Monday, May 20, 2019

The Shortest Straw

Drawing the Shortest Straw: Chosen to do a task that nobody wants to do (read here --> leading Human Resources)

They Have No Idea
The unknown pressure of leading HR.

The toughest, most confrontational roles.

The most intense issues to address...investigations, harassment, discrimination.

Terminating others. It's not just getting rid of a 'problem'...you just stopped someone from earning money to provide for their family.

The pressure to 'fill the jobs' when we know the leaders bear just as much responsibility to create cultures where their team members feel valued and respected.

The demands to develop an effective team of leaders.

The responsibility to build a positive culture across the entire organization.

The necessity to not only understand HR, but to also fully understand the business, revenue streams, and expense management challenges.

The need to have a comprehensive and competitive compensation program.

The expectation that the organization will remain union-free.

Oh, yes, and make sure all of the parties are fun.



How About You
Did we pull the shortest leadership straw? 

Hell, no. 

We drew this straw because the others can not handle what we can handle.

Take pride in being a leader in HR. Take pride in being a leader in your organization.

Take pride every time you hear "I could never do your job." They're absolutely right. They never could.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Gotta Go

I've recently had the privilege to speak at several #DisruptHR events in Atlanta and Tampa. My talk focused on the potential for human resources leaders...and candidly, all leaders...to take risks, live their values, and lead with conviction.

That's what is most important, right?

HR Stuff Matters, But...
It's not that updating policy manuals, going to the Forms Committee meeting, and ensuring open enrollment goes smoothly aren't important. But, these things don't drive business results.

Living your values, and leading with conviction do.

When was the last time you led with your personal values first...and corporate double-talk last?

Take the Step
One of the things I found so encouraging during those DisruptHR events was the energy the attendees had to make changes. They are ready to move forward into new territory in their organizations. 

They are ready to go for it.

How About You
Are you ready to join them? What is on your list that seems impossible to execute, but with some support (from me!) and some courage (from you!) it can become a reality?

You gotta go for it!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Hear the Silence So Loud

I'm taking a different look at leadership today...in a very personal way. I am grateful to have such a supportive community to share my perspectives. Thank you friends.

----------------------------------

I am a proud member of Hyde Park United Methodist Church (an open, loving community of faith that welcomes every person) and lifelong member of the larger United Methodist Church (UMC.) My father spent his career as a Pastor in the UMC serving high profile large churches that made an impact in their communities. He was deeply committed to his faith, and I am forever grateful that the passion he and my Mother shared for Jesus was instilled in my sister and me.

Earlier this year, as many of you are aware, the larger UMC held a special session of General Conference to decide if we as a denomination were going to be an inclusive faith community or not. 

Specifically, to decide whether or not we were going to fully embrace our LGBTQ brothers and sisters as full and equal members of our denomination. Sadly, for a variety of reasons, the vote to follow Jesus’ message of love and inclusion failed.

Friends, I am struggling with this outcome. I am struggling more than I ever have as a United Methodist.

Struggling almost sounds too meek…too soft to fully explain how embarrassed I am about our larger church. Consider the message to the outside world…we proclaim to have open hearts, minds and doors, and continue to push this message across multiple platforms. 

Yet, we’ve in effect slammed those same hearts, minds and doors shut in the face of people who simply want to worship God just like we do.

How is this possible in 2019?
I recognize that not everyone shares my beliefs; however, I cannot reconcile in my mind that people can proclaim to have the power to make decisions about ordination, love and inclusion as if they were equal to God. 

People do not have the authority to make such decisions, only our God can do that. Do these men and women believe they actually speak for God?

Such hubris!
"The inaction from General Conference…
...the silence… has become the loudest noise 
in the history of our denomination."

As I continue to struggle with the shame I feel that this vote has brought upon the larger UMC, I have considered several options…the most important of which is to remain a United Methodist and fight for the justice that I know one day will come.

I want to be part of the solution.
I want to be a voice that refuses to be silent.
I want to be a part of our UMC family when ALL people will know God’s love.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Expected Perfection

How much latitude do you have in your job to make mistakes? Seriously, do you feel nervous or anxious about it (beyond the normal frustration of overlooking something or making a small error)? 

Are you supposed to be superhuman at work and never make a mistake?

