Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The World's Most Dangerous Job

One of the most dangerous jobs in corporate life today is leading a progressive human resources team. You know, the kind you're leading, right?

This is not up for debate. The pressure to deliver new talent is at an all time high. The need to retain good employees is critical to achieving business goals. The costs associated with both of these priorities is so immense that most HR leaders can not quantify what is being spent today. 

Literally. They have no idea what their own costs are...

Most Dangerous
The reason HR leadership must be the most dangerous job is quite simple actually. With so many pressures on HR to deliver real results...and the clear absence of any meaningful action in most industries (#HealthcareHR leading the way here) is obvious that these leaders are simply too scared to take the steps necessary.

Too Harsh
Now before you all get worked up that I'm being too critical of HR please keep these points in mind:

- HR is rarely given the latitude to be creative (read here --> never)

- HR often attracts risk-averse leadership styles

- Adoption of contemporary talent strategies is not welcomed in the healthcare industry (which is counterintuitive to the how the industry interacts with patients)

- HR is always the corporate punching-bag when things go wrong (as in, ALWAYS)

The leaders I speak with (almost) to a person would like to move their talent acquisition and employee engagement strategies into the digital world; but, since they do not use contemporary tools and strategies themselves, they do not know where to begin.

How About You
Are you ready to buck the trend of HR always trailing behind the other business functions in your company? Let's find some time for a virtual cup of coffee, and discuss how you're only a few decisions away from dominating your world.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 29, 2016

Finding Your Voice

Have you heard this phrase? ....finding your voice...

It's often associated with writing. It's intended to make the connection between what you think and believe as a person, and your ability to express those thoughts and beliefs in a blog post, article, or book. It can also apply to speaking as well. 

Have you found your voice?

Step One: Who Are You
I think the most overlooked part of the "voice" strategy is stopping to define who we really are as people. It doesn't matter if we are in formal leadership roles or not; but for those of us who lead others it is a requirement.

Yes, requirement.

What is important to us?
What do we stand for?
What is so reprehensible that we will immediately address it regardless of the situation?
What do we want to achieve in our lives?
Who is most important to us?
How do we think about work?
What role do employees play in our prioritization process?
How comfortable are we taking risks?

There are many more questions, but without answers to these questions at the outset, it will be impossible to define "who you are" and thus express your voice.

Step Two: Start
Fear is a terrible demon in the world of leadership. Fear stops us from doing the right thing. It stops us from holding people accountable. It forces us to give people one more chance (for the 10th time) simply because we do not have what it takes to lead effectively.

Fear destroys.

However, once you begin on your path of expressing your voice something very powerful happens. Fear disappears. It's as if you have taken control of your entire world. You now make the decisions, and take risks, and hold people accountable. 

The anxiety about political repercussions no longer matter. Why? Because the other weak leaders around you are watching real leadership in action, and they simply can not challenge it.

Your voice does all of these things.

How About You
Today is a good day to answer the questions outlined above. Tomorrow is shaping up to be the perfect day to start expressing your voice. Don't you think?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Power of Internal Blogging Teams

For those HR leaders that have jumped into 2016, one of the common problems they face is the non stop need for original content to support their corporate recruitment marketing strategy.

Content, Content, Content
As I survey the #HealthcareHR landscape, it is quite obvious that formal recruitment marketing approaches are still...well...nonexistent. The handful of organizations that embrace this concept are typically the ones that outmaneuver their competition in a big way.

One of the most effective ways to generate original content is through the use of internal blogging teams.

Consider this example:

"I asked a brand new nurse to blog about her experiences for a year. The exciting stuff, the boring stuff, the scary stuff, all of it. I helped her with each post, but it was her voice and message. She was an instant success, and her posts had thousands of views on our HR blog."

It can be done. The blogging site was free. Repurposing the posts across multiple social media channels was free. The results were phenomenal.

Building Your Team
As you think about who should be part of your team, focus on your high priority hiring areas, as well as any other part of the organization that is part of your core business. Even if you are not blogging about a particular department or function, you will still differentiate yourself from the competition in a positive way.

Let's face it...most organizations do not trust their employees to tell their story. They rely on ultra-polished messages from traditional sources. Instead, use your employees to paint your employer brand picture and leverage the skills of the team to ensure confidentiality and professionalism.

How About You
Are you ready to jump out of the 1980s and launch a robust recruitment marketing strategy that both recruits and retains the talent you need? If the idea scares you I can help. I can tell you one thing is certain...your competition is hoping you don't change a thing.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Recruitment Marketing in Healthcare

The epic battle to find clinical employees in the healthcare industry has never been more intense. The combination of limited talent, retiring talent, old school recruitment approaches and a complete lack of understanding as to how recruitment marketing works has proven lethal to my #HealthcareHR colleagues.

