Monday, February 27, 2017

Guest Post! Lessons On Kicking The Leadership Habit

I am thrilled that my friend Victorio Milian has agreed to provide a guest post today. His take on leadership is relevant, timely and insightful. Plus, he is not afraid to call out leadership when it needs to happen. 
Leadership can be a helluva drug.

I learned that lesson during my retail days. I got my first job as a stockperson at age nineteen. After a number of years I started working my way up. Sales, Supervisor, then a Department Manager. The leap from staff to management was full of challenges. One of the biggest was earning the respect of staff. I was lucky in that, because I came up through their ranks, I could empathize with the work and challenges they faced. And we often worked side-by-side to complete the work and overcome the challenges.

And there were always challenges: the pressure to make sales were ever present; providing quality customer service; maintaining shops according to company standards... On and on and on. It wasn't uncommon that there seemed to be a figurative "forest fire" of an issue that needed to be put out.

I thrived on those issues. I had a calm, solution focused demeanor which helped rally people around me to deal with whichever emergency popped up. So, staff as well as superiors would praise my efforts for saving the day. And it felt good. It gave me a way to further cement my credibility with staff, and get noticed by the higher ups.

But here's the thing: it got to the point where, if things were running smoothly, I would get flustered. I would miss the craziness of dealing with a "forest fire." It was like I was an adrenaline junkie. I began to realize that what I thought was leadership (the ability to rapidly mobilize resources to address an issue) was unhealthy. Being able to cope with emergencies was an important aspect of leadership. However, it wasn't the only one.

I had to learn new skills if I didn't want to burn myself out. For one, I had to become more strategic in my execution of company goals. It meant looking more deeply at what may have been the root causes of the issues we were dealing with, and developing a plan to address them. It meant that I had to take better care of myself, mentally and physically. Being the "hero" (working long hours, eating crap food, etc.) was taking its toll. I also had to delegate more, to allow other people the autonomy and resources to perform their functions successfully. As a result of these and other changes, I was able to have a successful and rewarding long term career in the industry.

My career in retail was a good one. It gave me my first exposure to leadership. It also taught me about what healthy leadership wasn't. If I hadn't learned how to lead responsibly, I would have hurt not only myself, but those that depended on me. I'm glad I was able to kick the toxic leadership drug, and find a healthier way to inspire and motivate people to be their best.
Victorio Milian is a Human Resources Consultant, writer, and speaker living, as he puts it, "in the best place on Earth - New York City!" Creative, hard working, and smart, his goal is to work with stakeholders to advance their goals.

I encourage you to reach out and learn more about Victorio at his website:

As always, 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Recruitment Marketing Is Not A Threat

The concept of establishing an employer brand and then leveraging contemporary recruitment marketing strategies to capitalize on that brand are foreign to most HR leaders.

Sure, they've read about it, know they need to work on it, but somehow feel like making those moves would be controversial. Wait, what?

Telling the story of why your organization kicks ass is controversial? Um, no, it's not.

I can appreciate the fear that creeps into the minds of today's HR leaders. I've been one for more than 20 years myself.  You may not fully understand the concept of what an employer brand means. That's okay. You may worry that the Marketing Department will want to control your messages and content. That's okay too.

Here's the main have a job to do, and in order to do it effectively in the modern world of work, you must develop an employer brand strategy. It is no longer optional.

Feeling powerless? Wonder if you'll lose your job or lose political clout if you push this issue?

Consider how if feels in meeting after meeting when your Operations leaders are wondering why there aren't any applicants (or at least qualified ones) for their growing list of open positions.

Does that feel good? No, it does not.

Now consider the impact you can have by simply using the power you already have and taking action. No one will stand in your way if you make the business case for an employer brand strategy (insider tip: it's not hard to do!)

Don't underestimate the impact you can make. You have an opportunity to provide high impact, contemporary leadership right now. You simply have to decide to do it.

How About You
Are you ready to make a move? Are you ready to be bold? Are you ready to get your power back? I will help you get there. I'm serous. Hit me up here or here, and let's get started.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Monday, February 20, 2017

No Lives Matter

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak, is to speak. Not to act is to act."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Other than my parents, I have two heroes who have influenced my life more than any others. I've written about them many times here on NoExcusesHR.

