Thursday, September 29, 2011

Stay Connected with Unsuccessful Job Seekers

With crushing unemployment and zero leadership in Washington D.C. to take meaningful action, we in the Recruitment world are letting job seekers know more than ever that they can not join our organizations.  It’s not that they aren’t good people; or that they wouldn’t be productive.  We either do not have enough vacancies to meet the need, or the applicants do not have what we need in terms of training and experience.  But does that mean we should disengage from these folks and never see them again?

That my friends is the new definition of lunacy in the Recruitment space.

Connections Are Good
Consider what is happening right now.  Thousands of job seekers are reaching out to employers across the world in an attempt to not only land a job, but to make a difference in the history of those organizations.  And for those that we can not bring on board right now we’re offering a collective “thanks for stopping…bye-bye.”  Let me tell you, I think that sucks.  Politicians have no idea how to create jobs, but we do.  We also have the ability to stay connected with motivated job seekers to make sure we help them find work when it becomes available.  But doing so requires leadership, effort and time.  If you’re going to wait for Washington to respond, you’re going to wait for a L O N G time.  I’m simply not that patient.

Captive Audiences = Opportunity
Perhaps the next logical step is to stay connected with this group of candidates?  After all, we have their information, we know they would like to join our companies, and most of all we know they need the work.  Now here’s the trick – we need to treat them well throughout the recruitment process, including when we tell them no, because they just might be able to fill a vacancy for us down the road.

Imagine that…ditching the “we’ll keep your resume on file spiel” and actually staying connected with candidates for months, even years, after they’ve originally applied.  I love it.

How About You
This is not a new concept, but I’m fired up about it, and will be moving ahead with it in my own organization.  If you’re already staying connected with unsuccessful candidates, how do you do it?  What worked?  What failed?  I’ll share more as we launch our strategy; but for now I'm just anxious to get started!
I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of trouper

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Leaders Are Born...And So Were You

One thing is for sure.  We can take it to the bank.  It's obvious for all to see.  You and I were both born.  As for that's a different story.

Who Cares?
The debate that continues today is an attempt, perhaps, to ensure the sale of leadership training materials for those that were not "born leaders."  This way they'll have a chance to acquire those all-important mysterious leadership skills and become effective. Really?  What about those leaders that received some sort of divine intervention and emerged from the womb delegating responsibility from the jump? Hmm...maybe they need support as well?  Does it matter if you were "born the right way or not?"  I don't think so.

What matters is supporting leaders so they can be effective.

We Care
Over the years I've had the opportunity to lead hundreds of hours of leadership training, and although I'm a big believer in learning the material, adding my personal spin and illustrations to the content, and trying to be fairly high energy when I present the truth is I really don't matter all that much.  It's what the people in the room decide to do about that learning experience that matters most.  Great content, insightful stories, and a fired up speaker don't mean a thing if the person sitting in the room returns to their job and immediately returns to their old routine...returns to the way they've always done things...returns to their same old excuses for why they can't be effective.

Don't be that person.

How About 
The next time you have the opportunity to present or attend a leadership session make sure one important action step happens:  force your group to commit to take action when they return to their job, or make that commitment yourself if you're an attendee.  We all have the same status when we're born...real leaders decide to make a difference and don't let lame excuses get in their way.  Don't be lame...and I'll try not to be either.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pics courtesy of culturizeurself and hopelessrecords

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thank God for HR

"I could never do your job."  "How do you deal with this day after day?"  "I don't know how you do it, this is just too stressful for me."

We do it because we have no fear of confrontation.  None.

No Respect, Until LOTS of Respect
Sure, we're not in the spotlight of our organizations.  We're not supposed to be.  We don't chase the glory because we demonstrate the ultimate commitment to the companies we work for -> we put all of our efforts into supporting the execution of corporate strategy and supporting and growing our workforce. In so doing, the accolades go to others on the Operations side of the house.  And that's okay with us.

But when things go out the Cavalry.  Get HR on the phone now.  Set up a meeting today.  Drop everything.  Suddenly the HR-respect-o-meter hits 100%.  And that's okay with us too.

