Monday, April 29, 2013

Love The Product, Hate(d) The Service

I am a big fan of Spotify. Wait, I may have understated that...I freakin' love it. I use it every day in my office; I plug my iPhone into my car and listen on my commute, and I pop the headphones in when I'm going on a run. I'm a die-hard, premium subscriber, Spotify-guy. I have to be their biggest fan.

Except for the time I was really pissed at Spotify.

Short Story - Short
For a period of time I was being double-billed, or so I thought, for their premium service. I reached out via twitter for help, and the good folks at Spotify responded quickly. I was hopeful to get a speedy resolution, but alas that was not to be. After being forced to jump through MANY hoops it was discovered that a second account had been set up which I was not aware of...ouch! My bad.

Except I was still pissed that I didn't get a straight answer in the beginning.

Despite my stumbling, and a bit of disappointment, I'm still a huge Spotify fan, and spread the word whenever I can about their amazing product.

I love the product.

HR Story - Long
Human Resources delivers a range of products too. Every person in the organization depends on us, and it is essential that we do our jobs well. So, do our (trapped) customers love our product and hate our service?

Do they like that benefit plans are there when they need them, but get frustrated trying to figure out what the fine prints says and which forms to fill out? Do they want to transfer and take advantage of an internal promotional opportunity but feel like they never hear back from anyone? Do new team members simply want some guidance as they come on board, but end up figuring out most things for themselves? Do our leaders feel this way too?

I like to myself that I actually deliver a product that not only has value, but is also considered to be high quality and done in a customer-friendly way (despite the fact that my customers are built-in.)

Has HR somehow become a bit lazy over the years? "If only those managers knew what we have to go through here in HR!" Oh wait, you've probably never said that before...ahem...I haven't either. #LyingThroughMyTeeth

The reality is that we need to critically evaluate our own performance, the products we deliver, and how we deliver them to ensure we keep ourselves at the top of our game.

Just imagine what those managers are saying about us right now. Do they love your product?

How About You
Is it time for you to get some feedback about you and your team's performance? Maybe you need to do something radical, something that would be considered a never-been-done-before-in-your-company approach...

Ask someone.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fixing Healthcare Hiring and Human Resources: Is It Possible?

Today’s Healthcare Industry is Filled with Challenges

Some of these challenges get a lot of “play” in the media like the nursing shortage,  what strategies today’s jobseeker should use, or the costs to provide care to the millions of uninsured Americans. Other issues however don’t get the same attention that they should.

Skills Gaps?

Topics like the skills necessary to work in today’s complex health care environment and the tools employers should use to find talent often lag behind the discussion compared to other industries.

Each month, I’ll be discussing the challenges, and I believe, significant opportunities for jobseekers to both understand the somewhat daunting world of health care, and how to effectively manage their way to a successful career.

Check out the rest of this post over at!


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Do Less With Less

Deadlines. Pressure. Stress. Tight budgets. Unrealistic expectations. Quarterly goals. Limited resources.I guess the tired adage that we have to do more with less is true.

Or maybe it's not.

Less is Reality
I appreciate the reality that we're living in a time when the global economy is weak. In my business we would say it's on life support. That situation has forced most of us to radically change the way we work, staff our organizations, invest in capital, and make (or not make) bold moves in the market. Only the very strongest of organizations has navigated the last five years with little damage.

An interesting opportunity has also picked up steam over the last five years. The pressure to become more efficient and to leverage every available free tool (I'm referring to social media for you HR folks that still love transactional work) has literally changed work for the better.

Yes, the world of work, at least Human Resources work, is in my opinion much better today than it was five years ago.

Less is Good
Many HR professionals used the ancient ratio approach to staff their departments. If the organization had 500 employees then 5 HR staff people were necessary. One HR person for every 100 employees made sense. I guess.

But what happens when you force the team to become more efficient? What happens when you don't replace positions and empower the group to do a deep dive into the work and let them simply engineer a common sense way to get the work done quickly and efficiently? What happens when you take advantage of free tools like facebook, twitter and Linkedin and incorporate them into your HR practice?

What about your HR formula now?

Less is Less
Imagine a world of HR that leverages lean processes free tools, and the perspective and input of front line staff to get the work flow designed properly. 

Could we really dream about less transactional work, less wasted time, and less expense? Oh wait, that's happening today. It could happen in your organization too, if you have the courage to get started.

I like "less."

How About You
Are you still waiting to catch up to the rest of the world of work? The justification... er...excuses we used five years ago don't cut it anymore. It's time to embrace less...and learn how much more you can actually accomplish.

I'd love to hear from you.



Monday, April 22, 2013

The Meeting Fool

Meetings are a hot topic in my world lately. My company has a new performance improvement team examining how meetings are conducted, how to make them more meaningful, and whether or not we need as many meetings as we do. I've even written about meetings recently and described how some personality types dominate meetings over others.

Something seems to be missing in all of the energy, analysis and gnashing of teeth that is being directed at the meetings "burden" in my world.