Let's take a look at some of the key components of an effective recruitment marketing strategy in the healthcare industry.

You may be wondering why this comes first. Well, without the courage to throw away what has always been done in your organizaiton, you will not be successful.


Understanding that the number one component of any effective strategy is the #HealthcareHR leader is paramount. Without this piece, the strategy will fail. 

Not maybe.
Not probably.
It is guaranteed to fail.

An effective recruitment marketing plan is built on three important pieces:
- a robust career site
- nonstop new original content
- a comprehensive social media distribution strategy

Let's take a quick look at each part.

Career Sites
Most healthcare career sites list jobs, have a predictable couple of paragraphs of text about their "values" and "wonderful community" and occasionally have a few photos of beautiful people in scrubs that are not employees.

This is an epic fail.

Career sites need to engage, draw people in, re-recruit current employees, and tell the story of the employer brand. (Yes, employer brand. This is a critical part of any healthcare organization's recruitment strategy. You knew that, right?)

Original Content
This piece of the recruitment marketing puzzle often scares HR leaders to death. In fact, it is one of the easiest parts to address! Interviews with your employees, short videos, and a thorough editorial calendar cost little or no money, yet can yield huge results both internally and external.

Social Media Distribution
How are you going to share all of this content and point prospective candidates to your career site if you don't share the goodness? Incorporating multiple social channels (facebook, Linkedin, twitter, snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) will position your organization as a contemporary leader in your industry.

Think about it...everyone you will ever hire again is on a social channel. So why in the world wouldn't you make sure your company is there too?

How About You
There is so much more to say about recruitment marketing in the healthcare industry. For now, think about these core pieces and how you might get started. If you get stuck, don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to help you blow away your competition.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Then Everything Changed

"I felt like I was the ultimate brand champion for my company. Then suddenly...the economics didn't make sense anymore and I was gone."

"Everything was on track for so long. But then I realized things were just wrong. How did it all get so messed up?"

"I was a rising star. Everything I touched turned around and was a big success. But one day I was called into the position could no longer be supported."

"I had worked so hard for all of career, my personal life...all of those crazy lists of goals over the years. Now, this happened."

Unlimited Potential
Some people just seem to have it all together. They have great jobs, full personal lives, and seem to be involved in the coolest projects. I'll admit I've been jealous of those folks over the years. It all looked so exciting.

But real life doesn't always match the action we see, right?

When you believe there is no stopping you one day...and the next day you feel like you've hit a brick wall...even the strongest among us can fall into a bit of a tailspin.

Back in the Game
The old adage that one door closing usually means another door opens is not only over's true. The key issue here is not about opportunities though. In fact, the "doors" have absolutely nothing to do with it.

The reason this phrase has lived on for so long is because their core...are resilient as hell.

We are driven to succeed. We not only deal with setbacks, we use them as an energy source to take things to an even higher level of success both personally and professionally. We attack our future. We make all of that "action" that we dreamed about for so long become our reality.

We. Make. It. Happen.

How About You
Think about the times life has dealt you an unexpected twist or turn. Did you fold up and drop out of sight forever?

Of course you didn't. You dusted yourself a little pissed...and kicked that 'new door' down.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 15, 2016

Tug of War

Just one question for today.

When you hear someone use a racial slur...or a make a crude comment toward the lgbtqi community...or when someone simply behaves like a jerk...

...what do you do?

1. Hold them accountable immediately

_____ yes / no

2. Struggle to take action and maybe say something later

_____ yes / no

3. Remain silent

_____ yes / no

How About You
Does your conscience win the ethical tug of war?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Few Against Many

"The criticism came from some of the most senior members of the organization. It was alarming at first. It was as if they had lost confidence in me. I quickly realized however, that the teasing was actually an attempt to cover how woefully behind and out of touch those accomplished leaders were. In the end, it was pathetic and sad...for them."

Opportunities and Threats
Why is it that "new" often equates with "threatening?" Why do some leaders leap at the opportunity to be part of something dramatic, while others are so averse to anything that hints at progress?

I believe that for some leaders who have achieved a measure of success, they simply can not fathom the thought of pushing themselves even harder in their new roles. It's as if the energy they expended to get to their current role has all but tapped them out.

Except...a new level of effort is required at every stage of our careers.

Every. Single. One.

So when new concepts, technologies, tools or business conditions descend upon these leaders they often stumble. They become indecisive and cling to power, as if their sphere of influence is the core business.

That is a flawed way of thinking.

Step Up
When you step up...take risks...and push your organization (and it's results) forward, the criticism often flows in one direction. 

The naysayers are usually so focused on themselves, and perhaps feel threatened that you are separating yourself from the legions of other bobblehead leaders, that you become a target.