Martin and Dietrich.

They guide me..and today I will write how I honestly feel...and try not to disappoint them. To be honest, I'm not sure I can do it. But I'm going to try.

I would like to humbly offer my voice to the #BlackBlogsMatter project.

Are You Kidding Me?
I've heard the complaints for a long time. That somehow, the deck is stacked against whites. It's as if the push to bring equality to America has somehow disenfranchised white people. 

What? You can't be serious? These excuses, that I've heard for years, are some of the most bizarre deflections for not working hard, making an impact in their jobs, and being a difference maker.

I wonder what the response would be if the events of the last few years (or centuries) were reversed, and black police officers were gunning down whites regularly? Hmmm. Maybe a different reaction?

Black lives matter.

Losing Friends
I have to admit that earlier in my life I tried to maintain friendly relationships with everyone, both personally and professionally. But, that approach was not meant to be. I reached a point where I could no longer tolerate the racist comments, cheap shots against persons of color and other vulnerable groups, and just had to say, and do something.

I lost friends.
I called out colleagues publicly.
I made it very clear where I stood...and candidly did not care if those around me who felt differently were offended. 

Black lives matter.

Standing Tall
As time passed I grew increasingly confident in my views, and fortunately, was blessed to be in an executive position with considerable influence. Make no mistake, I used that influence to achieve my agenda.

I pushed to make major changes in my organization with the Board of Trustees, which were approved, implemented, and still stand today. The details are not important here, but suffice to say issues of diversity, inclusion and equality became part of the fabric of the organization.

Black lives matter.

How About You
As you consider your legacy...yes, would you like to be remembered? Is being a "dutiful soldier to the majority" something that feels good? Or, is there another path? Perhaps one that gives you the opportunity to be a leader for everyone in your organization...and in your life.

I can not thank my parents enough for teaching me that when groups of people are treated unfairly it is our responsibility to lead the way and support them, regardless of the criticism, peer pressure, or political fallout. We must always do the right thing.

I hope Martin and Dietrich are not disappointed. 

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

inspiration: Sarah and Body Count

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Hey Recruiter! No Brand? No Game.

"All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me, Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You."
Tom Peters

It's Not A Fad
The notion that individual recruiters don't need to worry about their brand as long as they work for, or represent organizations with a strong brand, is a fallacy. Success as a recruiter is ultimately about credibility and hustle...and the tools of the trade today are digital. 

Some may feel that since they've been recruiting for a long time and have always been successful, they do not need to focus on their brand. That approach will prove to be a costly mistake. Clients expect their recruiters to be current, contemporary leaders in the industry. To say that simply because they have been doing something for a long time has nothing to do with being good at it.

Are you with me?

Getting Started Is Easy
There is good news for any recruiter that claims to be too busy, too private, or too lazy to get their own brand moving forward. It's easy to get started, as long as you do one thing...


Odds are you already have a LinkedIn profile, and maybe have a twitter account too. Hopefully you've gone further and are rocking a snapchat story every day. These channels can be very powerful outlets for you to distribute content. 

What's that? You don't have any content to share? Um, yes you do! Here's a quick list of content that you can begin sharing today.

- post your organization's content
- post your client's content
- post your candidate's content
- post general thought leadership
- post industry thought leadership (Healthcare, HR, I.T., Finance, etc.)
- post YOUR content

You officially no longer have an excuse. 

How About You
You're already working hard. But without the digital credibility, you will forever be lost among the masses of "professional recruiters" out there. Why would a client listen to you? Why would a candidate listen to you? 

It's time to step up. Let me help.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, February 13, 2017


I have a dilemma. I struggle with trying to figure it out constantly in my work. The answer seems obvious to me, yet the concept feels impossible to so many. 

On one hand I recognize the impact a robust employer brand can have on an organization's recruitment and retention efforts.

On the other, I also recognize that most human resources, talent acquisition and other leaders do not have the will to develop their employer brands. That's right. They simply lack the willpower to do what I consider to be a mandatory part of their job.

