Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Your Delivery, Though

You're smart, successful, and have a whole bunch of authority. You've arrived. It's your time, and you are going to make sure you prove to everyone that you deserve to be in your job.

...and right now...this one of the riskiest of your career...

Slow Down
One of the pitfalls new leaders face is their own enthusiasm. They are so fired up to make an impact (good thing) that they don't invest the time to learn the culture, skills of the team, and organizational norms before they roar down their own path (very bad thing.)

The challenge can quickly move past simple enthusiasm and impatience to losing credibility if not addressed in a timely manner. So, while the new leader's style can transition from a positive to a negative, it is also incumbent on the other members of the leadership team to support the new leader with the appropriate coaching right from the start.

Listening Is Not Optional
If only life was as easy as I described above. An over zealous leader, some timely coaching, and all is right with the world.

However, sometimes very talented and driven professionals need extra support. This does not mean they are a bad fit for your organization; or that they can not recover from a few well-intended stumbles.

It does require direct and sustained feedback (think --> bordering on confrontational) to ensure the message gets through.

Again, most leaders want to do a great job. They want to add value. 

But some struggle to understand that the leadership style that may have served them well in the past no longer applies in their new organization.

Instead of considering their approach as a failure, the real opportunity is to leverage their skills to pivot, embrace the new culture, and channel their expertise and energy in full alignment with their new team.

How About You
Who do you know that is fired up, but could use a helping hand to complete their transition to their new role? It is easy to criticize, but the real professional inside each of us needs to provide the help our cultures would indicate should come automatically, right?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Leader's Interview Guide (because you're horrible at it)

I hate to break this to you, but candidates no longer need you. They don’t need to feel lucky to land a job at your organizaiton. You’re not doing them any favors, and they certainly don’t need to grovel all over your office being thankful.

You need them.
They have all the power.

…and you could not be more ill-prepared to compete for them than you are right now.

Vacancies are the Worst
Consider the pressure you face every day:
- overtime
- staff morale
- turnover
- budget performance
- vacancies
- employee behavior
- regulatory constraints

The candidates do not need you…you need them.

Three Focus Areas
You can prepare yourself to interview effectively in many ways; however the three areas below should be considered mandatory if you are hoping to compete in the market today.

a) Your Digital Presentation
- they will search you online…100% of the time
- Linkedin (if your profile is lame, assume they think you are too)
- google yourself to learn how invisible you really are

Have you invested a few minutes to ensure you appear to be paying attention to our digital world? If not, you already look old and stale (regardless of how many candles will be on your cake the next time your birthday rolls around.)

b) Your Real Life presentation
- energy
- passion
- direct, well prepared questions
- humor
- listen to them

Have you invested the time to focus, removed the onslaught of noise from your mind, and committed to focusing exclusively on the person you’ll be interviewing? If not, you will come across just like every other hiring leader in the universe...distracted and arrogant.

c) Your Attitude
- don’t judge in the first five minutes
- be clear about your expectations
- be direct

Have you allowed yourself to have an open mind, and to consider that someone who doesn’t instantly fit into your clone-like vision of your team might actually add a diverse and fresh perspective? If not, it’s time to end the interview before it starts and head to your next recurring management meeting and vent about your circumstances.

How About You
Are you ready for 'your" next interview? Your candidates will be. In fact, they have done more research about you, than you have about them. 

What will they find? Anything at all?


How will you present yourself? How will you follow up after? Do you send thank you notes to candidates for coming in; or, should they leave feeling thankful for the opportunity to be in your presence?

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bleeding Orange

Why do some people stay with their organizations for years, and others seem to bounce from place to place? Do some companies have a secret that magically plays out inside their walls? Or, do they simply market their culture so effectively that despite their normal challenges they continue to attract top talent?

I've worked in organizations that were good places, and I've worked in organizations that I left because they were obsessed with earnings and didn't care about patient, physician or employee engagement.

I felt like I was bleeding all over the place...yet my passion and enthusiasm for my work didn't mean a thing. It was a sad place to be, and ultimately it required a resignation and fresh start.

In those companies...bleeding was bad.