Learning From Real Estate
Any real estate agent worth a darn will tell you the age old mantra about their industry: location, location, location. For anyone who has ever purchased property you know that no matter how good something looks online, you have to go to see the property before buying. Imagine how stupid you would look if you actually made a buying decision without even going to fully understand the property?

What a fool!

I spend a lot of time in conference rooms, meeting rooms, and offices where decisions are made that impact work that isn't done in any of those conference rooms, meetings rooms or offices.

In order to understand the impact of our decisions, doesn't it make sense to go to where the issues are actually happening? Do you think our employees would appreciate the image of a team of leaders coming directly to their units or departments to better understand the issues?

Who's the fool now? Oh, that's right. I am.

Meetings Rock
Can you say that about the meetings in your organization? Are they places where people come together and openly discuss difficult issues in order to improve operations, culture, earnings, satisfaction or clinical care? They're supposed to do this.

They're not supposed to be a burden that ends up being a double 'time suck' because we not only complain about them, but we don't use our time effectively either.

Fool. Fools. Fools.

How About You
What approach do you take when you see a full day of meetings on your calendar. Is it time to add to the noise all around you? Or, do you make a change? Imagine how many salary dollars are spent in meetings each year in your company. Now do you think it's worth making a change?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Supply Lines and Change Management

The world is moving faster than ever. Sometimes I struggle to keep up with it all. Whether I'm chasing the unattainable goal of an empty Inbox, managing multiple organization-wide changes, or trying to maintain a reasonable meetings load each day, I continue to wonder how I'm ever going to keep it all under control. 

Fast Is Good
Don't misinterpret my opening comments. I like changing things up to improve, and I certainly love courageous leaders who aren't afraid to push organizations forward. So many companies are mired in analysis-paralysis that I wonder if any decisions are made. I've worked in some of those places, and it can be downright frustrating to feel trapped in that corporate culture.

"Breakthroughs happen when leaders are brave enough to push their organizations forward."

Too Fast Is Dangerous
The world of work is filled with military references: the war for talent, negotiations being framed as a battle, and so on. One important lesson from the military that I believe is noticeably absent from the discourse at work has to do with supply lines.

In times of rapid changes (read here --> advancement in war) the front lines are never extended beyond the reach of the supply lines. If that connection is lost, important resources, supplies and expertise are compromised and the effort is put at extreme risk for failure.

The same concept holds true in the workplace. If changes are happening so quickly that leaders and staff are not able to maintain an appropriate supply of information, tools, and resources, the change effort is also at risk to fail.

How About You
What approaches do you use to ensure the change efforts in your organization don't outstretch your corporate supply lines? Are you able to keep your leadership team properly refueled and supported; or, have you simply focused on the speed of change and inadvertently put the effort at unnecessary risk?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Mirrors Don't Lie

"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing them self."
- Leo Tolstoy

Periods of rapid change in our work lives can be exhausting. The new rules, stretch goals, and on-the-fly decisions can push even the most balanced person to the edge. 

A high-speed culture change can also be exhilarating. No more analysis-paralysis and meeting after meeting filled with talk, but precious little action.

The constant in every change process regardless of the leadership team, or new rules, or changing market conditions is very clear. You (and me.)

How About You
So before you start evaluating whether or not someone in your organization is making the appropriate changes in their work in order to meet the new corporate goals, take a quick glance in the mirror first...just to make sure the constant in all of this change is also stepping up too.

I know I had too.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Roll The Lines

There is only one sport where every player contributes during every game. Not football with their 50+ man rosters; and not baseball with their 20+ man squads; and certainly not basketball with the last three players on the bench looking as fresh in their warm ups at the end of the game as they did during the pre-game speech.

Only one sport requires each player to participate in every game and go as hard as they possibly can each shift...

Read my full post over at Performance I Create...

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Slow and Steady Loses Every Time

The world of work is moving at the speed of light. Or at least it feels that way for me. The work life balance discussion doesn't seem to stop, but quite frankly I don't think many of the uber rich outside of Silicon Valley are listening.

That means the pressure is on more than ever for those who are gainfully employed to continue to produce in an environment where so many talented people are waiting to jump at the chance to join your team ( read here -> in your job.)

Perhaps the corporate world is sending a nonstop message that tells us to be ultra-competitive in order to drive profit margins, achieve world-class status or consistently be first to market with the latest product or idea.

Maybe I'm contributing to this message?

Speed of Work
I've recently started referring to the pace of the workload and projects my team is expected to at as the speed of our work. I'm still unsure if I'm being arrogant in thinking that we are expected to perform at a higher level than most; or, if we are in fact operating most days at a different level. Quite honestly I'm inclined to believe it's the latter of the two.

The obvious question which follows is whether or not work is supposed to look and feel this way? Is post-recession society (barely) simply moving so fast that leaders like me have come to believe that the speed of work for the foreseeable future must be sustained at a blistering pace?

Is the world of work just a corporate game of survival of the fittest...or fastest? I'm not so sure maintaining a nonstop pace in  any activity is sustainable, let alone in the workplace.

