a 5 star event, indeed (not to mention completely change the tone of this article).

We all at times miss opportunities by focusing on the negative, when concentrating on the positive would accomplish the same task in a much more pleasant fashion. Sometimes the negative is easily assumed, and does not require explanation. In those situations it certainly makes sense to “accentuate the positive”. You might not eliminate the negative, but you may certainly soften the blow.

This is important, particularly since we in workers’ comp tend to deal in a great amount of negative information. After all, no one calls us to action until there is injury, pain and economic disruption. Still, a focus on the positive wherever possible would not be a bad thing. It is largely why I keep harping about shifting the industry focus to one of Recovery Management.

Accentuate the positive. After all, positive plays, while negative pays. Especially when you are a giant AASCIFFER who becomes a backstage pass loser.

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