We Love the 2%
Fortunately for us the overwhelming majority of our organizations are filled with high-performing and dedicated professionals who come to work each day wanting to make a difference.  But just like the proverbial rotten apple, a small percentage of employees can create havoc for those around them.  And that is why I love being in HR...because I can do something about the 2% so the other 98% doesn't have to deal with their sophomoric behavior.  I'm guessing you love the 2% too.

How About You
Confrontation is in our DNA, or at least it's supposed to be.  Soft HR means no HR, so don't let your customers down.  Be strong in the face of frivolous retaliatory action.  Who goes to battle when an employee situation blows up?  We do.  We wouldn't have it any other way.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of epicparent

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Flying Solo = Grounded

Quick poll - How many of you can accomplish everything you need to do all by yourself?  Anyone?  No one?

Get Over Yourself
I don't know about how your team is organized, but in my world I rely heavily on the talented people around me.  Let me say that again, I rely HEAVILY on the talented people around me.  Another part of my reality is that despite the failing economy, my company is growing.  Our volumes are very strong, and we continue to add jobs.  Yes you heard me correctly, we continue to add jobs.  Funny thing about working in healthcare, people don't stop getting sick simply because unemployment shoots up (10.7% in Florida by the way.)

So how is it possible for me to undertake the major changes to our team's structure, tasks, and focus in order to meet this growing demand?  Simple - I'm listening to my team to learn about the challenges, barriers and opportunities that are present in their everyday work lives.

Have you ever heard the phrase, 'my boss doesn't know what I go through each day in my job?'

I've heard it too, that's why I'm investing so much time with my front line team members to learn about the changes we can make to dramatically improve our HR Operations.

How About You
Are you satisfied with the status quo?  Is "the system" a barrier that you've accepted as an excuse for providing poor service?  Is your team kicking @$$?  Why not?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of incedogroup

Friday, September 16, 2011

Destinations are Excuses

"I can't wait until I wrap up this project...As soon as we fill that vacancy everything will turn around...Once the economy bounces back you'll see big changes around here..."

Blah, blah, blah.

What the hell are you waiting for?  Does your Mom still lay your clothes out for you each night too?  How about a nice glass of warm milk before bed?  Is there always an excuse?  I've certainly had my share of them.  Seriously, I'm fired up because of the action going on in my work right now...not some off-in-the-distance-unattainable-corporate-fantasy.

I am fired up.  I've gone head first into a major examination of all things HR in my world, and I'm so geeked out about it that I can't wait to get back to it on Monday.  Sure, I have a vision for how this whole thing will play out, but if I constantly strive for the end point I'm going to miss so many valuable moments along the way.  What about my team's input?  What about my customer's perspective?  What am I missing?  What else can I add to make it even better?

How About You
When was the last time you were really fired up about your work?  Did you let it show?  Could your employees tell that you were serious?  Be passionate about your work, and forget about that destination...they take too long to get too anyway.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of monstermarketplace


Friday Social

Several weeks back Doug Shaw, leader, artist, and an extremely supportive member of my network, offered on his terrific Stop Doing Dumb Things To Customers blog to paint one-of-a-kind post cards while on vacation with his family in France.  Right away you know the type of person Doug is if he's offering to make something special for you while he's on a break.

Well, I couldn't resist signing up and asked if I could be included.  My personalized card arrived in the mail recently and even had a 51st star as a special shout out for me.  Awesome.

Many thanks's been great connecting, and I hope we can connect IRL down the road my friend.  For those that use the excuse that social media takes too much time and isn't worth the effort, they clearly don't understand.  Spending time using social media tools opens doors to new ideas, business strategies, and friendships that literally would never have developed without it.  Who should you reach out to as you wrap up the week?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Collector's item hand painted by @dougshaw1

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Your Shoes Don't Matter

It's one of the most frustrating behaviors out there.  Lots of employees do it; but when leadership does it too it sends such a terrible message.  It needs to stop, which is why I talk about it every month with the new team members who join my organization.  In fact, I've been on somewhat of a soapbox on this topic for a long time.

