Thursday, March 30, 2017

Mind Sewn Shut

I hate to admit it, but sometimes I get stuck in my own view of things. Maybe it's how I think a project should be executed; or, it might be a set of behaviors that I think all leaders should replicate; or it might be that I'm so focused on 'my stuff' that I miss what is happening around me.

I hate it when I do that.

Preaching and Practicing
I spend a lot of time talking. My job requires that I provide leadership internally at my company, and externally to the clients I support. We are a nimble, fast moving firm that lives for the daily adrenalin rush that is our world.

...and for as much as I like to go fast, that doesn't mean I shouldn't pay attention at the same time...

Speed usually wins. Speed and focusing on the details at the same time guarantees a win. So when I find myself getting really worked up about something, (or as one of my colleagues tells me..."you have a lot of energy on this topic Jay"...) - I need to make sure I'm paying attention to the little things happening all around me.

Daily Focus
What I've learned, albeit at a painfully slow pace, is that I need to make a conscious decision each day to 'see the details.' That's hard for me. I've lived through so many mistakes (either my own, or in the organizations I've worked) that often times I see a clear path to success. 

However, simply because I know what the end point needs to be; that does not take into account the new people, the new corporate cultures, or the new learning that is required by those around me as we work toward that bright shiny goal.

Sometimes I simply get moving too fast for my own good, I assume others understand what my vision is, or worst of all, I don't take into consideration their needs as I push them harder and harder to get moving.

I hate it when I do that.

How About You
Are you locked in to your world view? How's that working out for you? Do those around you feel comfortable enough to tell you to slow down and let everyone catch up? Or, maybe taking a breath and looking around could yield a fresh perspective, new converts to your ideas, and...just maybe, an even better outcome than what you (and I) thought about in the first place?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Hiring Leaders: Your Network Should Be Better

I'm not surprised anymore. I used to be...a lot...but those days are long gone. It is clear that the challenge of building and leveraging networks to find talent is the sole responsibility of HR.

Hiring leaders are simply incapable of building a network on their own. They are too scared, too full of excuses, and candidly, enjoy having someone to target when their hiring struggles persist.

Meet Director #1
This person has been a loyal and hard-working part of the organization's leadership team for years. She works hard, tries to support her employees as much as possible, and attends a conference or two each year. She's bright, and keeps her team informed of the latest equipment, clinical practices, and news about the hospital.

Problem: she has been so focused internally that she is useless when it comes time to recruit talent, spread good news about organizational breakthroughs, or to simply tell the story about what it means to be a part of the organization.

Meet Director #2
This person has also been a loyal and hard-working member of the leadership team for a long time. However, in addition to putting a tremendous amount of energy into her staff, she also has worked hard to develop her leader brand

When it comes time to fill vacancies, she has already differentiated herself pushing out thought leadership, stories about the hospital, and adding some personal touches as well. She has a network she can tap into, and she does.

How About You
Who are the leaders you work with that have such tight organizational blinders on that they're hurting themselves? 

Help them see the big picture. Help them understand that the investment they make in their internal and external brand, will make a huge difference.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Winning at Project, or not almost completely 'true-ish' team meeting story...sort of...

"Wow. This is quite a project! We need to pull a task force together to get into the weeds on this one."

"Yes, a good multi-disciplinary team will be great. I'll have my assistant set up recurring monthly meetings so we can stay on top of things."

"I'm in. Of course I'll have to reprioritize the research I'm doing into that other leadership initiative that takes a hard look at where we'll need to be by 2025, but I can probably make it work."

"Me, too. But I think we'll need to push back a bit before we get too far along. I mean, c'mon, do they expect us to turn this around in 12 months?"

"I agree. 12 months is going to go by in a snap. I don't mind taking the lead on the initial project plan, but it'll be 60 days before I can realistically get something in front of the group."

"Whoa! Are you sure you can turn it around that quickly? Aren't you also on one other project?"

"I'll have my group take a serious look at the plan once you've wrapped up the first draft. Maybe we should have our next meeting at the 90 day mark, just to make sure we're not getting ahead of ourselves?"


How About You
Have you been in a meeting like this one? Was your head nodding too?

Leadership is about action. Cut the BS and get moving.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, March 20, 2017

The CEO Question HR Fears Most

The long list of pressures HR leaders are under is well documented. It's as if every organizational ailment somehow finds it's way to the human resources department to either get fixed or take the blame. 

There is a new issue lurking however, that most HR leaders, particularly those in the healthcare industry, are ill-prepared to address. That issue comes in the form of a question directly from the CEO.

The Context
Let me set the stage...