I now find myself at a point in my career where I am again bleeding all over the place. My energy, passion and commitment are very different this time though. So, what has changed?

Are the people better? 
- No, but something feels different when we work together.

Is the work dramatically different? 
- No, but something feels different when we do our work.

Is the culture really that different from other companies?


We aren't obsessed with organizational charts. We don't wonder who is talking to who about who after every meeting. We search for ways to recognize each other. 

We ask each other to offer suggestions. We take risks and try new things. We bake our employment assessment tool into every day life. Yes we do. Every. Day. Life.

Are we perfect? Thankfully, no.

We think differently. We act differently. We "get it" here...when most other companies just don't.

How About You
This is a week to be thankful for many things. I've never felt this much support in my life. I've never felt this much energy with a team as I do now. It's flat out awesome.

What color do you bleed?

We bleed orange.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Your "Vision" Is Blinding You

One of the leadership traits I find most impressive is the ability to adapt and change. In politics you are vilified if you ever change your mind. It’s as if you’ve committed blasphemy!

In the real world however, a leader’s ability to see beyond the blinders of their passion, plans, and vision to see what they didn’t see previously is something special...

…and rare.

Keep Pushing
A quick example to illustrate my point. I’ve worked with many talented leaders over the years, and one of the most difficult barriers they’ve had to face is their own beliefs. One executive in particular was a huge boost of energy to the Nursing team. Her energy, commitment, and drive were exactly what the hospital needed.

Unfortunately, when it was time for her to adjust her approach based on a variety of political pressures (not the bad kind) she was unable to change. Her “vision” for what should be done blocked her ability to see what “needed” to be done.

Push and Pivot
The opposite, of course, is when humility, self-awareness, and classic big-picture thinking manifest themselves in real time. Another of my original HR mentors, who was my boss at the time, was involved in a rollout of a new organizational policy.

The first round of meetings did not go well; but instead of shaking his head and lamenting that “employees just don’t understand that hard decisions have to be made” - he immediately called his team into his office to discuss the unintended (and missed) consequences of the policy.

We changed it.
On the spot.

How About You
Do you talk about your vision for your team, department, or organization? If so, that is fabulous, so many leaders can’t even articulate one! Just make sure that your strength does not become your weakness too.

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Going Social Transformed My #HealthcareHR Career

I didn't get into social media tools because I thought they were cool. Quite honestly, it was out of desperation. My hospital at the time had far too many vacant positions, and the traditional #HealthcareHR tactics simply failed.

Just as they still do today.

Bold Leaders Are the Only Leaders
I literally had to make a bold move or risk compromising the quality of care provided to the patients at my hospital. That was the way I looked at it. I may not have been a direct care giver, but HR plays a vital role in the patient care process. If someone tries to tell you something different, fire them.

That's right. For those HR leaders that still believe they can use approaches from ten years ago and actually make a dent in the challenges they face, they are kidding themselves...

...and are losing the respect of their "team" (if they still actually have a team.)

The Truth Hurts
Am I being critical today? Actually, no. I'm begging you to lift your head up from the comfort of your policy manual and the noise from your over-priced ad agency and make a change.

Change yourself. Change your HR culture. Change your organization for the better.

How About You
You have the radically transform your company. Yes, you. Start by allowing yourself the freedom to explore and learn new tools. Release yourself of the burden of anything traditional, and embrace growth, performance and success.

You can do it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tomb With A View

I spent many years as a traditional guy in conservative corporate environments. I thought that was supposed to be my path. It did allow me to provide for my family, discover a career path and industry that I fell in love with; and, helped me ultimately learn that I could be much more.

So Many Trapped
As I've gone through such a profound (and candidly, exciting as all hell) transition to my new life professionally, I can't help but reflect back on so many friends and colleagues who are still trapped.

So many talented people begin their careers with enthusiasm, get promoted, and then...somehow...found themselves at a minimum dissatisfied, and at worst completely miserable.

In effect, they are in a career tomb with a view.

A view of their success.
A view of their corporate cage.
A view of the possibilities on the outside through floor to ceiling windows.

Resurrection Day
For the last (nearly) two years I have experienced something very different from the first half of my professional life. As the world has changed and companies needs have changed, our ability as experienced professionals creates new opportunities. 

