Wednesday, July 18, 2018

It's Time to Suffer

"I'm not good enough."

"I'm not going to get that new job."

"I really messed up that relationship."

"It's my own fault...I just can't handle all this pressure."

"I'll never have an opportunity to get ahead here."

Our Mind: Friend or Foe?
The often discussed - and even more frequently "heard" - minds of ours can be so powerful that we sometimes get lost, literally, in them.

I try to use my self-talk machine to help me stay positive, fired up for each new day, and to keep moving forward. I'm obsessed with constant motion.

However, that does not mean that those voices in my head don't do their best to derail me and turn me into a quivering mass of jello.

Self-talk is powerful. 

No, We Aren't Supposed to Suffer
For some reason when we stumble, the thought comes into our heads that we must be punished. Why is that?

Guilt?

Sadness?
Resentment?
Disappointment?
Embarrassment?

It doesn't make any sense. Yet, I completely understand why someone might feel that way...because I have felt that way too.

What is it about "not being perfect every time" that makes us think we need to experience emotional pain or stress? 

Have we set such unrealistic expectations of ourselves that each mistake or wrong decision must be punished?

Whoa! That is a lot of pressure!


How About You
How do you handle setbacks or disappointments, particularly when you have contributed to them? 

Does your mind kick in to overdrive and begin the attack on...you; or, have you developed a way to sidestep that very human reaction, and follow a different path?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

The HR Clique

Whoa! Wait just a second...a clique for HR? Impossible...we love everybody, you know...the employees, people...and stuff. Right?

The Gig is Up
I may be venturing onto thin ice here, but it seems to me something has changed in the HR space as the world of social, blogging, and conference mania has hit full force. 

While some have passionately reached out to embrace other members of the HR community, particularly new professionals...something else has happened. 

A club, of sorts? A group of close friends? A public sub-culture that speaks to an elite group of HR pros?

I'm not sure...


Growing Pains of HR or Arrogance?
Some professions have to go through a period of discovery before they are fully accepted by the other, more traditional professions (law, medicine, finance, engineering, etc.)

Is that what HR is doing now? Perhaps all of our seat-at-the-table whining didn't pan out the way we hoped, so we've turned to something else?

Are we trying to be too hip? Too trendy? Too awesome for our own good?

I'm puzzled friends. What's even more puzzling is the role I've played in our "growing up" process.


How About You
What do you think about the current state of our profession? 

Is it one of inclusion for all of us; or, have we somehow created our own class of elites, that makes sure to remind the others of their proper place in the hierarchy?

I honestly don't know...but...


I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Absolutely Positive!

I write a lot about leaders striving to be better (including me!) Often those messages are embedded in real life examples of leadership failures (including me again!).

But here's the thing...so much of what happens around us...to us...and for us...is because of...

...us!

All In My Mind
I am often 'accused' of having such a positive outlook that I don't have a real grasp of reality. I LOVE THAT! So what it is that has made the Jay-Filter so effective despite problems, stress, mistakes, pressure, even bigger mistakes, and failure?

Every corporate setting I've been exposed to (large or small) comes with a dose of the aforementioned challenges. Dwelling on those problems, for some, is a competency they have perfected after years of practice.

I don't love that.

However, finding the opportunity in every problem that blows up in our face...seeing the potential...interpreting the chaos as a challenge to be world-class...is something that has made an enormous difference in my life, both personally and professionally.

Stop It
Have you practiced your negativity skill a bit too long? Is complaining about everything that is wrong with the world your comfort zone?

Why?


Does it make you feel better?
Does it improve the operations of your organization?
Does your team create amazing results because of the negative environment?


Um, no, no and no.


How About You
Life is full of negative things...that isn't going to change. What can change however is what you do about them. 

Get fired up!

Laugh off the madness, and charge ahead (even if you don't know what to do next)!

...and most of all...find the good each day! It's all around you!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rocking Chair Leadership

"I'm on it!"

"We're moving fast on this one!"

"The team is all over it!"

"Everyone is so busy working on this!"

I.
Don't.
Believe.
You.

Activity Does Not Equal Progress
How many leaders have you heard describing how 'busy' they are; or, their teams are? How many times did you hear those same updates week after week with no real progress to show for it?

That drives me crazy...

...particularly when I do it. 