Scared, Confused...and Annoyed
I've worked in health care systems practically my entire career, and one of the most important issues that employees in my industry must remember, particularly leadership, is that the overwhelming majority of our customers do not want to be here.  Think about that for a second...the majority of the customers do not want to be here.  How's that for a business model?  Add to that the specialty organization I work for which only serves pediatric patients and the model gets even more complicated.  Kids would rather be healthy and playing outside than being an inpatient or receiving services at a hospital.

So when I've seen employees, but especially members of the leadership team behaving this way over the years it drives me crazy.  Our customers are often worried about what is going on, and the last thing they need is to see this.

So get your head up, stop staring at your shoes and say hello.

It's Not About You
There is a reason eye contact is brought up again and again as a critical component of any meaningful service excellence strategy -> because it's important!  Sure, we're all allowed to have bad days, but your customers don't care.  Think of it this way:  when you visit a store and need help, do you want the staff to walk by you with their head down; or, would you like to see a smiling face that at the very least acknowledges you?  Your employees want you to be available too.

So get your head up, stop staring at your shoes and say hello.

How About You
Are you committed to connecting with your customers, your employees and your peers?  Prove it.  Keep your head up, greet people, and let them know that you actually are present in the moment.  You certainly expect your employees to be, don't you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of askandyaboutclothes

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Keep Pushing the Wheel

Have you ever felt like you're working and working and working but you aren't seeing any results?  Do your days blend together in a way that makes it difficult for you to see an end point any time soon?  Are you falling into the "grass-is-greener" trap?  Before you become too frustrated, or worse yet leave your job on a quest to "find yourself" (the 60s are long gone) take a moment and consider a few things.

Life Isn't Perfect
I like to be organized...on top of control.  Well, as you might expect that hasn't worked out so well for me.  Can any of us really expect things to go our way all the time?  Of course we now know that isn't possible, but many of our colleagues still get frustrated when plans fall apart, the business cycle seems to be stuck in a low point, and we generally start to feel like it must be better somewhere else.  What so many people miss, and what I missed for so long, is that these low points are helping us in so many unexpected ways that we don't realize what is happening.

Get Stronger
Going through difficult circumstances, even so challenging as to make us consider radical moves in our career need to be appreciated.  They need to be embraced for what they bring in terms of strengthening our resolve, building our commitment, and not simply defaulting to a cut-and-run mentality.  How many times have you worked hard, sometimes for months or years, and eventually realized what you had accomplished.  Can't think of an example?  How about landing the job you're in right now.  Did you graduate from school and automatically get your job because you're a "natural born leader?"  Work hard, endure the hassles, and get stronger.

How About You
Are you willing to keep pushing through the difficult times; or, is it easier to stop working and head over to that field down the street?  I heard the grass is very green there.

Keep pushing the wheel not give up.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of ncnelink

Sunday, September 11, 2011


In between kids sporting events, workouts, phone calls to the office, launching a new twitter account and keeping up with the never ending task list, I've been paying my respects to those impacted on 9/11 by watching some of the many specials that have been airing all weekend.  And I'm angry.  This post isn't about a tribute, or to share a special memory, it's just to share how I feel...and I'm mad as hell.

So today I'm taking the liberty of simply venting...letting go...and expressing what many others may feel as well. We're upset...but we're unstoppable too.

We proved it when we came together after the attacks. That could have been a time when we let politics, or personal agendas, or "stuff" get in the way.  But we didn't...because we're unstoppable.

So although I'm excited about the coming work week, writing about leadership, and connecting with so many of you...for now I'm just going to balance feeling sad, with knowing there are so many good times ahead.  I say we should all be unstoppable this week...that will show those cowards that you can knock us down, but you can never knock us out.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of weekendsareforwarriors

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Patience Drives Progress

I grew up in a world of drive through "restaurants", microwave dinners and Convenience Stores with hot dogs on a rotisserie available 24/7.  I can barely remember a world without the Internet, haven't used a fax machine in years, and would prefer to receive a [Direct] Message than email anytime.  Simply put, I like my stuff now.  Not in a minute, not in a little while... I want what I want NOW.