Many of the executives I speak with tell me how they "wish they were farther along" with their employer brand, use of social media, and making their talent acquisition strategies more contemporary.

I ask them all the same question: "Why isn't it?" Then the long list of excuses, political barriers, and general insight into their timid leadership style shines brightly as they try to justify their inaction. 

It's sad really. So many smart, successful leaders who are simply afraid to lead. I wonder if they believe that if they wish hard enough, things might improve.

I hate to break this to you...but, no...nothing will improve unless you make the decision to improve.

Wishpower = Failure.

In fairness, most leaders today, particularly in HR and Talent Acquisition are not aware of the true potential that a well executed employer brand / social media strategy can have on their organization. However, the best ones decide to do something about it.

- They educate themselves
- They stop assuming the Marketing Department has more power than they do. (Who died and made Marketing the Boss?)
- They leverage world class resources that can help them dominate their competition

The best have the willpower to get it done.

How About You
Which one do you lean on....wishpower or willpower? Guess which one not only gets you the respect of your colleagues, but actually makes a difference in the life of your organization?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, February 6, 2017


Loyal. What a fine word. It brings to mind legions of employees, lined up cheering when new memos are released via email blast, right?

Oh, wait. I mean... 

Loyal. It brings to mind employees sacrificing until it hurts so a company can make draconian changes that punish all but a precious few.

Um, no. Just a second...

Loyal. Dogs are loyal. There, nailed it.

Actually, People Are Loyal Too
I have been blessed to work in some terrific organizations, but none more full of truly loyal employees than this one. Corporate cultures are all different, but I've found after several decades in the healthcare industry, that many employees are "loyal" to their organizations because of the jobs they have serving patients. 

Think about that for a second. They are loyal, to the work, not necessarily the organization. Hmmm. I'm guessing that's not the employee engagement survey spin that gets pushed to the team?

But, Why?
I believe there is a far more simple solution to moving employees from 'committed to their job' (which in healthcare means they can have the same job at nearly every organization in your community) than what most organizations are willing to admit.

"When leaders are awkward in their communication...when they focus so exclusively on a numeric result and abandon the reality that people achieve results...and assume an air of elitism that because of their more senior title they suddenly know how to do everyone's job better...their exists no opportunity for loyalty."

How About You
Have you taken a long hard look into the mirror and admitted that you, too have fallen into the leadership trap? Get over yourself, start acting like a normal human being, and leverage the immense brain power, experience, and creativity of your teams. 

You might find a few loyal employees just waiting for the chance to show you how they really feel.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Cro-Magnon HR

Effective healthcare human resources leadership, and more recently, recruiting and employer branding are the center pieces of my career. As in, my entire career. It's been a wild ride, but for the most part, I wouldn't trade any of it for a different path.

Except perhaps, for what feels like an eternally long time before I figured out how to lead in the modern world. 

Old School HR = Useless HR
Useless? Does that sound a bit harsh? Well, guess what...if you're still "going slow" and "making sure you have guaranteed results before you make a decision" you are actually no longer doing your job.

You're coasting to retirement. I can only hope you're 70 years old. For the rest of you, this approach will guarantee that you recycle the same tired excuses that the other executives in your organization have been listening to HR repeat for years.

This is why the eye-roll is still in vogue. This is why your "seat" is actually a high-chair at the table. This is why you won't really look in the mirror any more.

Endless Opportunities 
The good news is that the move from caveman to superman is quite simple. It does require one thing however...


When you're asked about your hard skills, does courage ever make the list? I didn't think so. It wasn't on my list either...for years.

That is, until I grew sick and tired of being a "cost of doing business" in HR, and decided HR needed to make a big time impact. 

So I changed. I took risks. (which in retrospect were hardly 'risky')...and I made a big difference.

You can too.

How About You
Are you ready to stop talking about the same old BS, and start leading in a meaningful way? Your colleagues don't believe that you have the courage. Your staff doesn't believe you have the courage either.

But I do. I'll help you get started. Today is your day...

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.