Lots of Hustle (sort of)
Back when I coached youth hockey we had a player on the team who always looked like he was skating hard and trying to make an impact. He was really busy out there! 

However, he rarely made actual contact with an opposing player, never ventured into the corners, or God forbid, stood in front of the net to endure a cross-check or two.

I meet a lot of leaders like that player.

Their calendars are jam-packed. Their list of meetings is endless. Their Inbox is always full.

But nothing gets done. Ever.

How About You
Who on your team is that little hustling skater who never makes any big plays? 

They probably believe rocking back and forth all day in a rocking chair actually gets you somewhere!

Oh, and, why do we seem to continue to allow that lame leadership style to continue?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.
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Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rockstars Want to Work for Rockstars, So Build Your Personal Brand

Recently I had an opportunity to be a guest on Jeff Hyman's terrific podcast - Strong Suit! Jeff and I roared through the show so quickly I couldn't believe it ended so fast.

Here's the kickoff to the show...click the link below and give it a listen!

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STRONG SUIT - we only recruit rockstars

If you hope to have even a prayer of recruiting Rockstars, you'd better be one yourself. 

Because they simply won't consider working for someone they can't learn from, grow from, and one day replace (you, when you're promoted!)

So to do that, you need to communicate to candidates that they'll be working for a top performer...




...and as always...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Failure Is Not A Competency

Proclaiming one's failures seems to be a trendy thing to do these last few years. It's an odd thing though, at least it is to me.

I get the whole "learn from your mistakes" angle...but, really...relishing in one's failures?

Lower the Bar
I'll be honest here. I don't want to fail. In fact, I get upset with myself when I stumble, let alone fail. I'm sure you do too.

Maybe, we have embraced failure as way to limit expectations of ourselves and our colleagues?

Maybe we have socialized failure so heavily, it is now more important to "own it" when we fail vs. being held accountable?

Maybe we need to stop making excuses about weakness, incompetence, and yes, failure?

How does that sound?

Harsh or Honest?
If you've written off today's post as a rant, think again.

How is failure treated in your organization? Do those leaders who struggle continue to stay in their roles, all while your senior leadership team preaches accountability and upholding corporate values?

You can't have it both ways.

Maybe what's happened to the corporate world is that we're all so fearful of employment litigation, that we've made it okay to hide behind excuses to be weak and indecisive? We see it a lot...so...it must be true.

Right?

How About You
How are you addressing failure and driving accountability into your organization? Is it working? What has made your approach successful?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

#MeToo Is About Everyone

Anger is rampant. Accusations are rampant. Accountability is rampant. Men are running for cover, and women feel more empowered than ever before. 

It's embarrassing that in a country with as much potential as the United States, it's taken this long for these voices to be heard. It's also embarrassing that men continue to behave this way.

When we consider the racial and religious divide that has been reignited and supported over the last two years, it's a miracle that anyone dares speak out.

What Is Happening?
Has something fundamentally changed? Have centuries of abuse, harassment and a male dominated society finally started to crumble? Has the pendulum swung so far and so fast that no one is entirely sure what the 'new normal' looks like?

I don't have the answer.

But I do know one thing...


"We are not supposed to be afraid of each other."


I've heard that men are afraid to mentor women? 

What?

I've heard that men are not sure how to behave around women? 

What?

I've heard that women and men are being so cautious, that it is impacting how and when work actually gets done.

WHAT?!


The Missing Piece
Where is the leadership? Why isn't someone offering a balanced point of view? Why isn't someone demanding civil discourse on these complicated issues? Why are men running scared, when they should be standing up and making their voices heard in support of their colleagues, friends and family?

Where are the powerful male voices supporting #MeToo?

Mainstream media doesn't provide any leadership from the left or the right.

Political leaders who have the most influence are clearly falling short.

Many companies espouse "equality" and "value their employees" but I see precious little in writing, and even less 'action' from their leaders, taking a stand.

Who, then, is going to lead the way? Here's the answer...you and I are going to do it. 

We are going to have the difficult conversations. We are going to write in a calm, thought-provoking way to ensure opinions and ideas are heard. 

We are going to listen to each other. 

We are going to be role models for our children, our employees, and our leaders.

You and I are going to lead the way.