Fail Quickly! Ha!
Okay...let's just stop right here for a minute. Quick show of hands, how many of you get excited about failing really quickly with your new ideas in front of your leaders and employees?

Anyone? Hello?

Right. Neither do I.

Sure, I get the whole "go for it approach." I've spent years trying new things. 

However, I've been able to lead that way because I worked in this organization and now work here and both places afforded me lots of flexibility to be creative, succeed, and yes, sometimes fail without repercussions. 

It's that last part - without repercussions - that often stands in the way of failing quickly as a good thing.

Never Fail
When the world thinks you're supposed to be perfect...every time...how do you survive? 

How do you dare to push and twist and turn and risk and gamble on new ideas to stay competitive and relevant if you're going to be punished if you fail?

Three steps is what it takes.
1. Use language that aligns to your business, not human resources. Demonstrate why your idea adds value to the business, not some lame HR jargon filled spiel.

2. Know what you're talking about. Don't throw around terms and strategies you don't fully understand. Be confident.

3. Act with conviction and do it. Don't be timid or scared.  Behave as if the other skeptics in the room are out of touch, not you. Take the risk. Don't worry if you're alone. That's how this works.

How About You
Don't you think it's time you pushed that idea forward that you've had rolling around in your head for so long? I do too. Get your plan together and go for it. If you want a sounding board, call me at 727.809.4425 and we'll talk through it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Faith, Values and HR

Wait, what?

I know what you are thinking. We can not talk about our faith in the workplace! That's crazy talk! We are going to get complaints, the employees will be in an uproar, and we might even get sued!

Um, let's just slow down here for a minute.

Leave Your Personal Life at the Door
Have you ever heard this phrase? Have you ever said it to an employee? When was the last time you walked into work and shut off every single part of your life outside of work?

I know the answer. Never, that's when.

Regardless of your faith perspective (if you have one) this seems like one of the most absurd (and candidly embarrassing) management messages to send..."leave your personal life at the door."

Our lives are not broken into convenient little pieces.
There is no work/life balance.
There is only life balance, and our faith is
a big part of that journey.

Live the Values
If we pause for a moment to consider what most of our corporate values say (and let's be honest, most are very similar) they focus on treating people well, doing good work, living with integrity, etc.

Hmmm, those sound curiously similar to the core tenets of most world religions. 

So, as we ask our employees, our leaders, and ourselves to 'live the values' of our organizations in everything we do; are we also asking everyone to shut off their faith that implores us to 'live that faith in all we do' at the same time?

I'm no longer buying that premise. How does one pray each day, participate in the life of their faith community, and then walk into work and turn their back on all of that because "it's just business?"

That simply does not make any sense.



How About You
Will I now be preaching the gospel during team meetings? Of course not. 

But will I pretend that I don't have faith, or act as if I'm such a "good man of business" that faith and values don't really matter? Absolutely not.

What is your take? I know this is a complicated and important issue.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Role Models

I think about influential people a lot. Not the flash-in-the-pan 'Youtube sensations' mind you, I'm talking about actual role models. Real people who've done incredible things with their lives. 

Who Are These People
It strikes me as somewhat counterintuitive that many of the most famous role models (at least to me) are ordinary people, who felt called to take risks, stand up for what they believed in, and in some cases, put their lives at risk.

Normal people like you and me, who somehow transformed their lives into something so impactful...it can be difficult for us to wrap our heads around their accomplishments.

Here are a couple of mine...

Dietrich Bonhoeffer - a German theologian and pastor whose incredible conviction, sense of purpose, and strong faith led him to oppose Hitler, and ultimately, be executed by the Nazis in the last week of the war.



This is a fabulous book about Dietrich that my Mother gave me several years ago. Check it out and be inspired.

My Parents
This may sound like an obligatory mention, but I can assure you it is not the case. I am blessed to have parents who never stopped raising their voices when injustice was being done in their community or world; and also instilled values in my sister and me that all people matter.

Yes, all people. Regardless of their faith perspective, color, sexual orientation, or station in life. Their values, that spilled over to us, were clearly behind this post from last year.


Their tireless work throughout their respective professional careers (and now Mom's retirement) dealing with race relations, poverty, women's rights, and support for oppressed people continues to be both humbling and inspiring.

How About You
Who is on your short list? Who are the people that shaped your life and helped make you who you are today? I have more on mine...but as always...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.
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Monday, April 1, 2019

Visions In My Head

We all see the world in one way...our way. We convince ourselves we're seeing it the right way too.