No Option
Now is the perfect time to discuss how HR can change the culture of the organization to help bring balance to a chaotic world. But I'm not going down that path. Work is hard, and there seems to be a heck of a lot of it to do these days. 

"I think HR has an opportunity to help source high performing employees, support them as they get up to speed, and make sure those that are dragging down your organization have an opportunity to anchor another company's slow decline."

There is no option but to stop making excuses, and pick up your pace. 

How About You
Too much time is wasted complaining about workloads, balance, piles of paperwork, meetings, email, and on and on. Yes, we have a long list of tasks to complete and email to read. Download an app or two to make yourself more efficient, get yourself organized, and pick up the pace. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yesterday is Dead and Gone

I’m fairly new to the social media scene. I’ve only been active for a few years, but it is abundantly clear to me, and should be to any other breathing human resources professional in the state of Florida, that social media IS our new reality.

There is no going back. There are no good ol’ days. There is no longing for how things used to be. Yesterday is dead and gone.

Is this your HR conference room?

So where the hell is everybody? the rest of this post which was originally published over at HR Mouth of the South...the HRFlorida blog.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I Win Every Meeting

Meetings are slanted to go in my favor. In most cases they are predestined to go my way even before I walk into the room. It's not that I manipulate the process ahead of time so I can be more effective than the person sitting next to me. The reality is that the odds are in my favor so that I'm going to come out on top...and there's precious little the introvert next to me can do about it.

Real Time Thinkers
I spend a large part of my day in meetings. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Meetings are how team members communicate, bounce ideas off one another, strategize options, and support one another during stressful times. Meetings, for the most part, are good.

My mind moves fast in meetings. Just to clarify, 'fast' does not always equal 'effectively.' But for one reason or another my uber-extroverted personality combined with my brain that seems to be racing along like Fernando Alonso on a Formula1 circuit automatically positions me well for the outcomes I'm hoping for in meetings. 

How is that possible?

Am I a loud mouth that forces my position on my colleagues? Do I bully others into accepting my position? Maybe I'm such a talented salesman that I missed my calling and should have been running a used car empire instead of spending the last twenty years in healthcare?

The truth is that our world of non-stop meetings favors real time thinkers.

Introverted Thinkers
The opposite of my behavior in meetings is what is displayed by those that need time to process through what is being said. They aren't willing to jump in to the conversation in the blink of an eye, nor do they typically feel comfortable speaking out in group settings. This group sometimes prefers to offer an opinion once the meeting has been completed, and typically only to the meeting leader. That's okay...but not if the goal is to have their insights become part of the group's awareness.

Introverted or reflective thinkers are not necessarily prepared to respond in the moment, which can do a disservice not only to them, but to the group as well.

The Meeting Leader's Job
The challenge for the person leading the meetings we all attend (which in some cases means we are the ones leading) is to ensure a proper balance of managing the real time thinkers while simultaneously drawing out the introverted thinkers. Not an easy task.

Each person should participate, otherwise they shouldn't be there. It simply doesn't cut it to say that due to being an introvert they are allowed to offer their perspective after the meeting has ended and they've had a chance to cycle through an analysis-paralysis session away from the group. 

Each person should also not over participate, otherwise they shouldn't be there either. It simply doesn't cut it to say that due to being an extroverted real time thinker that their ideas have to be the ones that the group is forced to accept. 

Meeting leaders need to ensure everyone participates. Period.

How About You
I bet you go to a bunch of meetings each week. Do you notice who seems to be a more effective person in those settings? Is it the quiet, thoughtful one; or, is it the one who seems to be "have it all together?" Which one are you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Defensive Listening

We all know what it means to get defensive. Typically there is a negative connotation, even though its really more about our survival instincts than something negative. If we feel we're being attacked, or criticized, we naturally get a little (or a lot) defensive.

At least I do...or should I say I used to.

Talk Is Cheap

Part of my job is to strategize the most effective way to handle very complex and difficult situations. I'm not talking about whether or not to launch a new product line, or to tweak the ad campaign. No, what I'm talking about are the behind-the-scenes, in your face, "thank God I don't have your job Jay" situations. 

I'm not good at very many things, but I do have a degree of confidence when it comes to these moments. These interactions are important. They affect people's lives on a very personal level, even though we often try to describe work as anything but personal.

It's just business! Really? Have you ever received difficult feedback and left the meeting clicking your heels because it was 'just business?' I didn't think so.

Listen First
When we're faced with the unenviable task of delivering critical feedback it is essential that we listen first. What is that? It means thinking ahead to what those words will sound like to the other person. It means getting over ourselves and putting the other person's self-esteem ahead of our own fears and insecurities about having to give this feedback. It means being so professional that you are one step ahead of yourself...let alone the other person involved.

How About You
Are you so caught up in the self-induced stress of delivering a difficult message that you completely forget about the other person involved? Are you capable of staying one step ahead of yourself to take your work, and your professional reputation to a whole new level?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.