How About You
How do you feel about our world? Does your company's leadership team openly discuss these challenging issues? Is there a candid conversation occurring in your organization that sets an example for us all? What about you...how are you leading the way?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Standing In the Middle of a Time of Worry

Long title, I know. It's a line from a song that is pretty cool. But it speaks to something so pervasive in the workplace (and outside the workplace too.)

The weight of...everything.

So much to accomplish. 
So many projects. 
So many needs for the right talent doing the right things at the right time.

...and so much extra anxiety because we're always in CYA mode.

Friends, this is simply exhausting.

A New Way
I think a lot about pressure. The pressure that executive leadership brings. The pressure to deliver results for the companies that hire us. The pressure to grow my company. Oh, and also to stay on top of every facet of my personal life as well.

No big deal, right?

If we're constantly thinking about being the best we can be, and trying to follow the arcane school of thought that we should just "pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and handle everything alone" we're way off-base.

Life is not an individual journey.

So, what options do we have?



Finding Center
For me, it's been a long process. Finding my way back to a set of values and beliefs that provides a completely new sense of who am I, the power I have to make a difference, and the support that is all around me has been nothing short of profound.

It's been a return to my core values, if you will. A renewed sense of something larger than me, all around me, that fills me with peace and strength...confidence and optimism.

When you find that "center" in your life, it means that you...
- trust it
- value it
- believe in it
- have faith in it

...and thrive.

How About You
Have you lost your "center?" It's easy to do. With our frenetic pace, it's no wonder we lose sight of it from time to time. Perhaps today is good day to pause, reflect, and reconnect with what is most important?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Culture of Weakness

I've been blessed to serve in leadership roles for more than twenty years. When I started out, I looked up to, and sometimes laughed at, the 'older' leaders in my organization and how they behaved. (old at that time = 50 or older...which is now...me.)

I See You
I looked at them through two lenses. 

The first was as an admirer...they had years of success under their belt, and wisdom and insight to share with me. I was a sponge, and wanted to learn as much as I possibly could.

The second however, was not so kind. I often considered them out of touch with contemporary strategies, unable to keep up with the rapid pace of change, and their incredibly frustrating risk-averse approach to just about everything.

Has Anything Changed?
Tough question to answer, right? There are still amazing leaders out there who continue to push themselves, and their organizations forward. 

This is often done at significant risk to the bold leader!

There is also a seemingly endless supply of leaders who just aren't courageous enough to take a stand. Why is that still so prevalent? 

I was listening to Laurie Ruettimann's new podcast Let's Fix Work where she interviewed Jason Lauritsen about his views on the workplace... 


One of the most powerful moments in the show was when Jason said what most of us want to say...we just don't want to follow leaders who aren't worth following. 

Preach, brother!

The challenge then, is for us to not be viewed as weak and ineffective, focused only on protecting our status as executives. 

But rather, to be high impact leaders who connect with the entire team in meaningful ways, and have the courage to take risks, make bold decisions, and inspire those around us to stay with the organization and help it flourish.

How About You
What is the leadership culture in your organization? How are you reinforcing, or hopefully, disrupting that culture? What will it take for you to move one step forward towards a new reality?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Ruthlessly Eliminate Hurry

The pace. 

My pace...the hectic, busy, sometimes chaotic whirlwind of life can be a bit much at times. Easy to complain about, right? And also, easy to be thankful for in a world with so much pressure. 

Something More
Amidst the noise, deadlines, expectations and overloaded calendars is something else waiting for us. However, we often don't notice this opportunity because we're always "in a hurry."

When we find ourselves asking if all of this craziness is worth it, I wonder if we also ask how we might offer ourselves in a different way? 

That's right. I'm talking about exploring new ways to contribute.


Stop and Listen
Before we can understand how we might contribute beyond our "busy day full of responsibilities" we must first stop. Simply stop for a few moments, and listen. 

What is your heart calling you to do? 

Who has been whispering in your ear about making a change and adding value in ways you had not previously considered?

How will you eliminate the "hurry" in your life, so you can focus on the most important things? New things? Life-changing things?

How About You
Investing a few moments...or a few hours...to just stop and listen could have a profound effect on you, and those around you. 

Do you have the courage to even give it a try; or, will you quickly glance at your To Do List and hurry along to the next task?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Invisible Boundaries

Balance.
Crossing the line.
Setting expectations.
Role clarity.

Boundaries.

Work/Life Boundaries at Work
Okay, I need to say right away...I struggle with this. In my mind, I need to be available, on-call, and ready to jump into the action at any moment. That's what leaders do, right? 