Traditional CEO, accomplished, bright, and driven is paying attention to the radically changing labor market. The stress they feel from the Board of Directors, Physician and Nursing leadership to solve the staffing shortages are now becoming an all too regular topic in meeting after meeting.

It feels a bit odd to the CEO. She's always been able to figure out some sort of new pay program or engagement play that keeps the positions filled while not completely blowing up the salary line in the budget.

But the world is just...well...different now. 

The Nightmare Question for HR
During the next routine one-on-one meeting between the CEO and the CHRO they get on the topic of labor, talent, and staffing shortages across the organization. It's at this point that the CHRO's world caves in.

CEO: "So, tell me what you're doing to ensure we are viewed as a viable employer? What are we doing with millennials? Are you current on all of these social media and content strategies I keep reading about? Where exactly are we on this?"

CHRO: "Um....well...we, uh."

CEO: "We are doing something on this, right? I mean, the whole world is getting into this stuff."

CHRO: "Well, Marketing...and Legal...they, uh..."

CEO: "You've got to be kidding me. Those departments don't have anything to do with recruitment. We're not doing anything? Do you even know how to use these things yourself?"

How About You
What's your answer? I want to help you not only give the right answer, but look like the most contemporary leader in the world while doing it. It only takes one thing...

...the courage to start.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Death by 1,000 HR Policies

I've worked in human resources for a long time. So long in fact, that when I make pop culture references with our team, most of the group don't understand my jokes. I also discuss policies and procedures as tools to guide the culture of the workplace. I get the same blank stares on this too.

What Changed?
In my early hospital HR roles I held my policy book so close that you would think it was my version of a security blanket. It drove almost all of my decisions, helped ensure I was "following the rules" and never wavered! 

Um, that's not leadership by the way. I wish someone had told me that back in the '90s.

Those old school approaches to HR leadership don't mesh with the more sophisticated employees of today. Yes, I said sophisticated. Think about it, the world is dramatically different than it was when I was part of the "new generation of leaders" coming up through the ranks.

Now we have the most informed, most empowered, and most connected world ever. For those of us that have jumped on the wild ride of contemporary business strategies it is an exciting and wonderful period of time.

For my colleagues who still wish "being a yuppie" was a thing, you have sadly been left behind.

Relationships Rule, Policies Are (mostly) a Waste
The savvy leader today, regardless of age or experience, understands that their relationship with the team will define the organization's profitability and ultimate success.

How many of us have prioritized the experience our employees have working for us as our number one agenda item every day? Not the patients, not the customers, not the business partners...our employees, first.

Let that settle in. No one is more important in the universe than your employees. Now we should take that one step further:

- What would your corporate culture feel like if every employee felt maximum support from you?

- What would the turnover rate of your top talent be if they felt you would do anything for them?

- How hard would your team work if they knew they had miraculously found a job where leadership was completely focused on their success?

- What do you think your profits would look like with a super-charged team working hard for you every day?

How About You
The old world of finding safe harbor in your policy book is gone. Don't destroy your credibility and try to go down that path. 

No one...including me...will think that you're paying attention to the modern world. 

Employees come first. Employees drive our success. Policies are just (too many) words on a page. Which one will you focus on?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, March 13, 2017

What You Bring

It comes naturally for some...and for others it's a struggle that requires thoughtful, intentional effort. It can build upon itself and push us even higher. Or, it can be so draining that we need to literally take a break and rest.

We've all been around people who show it consistently in their work. People are drawn to them, they want to be around them, work for them, go the extra mile for them.

You know the type. The room fills with energy the moment they arrive. Their energy level always seems to be so high, yet their loud voice and broad smile are sincere. What's up with these people?

More Than Attitude
Those positive leaders that seem to "have it all together" are not flukes. They aren't just naturally taking risks, going out of their way to support the team, or treating everyone as if they are as important as the CEO.

Every. Single. Time.

Their actions are based on a conscious decisions to be positive. It's as if they've not just talked about doing the right thing, they've internalized that mindset so it looks and feels natural to those around them.

More Than Just Energy
How does it happen? Isn't that massive focus on energy all the time absolutely draining? Oddly enough, that energy spreads. 

If you watch closely you can see the reaction among the team, and watch it grow. That, in turn, comes back to them. 

It is a cycle that is positive, impactful, and helps to create corporate culture beyond the programming and "models" that seem to dominate contemporary work.

How About You
When was the last time you made the decision to be a positive, high-energy force of nature in your workplace? You absolutely can do it. Ask those role models in your organization how they do it...and copy them. (Here's an insider tip...they're copying their role models too.)