Oh sure, we also claim to be open-minded, and willing to walk in other people's shoes too. Hahahaha...sure we do.

Lens? What Lens?
Here's my dilemma...despite my powerful self-talk machine that "tells me" I'm open-minded, I find myself wondering if that is actually true. 

Or, at least, true enough.

Think about that for a second. You've spent your entire career in HR proclaiming to be open-minded, and as it turns out you're just like everyone else. 

Your lens is firmly strapped on, and that is the way you see the world.

Time for the Humble Pie Buffet
How exactly does one figure out if their world view is much more limited than they previously believed? How much courage does it take to ask and find out?

Whoa! Not sure I'm ready for that.


But if I'm going to be effective, I need to be a lot more open to feedback from those that I trust. (see this post about your Personal Board of Directors to learn more.) 

What might we learn if we ask those closest to us for their honest take on who we are? Are we ready for that feedback? More importantly, are we prepared to make the changes necessary to align our talk and our actions?

Heavy stuff.

How About You
When was the last time you took a step back and critically evaluated your 'open mind?' 

Is that too scary; or, could it be a moment that leads you to new ways of thinking, working, and leading?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Side Step Leadership

"I'm happy to do whatever you want me to do."

"Oh, I'm ready to jump in at anytime, just tell me what you need."

"I fully support this move, what would you like me to do?"  

Talk is Cheap
We've all heard these comments...often times from leaders in our organizations. Perhaps we've even said them ourselves. 

They appear to be well-intended expressions of support, right? Real team-players stepping up to help...right?

Not so fast.

Let's take a moment and think about the people in our companies that take action first versus offering to do "whatever." That feels different. 

Their impact is very different.

They make things happen. 
They not only connect with us on what needs to be done, but they actually take steps to get things done.

It's Always Action That Wins
Maybe I've become cynical? 

Maybe I've heard too many expressions of support to my face, only to learn that same 'support' is non-existent when it comes down to making decisions and taking a risk?

Or, maybe I have a new level of insight about people? 

They love being seen as helpful and popular, but are rarely strong enough to tackle big issues that involve risk.

Yes. I believe that is true.

How About You
Are you someone who not only offers support, but immediately jumps into the fire to get things done? Or, are you much more comfortable offering support all day long, and then heading home feeling good about yourself and your "support?"

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

I Don't Have Time for Social Media & Other Excuses

I am blessed to work with great clients across the country...and for that matter I've been blessed to work with fantastic leaders for decades. 

One of the more interesting (and humorous) things I've heard while consulting, training and designing strategies over the years is the odd list of excuses as to why those same leaders are unwilling to jump into the 21st century.

Here are some of my favorites.

...I don't have time for that

...digital work isn't real work

...social media doesn't impact anything important

...we have a business to run here

But then, sometimes leaders open up and share what they really mean.

...I'm embarrassed that I haven't kept up and I don't want to look foolish

...I know social media is critically important for my personal brand our employer brand but I don't know where to start

...I'm in! Help me learn so I can teach my team

How About You
What excuses do you hear in your organization (or, perhaps say yourself?) It's time to leave those behind and move your leadership game forward. I'll help you!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Physicians Need a Personal Brand Too

A lot of time and energy is spent discussing the need for leaders, professionals, and just about everyone who is interested in advancing their careers to develop a robust personal brand.

Make fun all you want...personal brands matter in the modern world of work.

Physicians Are Actually Small Businesses
The need for us as leaders to grow our brands is critical as we navigate the relatively new and fast-paced digital world that dominates life. 

But what about physicians? Aren't they 'automatically' immune from such a need? Aren't they special simply because society needs them, and therefore by default, they already have the value the rest of us are striving to achieve?

Not.
Even.
Close.

Building a Practice = Building a Business
Some physicians are fortunate, in that they are hired into a group practice, or a health system with a built-in pipeline of patients waiting to be seen (and billed!) 

However, the competitive landscape to attract doctors, the constantly evolving models of care delivery, and the flood of younger physicians who are interested in stepping away from traditional academic medicine have turned the provider side of healthcare on it's head.

For example...several years ago one of my hospital's new Residents announced his 'match' to us on his Youtube channel. The world has changed!