We're available!

We've decided to forgo a large part of our personal life for the greater good of the organization!

We're role models of leadership effectiveness!

Well, I do love being all of those things...but I'm learning that I don't love being all of those things, all the time.


Boundaries at Home
Where is the balance point between committed leader, and committed person outside of work?

Where is that fine line that separates "dedicated" from hurtful intrusion? 

Is there a sign I should be looking for; or, perhaps that sign comes in the form of a tangled plan that is influenced by our work?

There is no easy answer. One of the thrills of leadership, for me, is the action and drama and sudden intensity that requires a savvy response as the "world" is getting all worked up. But when that world is always worked up it can begin to negatively impact our personal lives.


That's not good...for us as people, or as leaders.

How About You
How do you find the 'life balance' that integrates all of your responsibilities? Where do you draw the lines that ensure you don't give too much of yourself away?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Comfort Betrays

"I didn't see that coming."

"I'm not sure how that happened...everything was working so smoothly."

"What do you mean we're not on schedule?"

(Near) The Top of My Game
I have been unbelievably blessed in my career. I have grown as a professional, as a leader, and ultimately as an executive. Looking back it is clear the opportunities I've had, and the organizations I've worked for...and still do today...have been a #HealthcareHR guy's dream come true.

...and that is part of my struggle.

How many of us continue to push ourselves when things are going well as compared to when we are hungry for success? Is that even possible? Compare the boxing champion who is at the top of their sport with the #1 ranked challenger in the world who wants to take that title away so badly.

How does the champion keep the competitive fire burning?

What are the steps the champion builds into their routine to ensure sustained success?

You + Team
I don't believe there is a magic formula. There isn't a secret to success that is out of reach.

For me, it comes down to a simple plan:
- develop personal habits that drive success (document and repeat them each day)

- build an accountability team that isn't afraid to challenge you to improve

Software won't do it. The latest app won't do it. Listening to self-improvement "gurus" for hours and hours won't do it either.

You have to do it. Get focused. Develop the habits that work for you. Build the team you need. Get started.

...and sustain it.

How About You
Has success crept up on you, and now you have more at risk than ever before? 

This is not a crisis...this is a chance to maintain your competitive edge. This is how you're going to stay sharp, and effective, and continue to think bigger.

What's next for you?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The Grind

What do you think of when you hear the phrase "the grind?" Is it how you feel about your job? Is it the burden of life in general? Is it a faux commitment to fitness? 

I'm guessing you didn't feel good about it.

The Grind Can Fuel
If I were to answer those questions honestly, I would admit that sometimes I fall into the negativity trap associated with the grind. I hate that.

What happens most of the time however, is that the grind becomes fuel for me. It moves from another lame excuse about "how busy I am" and "that life is so hectic" and moves me to look at things differently.

Without the pressure of "the grind" I wouldn't take risks.

Without the need to deliver I wouldn't try new things.

Without the constantly changing business world, I would just be another boring leader who thinks talking about work versus actually having to deliver as an executive is "the grind."

The Grind Can Drain
There is a dark side to the grind...one that can overwhelm, exhaust, and wear us out. The biggest risk of this grind is that we believe it is permanent.

Let me say that again...the biggest risk is that we believe the negative grind is permanent.

It's not. Ever.

Work can be frustrating, so what?
Life can be frustrating, so what?

How About You
Important things are supposed to be difficult some of the time. 

That stress can be turned into energy to do things you never thought possible. That pressure can be focused on new ideas, new ways of thinking, and new ways to take you, and your organization to a new level of performance.

How are you going to embrace the grind today and make a difference in your world?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Friday, March 23, 2018

This Is Not the Edge of the World

The rollercoaster world of work is...

exhausting.
exhilarating.
maddening.
exciting.
frustrating.
rewarding.
the worst.
the best.

No matter what it is for you today, remember you're not living on the edge of your world. It's just the thrill of the ride. Hang on tight in good times and bad, and embrace every minute.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Developing Internal Blogging Teams

So, you've finally decided to execute on a robust employer brand strategy. Your career site is actually a real site, not just a job list, you're pushing content several times a week and distributing it across multiple dedicated HR social channels.

Well done!

But you're still missing out on a great recruitment, retention and recognition opportunity.

