Thursday, December 29, 2016

What Really Matters

There are two things in life that clearly demonstrate our priorities, values, and commitments; despite our endless talk, arm flailing, and sometimes bombastic speeches about accountability and strategy in fancy conference rooms.

Regardless of what we say, wish, or believe that we are doing, our calendars are one of the most powerful sources of truth about our lives. They show what we've decided was important.

Maybe it's extra hours at work (that sometimes includes a long commute); extra time at home to complete work tasks; time with family; hobbies; time to exercise; or simply time to read, relax and decompress from a high impact world.

Whatever it is that you do...your calendar is the one place you can reflect on and learn about what you do...not necessarily what you say you will do.

The other great equalizer in our lives is the record of how we spend our money. That history reflects what is important to us. Sure, we all have bills to pay; however, our money trail often tells a much more insightful story.

Usually, not every penny is only spent on bills. So where do the other few dollars slip away too? Hmmm...a telling story awaits if one is only to do a little digging.

How About You
What priorities do you have for your time and resources? Will they be well spent? Perhaps documenting what you think really matters and then comparing that list to your reality is a good place to start?

Or, are you simply too busy to worry about such things?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016


Who is the negative disruptive force in your organization? You know the one...they violate every value you have posted on the wall and espouse in new employee orientation. 

Can you picture them?

You're Too Slow
How long did it take for you to see their face in your mind? Three seconds? Maybe, one second?

Why are they still there? How could someone that negative, that you identified so quickly, possibly still be employed with your company?

That makes no sense to me.

You realize your employees know you haven't taken any you're losing credibility while you're reading this post instead of doing your job, right?

Stop reading. Earn your leadership pay. You do more than attend meetings and approve payroll. You have to get into the difficult work of confronting...yes, confronting... behaviors that do not jive with your corporate culture. 

It's not easy. In fact, it can be downright stressful. So what? Your employees, your organization, and candidly, for your own sense of self-respect, you need to get on with it.

Remove them from your organization today.

How About You
Make the decision to step up and build the team you want to have, not that you "inherited." That lame excuse works for six months, then guess what? They are your team.

What are you waiting for?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, December 22, 2016

"You Don't Do Anything Halfway"

Maybe it's the end of the year. Maybe it's that I'm over-processing a bit too much. Or, maybe I'm just being reflective about all sorts of things... thing about me is clear. As a friend recently told me..."you don't do anything halfway."

Full Power
So is this post about my character flaws? Ha! Perhaps. Sometimes being in "go-mode" all the time has it's drawbacks. Although candidly, other than occasional bouts of being tired as heck, I have no idea what they might be.

But does "full power" play out in a positive or negative way in the workplace?

Speed Kills...The Competition
One business advantage that I believe to my very core is this: those that are willing to take risks and move quickly will dominate the market place. They won't just be competitive...or "in the game." They will BE the game. In effect, the new standard that others will be forced to follow.

Speed wins. Risk wins. Extroverts win.

Whether that means fighting for talent, positioning their employer brand in the modern (digital) world, or simply making a decision that must be made to move forward.

Halfway...does not achieve anything.

Getting to Full Power
The downside of this personality strength (or flaw?) is the risk of being perceived as the proverbial bull in a china shop. For me, the results far outweigh the risks. The non-stop chatter about getting outside our comfort zones is repeated so frequently because it is true.

Playing it safe...trying to be popular at work..and never moving too quickly so as to avoid making any mistakes actually has the reverse effect. Decisions are not made, action is not taken, the competition outmaneuvers you...and not surprisingly you become quite unpopular.

How About You
Are you still going halfway in your work? Why? Does your company's strategic plan call for a halfway executed approach? Is filling your vacancies halfway sending a good message to your team? If're probably only halfway effective...and halfway popular too.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Lift Me Up

"It is very easy to overestimate the importance of our own achievements in comparison to what we owe others."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

I've been quite reflective the last week or so, thinking about my role models, close friends and colleagues, as well as the long journey I've been on to

Regardless of deep thoughts, passionate ideas in the moment, or a more disciplined thought process, my mind always comes back to Dietrich. A role model who has influenced my life in so many ways.