Although taking a big step out of the corporate suite is scary; for me, it quickly became clear that the world of "critical meetings" and "huge issues" were more often than not simply internal noise.

Don't let the culture inside your organization define your entire world view. There is so much more...the opportunities are endless...and for those that have committed to being a contemporary leader, nothing can stop you.

How About You
Maybe it's time that you seriously considered whether or not that "view" is worth it. Do your research, make sure you are current in the world of work and in your industry...

...and go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Thank You Letter to Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

Today marks the end of one of the most embarrassing times in the history of our country. As I've reflected on the last year, I realized that I needed to thank you both for a whole bunch of things. 

Thank you for...

- teaching me that every single person has value

- showing me how to care for those that are less fortunate than us

- demonstrating what it means to respectfully disagree with someone 

- caring enough to let me make mistakes without shaming me

- incorporating a loving way into how you treated me and my sister

- welcoming people into our home who had struggled in wars, were damaged, and had strong opinions that did not match ours, so I could l appreciate all people

- discussing important issues, including the "other side's point of view" so I could learn 

- making sure I didn't treat people unfairly, regardless of my position

- coaching me when I got too full of myself

- teaching me to be an effective parent so my children could grow up to make their own choices

- helping me learn the power of listening

- teaching me to be an advocate for those who don't have a voice

- to have the confidence necessary to stand up to hatred when it is a lonely place to be

You both have give me so much...I can only hope that I do half as well passing on these values to my amazing kids.

Love you,


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Retention Is A Leadership Problem

I've heard the excuses for years...literally. Leaders complaining about everything under the sun that is negatively impacting their departments. It is rarely their inaction or overinflated ego that is to blame; but instead, is an unfair productivity standard, a poor candidate pool, budget pressure, unreasonable physicians, and on and on...

I've also had the pleasure to work with some gifted leaders who chose to not let the excuses get in the way of their connection to their teams. They accepted the fact that leadership is hard, and took a path focused on relationships and trust, instead of blame and excuses.

Some leaders are uncomfortable in groups. (excuse)
Some leaders don't have an outgoing personality. (excuse)
Some leaders have great ideas but struggle delivering the message. (excuse)

The most effective leaders don't hide behind these issues, instead they make themselves vulnerable.

That's right. Vulnerable leaders. I know, it's a counterintuitive approach as compared to the massive ego trip many leaders embrace in an almost drunken stupor. 

Instead of the stupor, I recommend focusing on these five behaviors:
- be present
- be visible
- be compassionate
- be humble
- be real

These aren't nearly as hard as you think. 

You are your biggest barrier at this point.

How About You
Who are the leaders in your organization that can name every problem across the company yet refuse to see their role in those problems? Maybe today is the day you pull them aside and have a good old fashioned blunt force trauma type conversation with them.

Let me know how it goes.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

That Time I Didn't Speak Up

Ah, if it were only one time. Maybe then I wouldn't feel bad...or, at least not as bad. But over the years I've had multiple examples of staying quiet.

Sometimes it was an executive far senior to me. I couldn't challenge them, right?

Sometimes it was my colleagues, and I guess I wanted to somehow fit in. Did my silence achieve that goal?

Sometimes it was a family friend. Although they never stayed friends once I finally got in their face.

Sometimes it was a classmate, and I'm sure I didn't want to be targeted since I was part of the "in crowd."

Every Time
Things are different now. I don't worry about losing friends any longer. When the crude jokes, sexist comments, bigotry or hate rises up, it's open season on them. The reality is that those people are showing their true colors and don't deserve my friendship...or even a connection.

So I'm at a point in my life (and have been for some time) for those that choose to be mean, should expect to be called out publicly. I don't care if it hurts their feelings. I don't care it if makes a situation very awkward. I don't care if it is not politically safe to do so. I don't care what they think of me.

The people I work with are watching me. The organizations I serve are watching me. My children are watching me. I don't plan on disappointing any of them.

How About You
When the sinister elements in our world show themselves, what do you do? Is it a personal affront to you and your legacy; or, is it "just their personality" and you've learned to live with it?

Remember who's watching.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.