Our People...Our Most Important Asset
So many leaders talk about how important their people are, yet I rarely see those same "important" people writing about their experiences at work. 

We tell stories about them, that is a cornerstone of any good plan. However, when was the last time you saw the actual employees telling their own story?

It's not as risky as you might think

Plan...then Execute
There are several basic steps that will serve as the foundation of your internal blogging team structure.

1 - Identify several employees who have an interest in building their brand, supporting the organization, and aren't shy! Align the team members with your organizational needs (recruitment, expansion, growth.)

How do you find them? Ask!

2 - Meet with the employees and describe your goals, do's and don'ts, and reinforce that they are not uploading content, formatting, or publishing. HR handles all of those pieces. They simply need to send an email "post" to you each month.

How do I support them? Stay connected, meet for coffee, and talk through their challenges!

3 - Make sure your bloggers have up to date LinkedIn profiles, twitter accounts, and hopefully, Instagram accounts as well. If you're going to be a blogger...you need to be in the social media space!

How do I make sure this happens? Meet with them and get them set up on the spot!

How About You
I've had tremendous success using this strategy, and you can too! It doesn't matter if you're a blogger or not. The goal is to differentiate your organization from the competition. Additional benefits include helping you to create a culture that truly recognizes and showcases your employees! Now, what are you waiting for?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

I Saw, Today

I saw commitment today.

I saw dedication to patients.

I saw a team completely focused on a goal.

I saw preparation.

I saw real-time accountability.
I saw transparency.
I saw energy.

I saw follow through.

I saw transparency.

I saw communication.

I saw passion.

I saw priorities.

I saw teamwork.

I saw action.

I saw results.

How About You
What did you see today?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Indefatigable

Persisting tirelessly.

I love the word indefatigable. I want to be that...every day...in everything I do. It is a word that needs to become part of who I am as a father, partner, friend, leader and person.

I want to, somehow, be everything. Is that even possible? My rational mind says absolutely not. But right now, I don't care. I want to think bigger than I ever have before. I want to believe that I can push myself...enjoy every step of the journey...

...and be everything



Foolish Path
The practical voice in my head says I'll wear myself out, or I'll get too stressed, or I'll not be able to keep up with my growing list of responsibilities.

But, since when has a "practical voice" ever led to a breakthrough life? I'll tell you when...

Never.

"Is wanting to explore a new awareness of my world...the whole world...a bad thing? Is this actually a foolish path to follow; or, is it the path that each of us wishes we had the courage to pursue?"

New Path
I'm not entirely sure what this looks like. I'm not even sure I can pull it off. But why shouldn't I try? Why shouldn't I challenge the ingrained societal messages about going too hard in life? Why shouldn't I say I'm going to make up my own set of rules, and the world can deal with it?

That feels like the path for me.

I don't want to be just another #HealthcareHR leader.
I don't want to be just another consultant.
I don't want to be just another good guy.

I want to spend my life kicking ass in every way possible. 

How About You
How hard do you push? How much is too much? When do you challenge yourself to take your entire life, not just your career, to a whole new level?

Maybe today is the day to answer those questions?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

I Walked Alone Into a Fight

Community - a unified body of individuals

Team - a group of people with a full set of complimentary skills

Network - an association of individuals with common interests providing mutual assistance

Friends - one attached to another by affection or esteem

Colleagues - a fellow worker or professional

Family - all the descendants of a common ancestor

So Much, But...
We have lots of words that represent the resources available to us in life, and these resources come in various forms. 

Ranging from close family relationships, to our loosely defined networks (think 3rd level on LinkedIn) it would appear that we have an endless amount of support just waiting to be tapped when times get tough.

Untrue.

While we do have extensive connections across many places, platforms and people; we fail to appreciate one of the most obvious facts of our journeys. 

We ultimately travel alone.

Not Bad News...
Now before you click out of this post and move on, consider the following...

...there is a reason communities, teams, networks, friends, colleagues and families are in our lives

...there is a reason, that despite feeling alone, we actually are not alone at all

Are you with me?

When you feel the pressure of your corporate life dragging you down.
When you feel like your career has stalled.
When you feel like the personal stress and strain are too much to bear.
When you fee like it is all just...too much.

Remember that although we technically travel alone, we have been provided with an amazing group of fellow travelers to share our journey.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses. 

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inspiration