How About You
As you bring 2016 to a close in the next couple of weeks, what...or should I ask...who, is on your mind? Who made an impact that guided you over the course of such a turbulent, exciting, and wild year?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, December 12, 2016


I was afraid to try new things for a long time. I was worried I would look foolish in front of my colleagues. 

I was afraid to try new things for a long time. I was afraid my friends would laugh at me.

I was afraid to try new things for a long time. I was afraid no one would like me.

I was afraid to try new things for a long time. I was worried that I wouldn't fit in with the crowd.

...but then...

I tried new things.

And I didn't look foolish.

And no one laughed at me.

And I was able to show my true personality.

...and, I ended up having the privilege to lead the crowd.

How About You
It's more important to try than you might think. It's where we live, and grow, and succeed.

So start trying...for real.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

My Eyes Have Seen You

"It is our duty as men and women to proceed as though the limits of our abilities do not exist."
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Political Vision
Have you noticed the term "vision" gets thrown around a lot in corporate life? Personally, I love it. It can rally teams of people together; clarify where an organizaiton aspires to be; and differentiate a company from the competition in a big way.

As long as others do not attempt to sabotage your efforts...

...and that is where "vision" usually runs into trouble.

We are actually made to believe we have limits. Who made that decision? Was it someone threatened by our energy, risk taking, and success? Someone who clings to power by manipulating others to "know their place" and to understand "how things are done around here?"

I'm calling BS on that.

Wish List Vision
Instead of talking about the vision you have for yourself, your team, and your organization, do this instead:
- write everything down
- pull your Personal Board of Directors together and talk with them
- put your thoughts, ideas, and plans into action

Your vision does not have to be a fleeting wish list of a life you long for, but have accepted will never become a reality before you even put forth any effort. It can happen in your professional life, and your personal life too.

See your future. Make it happen. Today.

How About You
Keep your eyes focused on your vision of what you can become. Do not allow the risk-averse cowards in your organization to bully you into staying as lame as they are so much more.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Getting Started Using Social Media in Your Career

Even though the echo chamber is louder than ever in the social media space, there continue to be many...many...professionals who have yet to adopt these tools into their professional lives.

Honestly, getting started, particularly for my #HealthcareHR colleagues can feel like they are literally putting their jobs at risk. However, it does not have to be that way at all!

Start Slow
A key step in the process...from my to take your time. There is no hurry, you're not behind anyone else, and you certainly should never rush adopting new ways of doing your work.

However, it is time to get started. That means, today!

Step by Step
This is the easiest part of your transition to becoming a contemporary leader. You've probably already done part of this already. Do you have a Linkedin profile? Good! 

Next, open a twitter account. Keep in haven't posted anything yet, so you are not taking any risks!

Last step...start to identify content that you might like to share.

Pro Tip!
- your company probably produces content regularly....start there! 

Other ideas include professional journals (within your industry, Harvard Business Review, Inc., etc..) Start sharing this content once a day. It's safe, will make you look like you're aware that it is almost 2017, and you will begin to differentiate yourself and your company from the competition.

How About You
That wasn't so scary after all, right? Other helpful strategies as you get started should include following people in your industry and replicate what they do. Slow and steady actually does win the race.

Have questions? I'd love to help...reach out anytime.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Your Delivery, Though

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, November 28, 2016

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

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

You need them.
They have all the power.

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

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

The candidates do not need you…you need them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What will they find? Anything at all?


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

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bleeding Orange

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

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

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

In those companies...bleeding was bad.

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

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

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

Is the culture really that different from other companies?


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

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

Are we perfect? Thankfully, no.

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

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

What color do you bleed?

We bleed orange.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Your "Vision" Is Blinding You

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

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

…and rare.

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

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

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

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

We changed it.
On the spot.

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

I’d love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Going Social Transformed My #HealthcareHR Career

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

Just as they still do today.

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can do it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tomb With A View

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

...and go for it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

A Thank You Letter to Mom and Dad

Dear Mom and Dad,

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

Thank you for...

- teaching me that every single person has value

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

- demonstrating what it means to respectfully disagree with someone 

- caring enough to let me make mistakes without shaming me

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

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

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

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

- coaching me when I got too full of myself

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

- helping me learn the power of listening

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

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

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

Love you,


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Retention Is A Leadership Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

These aren't nearly as hard as you think. 