Think about the leaders in your life who stand out above the rest. The ones you would follow in a heartbeat to a new company. Were they obsessed with themselves; or, did it feel like they had a higher calling in their leadership style?

Don't let your job title lead you into believing that you are more important than the team.

You're not.

Don't let your authority mislead you into thinking you are entitled to something.

You're not.

And for God's sake, remember that every person matters. You're not the special one.

You're really not...

...and neither am I.

How About You
As you begin another one of the thousands of days you will be someones leader, consider the incredible privilege you have before you. Take advantage of the opportunity, lift up your team, keep your mind wide open, and commit to being different than all the rest.

It will be worth it.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 8, 2016

The Show-Me-State Put on a Real Show

We've all been to many conferences over the years. Candidly, some are better than others. Last week I had the privilege to speak at the Missouri SHRM Annual Conference, and was impressed with the entire event.

Now before you think I'm simply praising the conference leadership team please keep this in mind...

The conference is over. If there was going to be a suck-up post it would have come two weeks ago.

Something For Everyone
One of the hallmarks of a good HR conference is the opportunity for leaders at all levels to find something that they can learn. As I've moved further along in my career that has become more challenging. Kudos to the team at #MOSHRM16 for finding ways to include not only the first line managers out there...but the executives as well.

Something Beyond the Presentations
The other part of my experience at Missouri SHRM that was so impactful was, quite honestly, selfishly motivated.

I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with amazing friends whose leadership and skillful delivery of their presentations make this conference go. People like Lori McCombsKristi Jones and Angie Schaefer. New friends Kevin Call and Jamie Notter, as well as old friends Rachelle RobertsChris Fields and Charlie Judy.

As it turns out...just like in the workplace, it's the people that make all the difference.

How About You
As you review the various conference options for next year, make sure next August 1st - 4th at #MOSHRM17 is on the top of your list!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Noise is a Failure of Leadership

I've been thinking about real work vs. the noise of work. The real work is easy to's what you were hired to do. The noise of work however often supplants the real work.

How does that happen? Why does it happen? What can be done about it?

Three Questions - One Answer
When I was in high school I was never surprised when some kids lived for gossip, acted immature, or thought they were really slick stirring the pot.  I always thought they were embarrassing themselves.

As I entered the workforce I was surprised to see that those behaviors don't stop.


1.  How does it happen?
The noise happens because:
- the immaturity that dominated many of our high school classmates simply does not go away
- leadership allows it to happen

2.  Why does it happen?
The noise happens because:
- those same immature and frequently miserable colleagues of ours are so self-absorbed that they are unable to think at the big-picture level. They will never understand how organizations actually function because they are still wallowing in their own mess.
- leadership allows it to happen

3.  What can be done about it?
This one is easy, but most leaders will not do it.
- leadership needs to be direct, even confrontational if necessary, to not only stop the behavior, but to ensure it never happens again (yes, that means sometimes those team members need to move on and mess up the competition instead of your company)

Attention Leaders: Do Your Job
I've worked with so many leaders that are constantly lamenting the fact that certain members of their team are disruptive (not the good way); unable to lead, etc...yet they are unwilling to take firm, decisive action.


This answer here is easy too. They are scared to death. Leadership is not a popularity contest. Think about all of the other hardworking, loyal employees who are watching you sit idly by as this scorcher of an employee wreaks havoc on the team.

Guess who looks foolish now?

How About You
Isn't it about time you held the negative influencers accountable for real? Just imagine how impressed the rest of your team will be...with you.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, August 1, 2016

Don't Bring Me Back Again

"If only. Those must be the two saddest words in the world."
Mercedes Lackey

Earlier this summer I had an opportunity to speak about my career to our team of interns (and other team members!) at Kinetix. They were kind and listened and smiled at me. 

As I was talking about the most important decisions in my professional life a theme emerged.

Taking risks.

But Something Bad Might Happen
No kidding. That's why it's called risk. For me, risk has turned out to be one of the only ways I could move my career forward at the pace I wanted it to move. 

Did every decision turn out for the best? No.

Would I be as blessed as I am today without taking those big chances? No way.

Live Your Life
Following the talk about my professional journey I was asked a number of questions in private about those choices. I urged them all to put in more effort (which almost always equals more time invested putting in that effort.) 

I know all about "work smarter, not harder" - but, the reality is everyone I've ever seen get ahead in this life put in a heck of a lot of time, and didn't make excuses about leaving early because they "worked smarter that day."

How About You
Have you embraced risk as a career strategy? The payoff can be more than you ever dreamt possible. Plus, you won't be stuck wallowing in regret. That is a place that no one ever wants to go.

A little bonus is that you might also find ways to take some pretty exciting risks in your personal life as well. It sure worked for me.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.