Work is Not a Microwave
There are no quick wins, really.  Yes, we love to brainstorm and convince ourselves we've come up with an amazing idea that will change the organization, country, world...whatever.  Coming up with an idea is one thing; however, executing on that idea that actually results in moving the needle is very different.  Candidly, without that great idea no progress can occur.  But we need to be realistic...dare I say strategic in our thinking and execution if we are to achieve progress.

In his book Onward, Howard Schultz describes how he tried to get a quick win as he transitioned back into the ceo role at Starbucks Coffee Company.  He tried, failed and then slowed down to take a more strategic view of turning his company around. He embraced the notion of being strategic, while still having a sense of urgency about the work being done.  Being bold, and expecting everything to be perfect right away are two very different things.

HR Should Be Strategic
Time for a moment of self-disclosure.  I'm tired of people saying how lame it is for HR to be talking about being strategic.  We're supposed to be.  We're supposed to be putting plans in place for the short and long term.  We're supposed to be thinking well beyond the current benefits/recruitment/training/political-hot-potato-of-the-day crisis and delivering value to our organizations.  So if you're taking the easy way out and jumping on the HR bashing train against being strategic, it's time to switch professions.

How About You
Be patient with your ideas.  Think through them, spend time testing them, and then make a decision and act on them.  Being patient and then being decisive is a potent combination.  Being trapped in a world of analysis paralysis and excuses is also a potent combination.  Which path do you take?  I'm glad I switched.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of kaboodle

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Self-Promotion v. Doing All You Can

One of the issues that concerns me in writing this blog, speaking at events both small and large, and attempting to actively participating in the larger "leadership discussion" is that somehow I end up getting in the way of the message.  It's a delicate balancing act for those of us that are not afraid to challenge each other, and ourselves in our professional practice.  Perhaps there are some basic tenets that can be focused on as I move forward to help guard against getting too full of myself.  (Read here => tall order.)

Participation as a Responsibility
Part of my struggle is that I firmly believe any real leader should be required to actively participate in making themselves, their profession and their organization stronger.  That won't happen if you sit in your office with your lame open door policy waiting for your staff to come by and kiss your managerial ring.  Participation means speaking out, taking risks, making mistakes and going forward in spite of your failings.

Another Side of Leadership
Beyond the public recognition of the leadership contribution should come a more discreet counterpoint.  The work that gets done behind the scenes should also take as much of a priority as the flashy presentation that gets splashed all over the trendiest web sites and blogs.  How much leadership do you provide that only a precious few people, perhaps only one person at times, actually notices?  That doesn't seem to be worth the investment, does it?  But it does to that one person whose life you just impacted.  Big time.

"Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can." 
— John Wesley

How About You
Check your's full.  Check your task's full too.  Now check the mirror.  Still too busy to provide leadership that won't end up on the backchannel?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of oxfordswfproject

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Talent Question

I've been reading a lot about Talent lately.  What is it, where can I find it, is there some sort of war for it, should I restructure to hire it, and is it really all that different from recruitment?  Hmm, not sure I have the answers to any of these questions; and candidly, I'm not sure I need least not right now.

Get Out of My Way
I have a new mantra:  Results.  Nothing flashy, fancy, inspirational or trendy.  Just, results.  If I need to call it "Winning the War for Talent" I don't care.  If I have to hit up the online buzzword dictionary and re-title everyone on my staff I don't care either.  I only want one thing:


Providing Value
Considering the vast amount of wailing in the HR community about the infamous "seat" it seems to me that this issue could be resolved with one word.  Results.  At the end of the day we have a couple of deliverables in this area:
- find and deliver qualified candidates quickly
- ensure the candidates have a positive experience
- hire them
- repeat

Are you with me?  Sure, we have lots of other responsibilities that we have to deliver in a timely and highly professional manner.  But in the era of finding good people to join our organizations; and shockingly with a heightened awareness of discriminatory hiring practices against the unemployed (read here => epic failure of leadership) , nothing seems to be more effective than results.

How About You
Are you hung up on getting your arms around the "talent question?"  Perhaps a task force or focus group will help you get there.  I honestly need to keep learning so I can get the answers I need; but in the meantime, I'm going to go recruit some great people who could really use a job.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic courtesy of thewarfortalent