You are your biggest barrier at this point.

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

Let me know how it goes.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

That Time I Didn't Speak Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember who's watching.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, October 31, 2016

Be Very Afraid

"I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
John Cage

How About You
What are you afraid of this Halloween? I hope it's not doing everything you possibly can to make a difference in your organization.

That would scare me to death.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

You Can't Ignore the Warning Signs

"You have to understand, we're special here."
"Our culture is different than other organizations."
"Our values drive 100% of our decisions."
"Innovation is one of our core strategies."
"Our employees are our most valuable asset."

For the love of all things good and holy, 
please stop saying these phrases. 

You don't back them up. You aren't going to back them up. Oh, and your employees stopped believing your empty "culture" talk a long time ago.

Words + Action = Leadership
Words matter. They can be inspirational, threatening, filled with empty promises or so energizing that entire organizations follow you.

But for those of us that have interacted with (or been a part of) senior leadership teams we've not only heard those opening phrases...we've used them!


Newsflash! Your organization is only special when you combine the fancy language in your mission and values statements with action. 

If your behavior does not match your rhetoric, you have failed.


The Front Line
Action happens in every organization on the front line. You remember the front line, it's where all of the employees are located. Not in the fancy board room, or the executive meetings where the head nodding in agreement is so prevalent I've often thought I was head-banging at a metal show. (see inspirational song reference)

The opportunity to engage, challenge the leadership status quo (who is often only interested in protecting their position at all costs), and make a meaningful difference is right in front of you.

However, the warning signs of inaction, group-think, and a clear disconnect from the reality of your corporate culture must not be ignored.

How About You
Don't be the talented leader who is tossed aside when a new CEO arrives and quickly picks up on your history of inaction and fear. Start earning your money today. Start challenging your colleagues when they need it. And above all else, get the hell out of your office and start building real relationships with the front line.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

pic inspiration

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kinetix Update --> WE NEED YOU: Holiday Book Suggestions!

Calling all Kinetix employees, friends, clients, family and more!
The holidays are right around the corner and our gift wrapping supplies are set—all of this can only mean one thing: it’s time to submit your ideas for our annual holiday book.
Annual Holiday Wha…?
Our annual holiday book! If you’ve known us for a few years, you know what we’re talking about. If you’re new to the Kinetix crew, let us fill you in. Every year around the holidays, as cookies and swag gifts begin piling through the door, Kinetix’s elves get together to do things a little differently by sending off books to our friends all over.
But these are no ordinary books. These books have spunk. We’re talking titles like Fahrenheit 451The FountainheadJPodThe Alchemist and, most recently, Company
With such a diverse collection, you may be wondering what all these books DO have in common. If you haven’t figured it out, there is one common trait: all of these books get you to think about talent in a different way. They encourage you to be better by opening your worldview to all the different ways we can perceive talent within and around us. And, honestly, what better way is there to finish the year off and kickstart a new one?
There’s just one thing missing for us to get the books from our wrapping tables to your desk…
Your Input!
In the past, our best books have been suggested by Kinetix outsiders—friends of friends, clients, vendors. But whether you proudly wear a Kinetix badge or not, we want you hear what books you’ve been reading that have given you a new perspective on talent!
There’s just two guidelines for book recommendations:
  1. It has to make you think about talent. There should be themes that relate to bettering ourselves by expanding our points of view (just don’t call it a self-help book.) Talent doesn’t have to be the core focus of the book—and in most years past it hasn’t been—but it should relate to talent in some way. After all, that is our passion at Kinetix.
  2. We don’t want best sellers. Maybe you read The Girl on the Train this year and thought about how it breaks down the walls of what we think we know; maybe you went for the nonfiction Alexander Hamilton biography that inspired the hit Broadway musical and considered employee relations in relation to Hamilton and the other founding fathers. Those are all valid points, but at Kinetix we like to break the mold. Your recommendation CAN have been on the bestseller list in years past, but if it’s a book everyone has read this year, we’ll pass it over.
That’s it—follow those two guidelines and your recommendation just may end up going out to hundreds of people.
Sound off in the comments below with your good reads, or send any recommendations to to be considered. We can’t wait to see what you’ve had your nose in this year!
I'd love to hear from you.
No Excuses.