Yet, how does a young, or not so young physician, build a new practice, expand an existing practice into a new market, or relocate to an area that is completely foreign to them?

How do they generate the patient volume to ensure the practice is viable; oh, and also earn a living?

Patients do not automatically arrive at the doctor's doorstep, particularly in a world of non-compete agreements, closed medical staff models, and restricted access to admitting and treating patients.

Brand, Brand, Brand
This is where the savvy physician embraces the exact same concepts you and I have used for years to develop our brands. It's not difficult, it simply requires focus and attention.

- establishing a social media presence across a few of the major platforms

- sharing meaningful content: professional, personal, thought leadership

- blogging (not giving medical advice, simply talking about health, wellness, their specialty or sub-specialty, etc..)

- engaging with followers (again, not giving medical advice, rather, humanizing themselves vs. a sterile white-coated old school presence)

How About You
Getting started is not nearly as difficult for our physician colleagues as they might think. We need to take the time with them to not only educate, but to provide real-world, and real-time support from our own experiences to show them the way.

What do you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Do You See Them?

This week is one of my favorites of the year. Why? It's the week of our annual meeting at Kinetix. We bring all of our employees together from across the country to our corporate office in Atlanta for training, team-building, and celebration of an incredibly successful year.

Moments
One of the best parts of the week each year is the series of individual moments I have with our team. Quiet sidebar conversations about work, life, career aspirations, or challenges happening right then.

It is a privilege to have these moments actually. They are important to the team members who are kind enough to value my opinion; and they are important to me because the team trusts me enough to be involved in what's happening in their world.

That's not just "work." That's trust, and respect, and how it should be.

Seeing Them
During our company photo shoot I was chatting with one of the other executives here, and they said to me...

"...just look at our group...we have an unbelievable team of people here now...I'm not just saying it...
they truly are incredible..."

That's powerful.

...and that's one of the things I love about being a member of the leadership team here at Kinetix. 

Our employees are not FTEs, or staff, or commodities. 

They are people, who work hard, have good values, and add to our culture far beyond their performance of 18% productivity growth. 

They are people who we have the privilege to have on the team.

How About You
How do you see the members of your team? Are they replaceable, or maybe simply a seat that needs to be filled? Or, are they much more than that?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Inspire Sacrifice

What? Inspiring sacrifice? That sounds...well...miserable.

Vision First
Where am I headed with this notion of inspiring sacrifice? It starts with each of us as individuals. More specifically, it comes from those times in our lives when the world seems to be closing in around us. 

Whether it's a personal issue, a complex professional challenge, or your desire to change your life for the better, two things (at least) are in play:

1. The pressure of getting through whatever "it" is
2. Finding the strength to make the necessary changes to "get there"

For me, it starts with a vision. What do I want my professional life to look like? How do I want my life to be outside the world of work (remember, work is not your life, it's just an important part.) How do I want to feel from a health and fitness perspective. All of these pieces are linked together. We literally can not separate them into convenient little buckets.

Trust me on this one...I've tried many, many times.

Finding Strength
Moving our grand visions from concept to reality requires much more than wishing them to be true. How exactly does one move past pain, challenges, frustration, disappointment, anxiety all the while staying fired up and believing they will achieve their goals?

How do you inspire this kind of sacrifice?


Where do you draw the strength necessary, when you have run out of resources, but still need to push harder?


How do you continue to challenge yourself to excel when you are exhausted?


How do you push beyond every boundary when you are ready to collapse physically, emotionally and mentally?


When it must be done...how do you get there?


Go Deeper
There is more to draw upon actually, but there is a powerful barrier in the way.
It is our mind. It tells us we can't continue. It tells us we will get hurt, physically, emotionally and mentally. It never stops telling us to take the easy path.

- No need to push for that organizational change...it will be too political
- No need to do any more reps, you've worked hard enough in the gym today
- No need to have the tough conversations in your life, just shut down and it will pass

Well my friends, our minds are wrong. We can withstand so much more. Our minds are in fact constantly searching for the easiest path forward. However, t
he easiest path produces zero results, physically, mentally and emotionally.

The easiest path is paved with familiar, and sadly, comfortable excuses for you to remain mediocre.


It is only when we reject our soft self-talk that we achieve breakthroughs. It is only when we decide to push through the pain and stress and fear that we achieve greatness. It is only when we decide to be something much better than we are today, that we take our entire lives to a completely new place.


How About You
So, what is the secret source of the necessary focus to "get there?" For me it is a combination of faith, self-reflection, and a bold commitment to turn off the noise (my own, and from everyone else) to achieve things I never thought possible.

Who's with me?

I'd love to hear from you.


No Excuses.


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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Extreme User Interviews

"The way to get good ideas, is to get lots of ideas and throw the bad ones away."
- Linus Pauling

Launching A New Idea
Over the course of my career I've come up with plenty of good ideas. At least I thought they were good ideas. A valuable lesson I learned along the way was to utilize a small group of bright people to review my ideas, offer their feedback, and then improve or reject my "good idea."

Experienced Users Know the Hacks
How does that get put into practice? It's not as difficult as you might think, but it does require a healthy dose of trust and humility. Both are challenges for me!

My process was straightforward, and based entirely on my experiences with other leaders in the organization. Those that I knew were engaged, big thinkers, knew our culture, and were well respected were put on a list.

Next step, I reached out to them individually and asked them to serve as my sounding board group. If they were uncomfortable, it was, of course, perfectly fine for them to decline.

None ever did...and I suspect the leaders you ask will also jump at the opportunity to contribute and help you.

And then...the humility piece. Once the group was assembled and I walked them through my idea, it was time for them to offer their gut reactions, their insights, their unique perspectives on what I thought I had completely worked out in advance.

On more than one occasion their feedback was humbling; but was always provided professionally. The best part was, it helped me make much better decisions than if I had relied on myself. 

How About You
Who do you rely on to help you work through new ideas or changes to your organization? Is the pressure to come up with everything on your own locked into you head? Let that go...and reach out to all of those bright minds around you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Crush the Industry

I'm feeling particularly fired up to start the year. Now before you roll your eyes and write this off as another "New Year, New You" post, hang in there. Since when was it a bad thing to get fired up?

Focus
A state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding

I like that...particularly the "clear" part. What a gift to have a clear understanding of what we're supposed to be doing. How many times have you launched into new projects or assignments with a general sense of what needs to be done, versus a clear one?

Competitive Drive
Trying to be more successful than others

Absolutely. Do I want my organization to thrive? Of course I do...and you want yours to as well. That competitive mindset fuels our commitment to not only improve our company's performance, but our own as well.

Am I thinking about big new things in 2019? Yes!


How About You
What is pushing you this year? How are you going about crushing everything ahead of you? Is it a new job? A new side gig? Taking a risk in your current role that will change things in a big way?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Artificial Intelligence and Me

"The upheavals [of artificial intelligence] can escalate quickly and become scarier and even cataclysmic. 

Imagine how a medical robot originally programmed to rid cancer, could conclude that the best way to obliterate cancer is to exterminate humans who are genetically prone to the disease."
- Nick Bilton, tech columnist wrote in the New York Times

What Is Going On Out There
Okay...Nick's view on AI may be a bit much, but that doesn't mean that taking the deep dive into the world of artificial intelligence isn't a potentially risky endeavor.

Consider what's at stake in your world:
- your employer brand integrity
- consistent messaging and tone
- avoidance of potential discriminatory issues
- and needless mistakes being made over and over again

As you consider stepping into the world of AI in your HR organization, can you honestly say that you trust the technology solutions you are considering rolling out?

Who tested them?
What is their full / limited functionality?
Are you prepared to trust the results of the AI 'work' done in place of a human?

I'm Fired Up
As for me, I am absolutely fired up about what AI will mean for me in 2019! 

We are rolling out cutting edge tools that we have confidence will deliver for our clients.

In just the last few months major milestones have been achieved with a variety of solutions that move from basic clunky 'tech' to actual operationalized AI.

That is exciting stuff!

How About You
Is your CEO asking you about AI? What is your answer? Are you prepared to deliver in a world that is accelerating faster than ever? 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.
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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Big 3

Today's post is short and to the point.

Transitioning to a new year means we sometimes think about making changes in our personal or professional lives.

Let's cut to the chase...

1. Pick three things to work on this year (not resolutions.)
2. Write them down with deadlines to make progress throughout the year.
3. Start today.

Stop with the self-talk noise.
Stop with the "I'm too busy excuse."

Just freaking go.



Happy New Year...and as always...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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