What you bring can make a huge difference.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Awkward Impact

"One of the greatest challenges leaders face is to communicate the thought in their head without offending everyone listening to them share it."
- Jay Kuhns

More Than Perception
The phrase "improve communication" gets thrown around so frequently, I'm not sure those who complain about it even know what they're asking for. The intent is sincere, but communication is far too broad a term to actually drive change.

I'm convinced more than ever that one of the main culprits of poor organizational communication is the abysmal delivery of "the message" from some members of leadership.

Usually the intent is on point, yet their awkward delivery (often completely unaware of their impact) not only creates problems, it undermines their credibility.

Let me say that again...they undermine their own credibility...and don't even realize they are doing it.

To themselves.

You Have to Internalize Feedback
For those leaders fortunate enough to receive constructive criticism about their ineffective style they must do one very important thing...


Feedback, particularly in these instances, truly is a gift. Do not attempt to justify "what you meant to say" or "blame the offended person by claiming they are just too sensitive."

It's not them. It's you.

How About You
We have an obligation to support these struggling junior leaders, regardless of their age or years of experience. 

Junior leaders are those that have not matured in their leadership skill set yet, and need the honest feedback about the negative impact they are having on the team.

I'm all in to help. How about you?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Never A "Right Time"

I work with many leaders, and most of them are cautious. So, cautious in fact, they proclaim that they “wait until the right time” to make certain moves when it comes to recruitment and starting to build their employer brand as if it were a good thing!

Please don’t take this personally, but the right time was five years ago.

It’s an odd obsession…or excuse…to allow time to dictate whether we do our jobs or not. Sure, the answer is always the battle of negotiating some perceived internal political storm. But, why is human resources and talent acquisition always on the defensive?

Perhaps the time has come for us to take the talent shortages directly to those political opponents and call them out?

- They’ve held the organization back through their failed attempts to hang on to outdated strategies.

- They’ve failed the organization by not understanding and using current technologies to their fullest to attract the best and brightest talent.

- Based on these outdated attempts to cling to power, it is now human resources’ obligation to drive change as quickly as possible before the competition completely outmaneuvers the company.

The data, complaints and noise that is constantly directed at human resources is no longer acceptable. These are not HR’s failures. 

They represent a culture of arrogance that wishes for everything to be perfect, yet is not willing to do anything differently.

HR is ready, willing and able to step up and lead the way. And it is now time to seize control to ensure the work actually gets done.

Tough talk? Maybe. But, how many more meetings would you like to attend where HR gets criticized…again? The same goes for me...none.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

6 Strategies to Eliminate Your Healthcare Recruiting Excuses

The world of #HealthcareHR is full of excuses. Risk avoidance, nursing shortages, compliance, a perceived backseat to the other Operational departments, and the list goes on.

Despite all of this self-inflicted pressure, HR still plays a critical role and it has nothing to do with making sure the employment records are neat and tidy for the next Joint Commission survey.

Oh, and by the way, there aren't any departments in your organization that can pull it off except HR. So, if you're ready to deliver real results and cut through the excuses, focus on the following items and make a real impact.

1  Employer Brand
I have written many times about employer brand and the power it has to change the perception of organizations in the market. The simple fact is this...every organization has an employer brand, it's just that most are absolutely invisible. Make sure yours dominates your industry.

2  Leader brand
The concept of leader brand is a spin-off of personal brand. For me, leader brand is a more important label, as it speaks to who you are as a leader for your team, your organization, and your industry. Investing the time necessary to establish a meaningful one is not difficult, but if you're trying to convince top talent to join your team and they do any research on you at all, what will they find?

3  Content
There is a reason the phrase "content is king" is so important...because it's true. Yes, the content needs to be meaningful, not just plentiful. But without it, you and your company fall into the trap of repeating your press releases inside the organization and convincing yourselves that the outside world is listening. They're not. Develop your stories, and start sharing them with the world. 

4  Engagement
Using social media channels to distribute your content is not a passing fad, or something that you simply don't have time for any longer. Those tired excuses make you sound old and irrelevant. 

Put content and social media at the top of your to do list everyday. It comes first, not last. If you don't know how to use the various tools you need to reach out and learn. I'll help you, but you have to take the first step and accept that it is 2017.

5  Candidate Experience
Do you still believe it is such a privilege to work at your organization that candidates should be grateful to have the opportunity to even interview with you, let alone get hired? If so, I guarantee you have a long list of vacancies and you "can't understand why?" Focus on candidates, not yourself. No organization is that special, but in the epic struggle for healthcare talent, the candidates absolutely are.

6  Speed
This one is perhaps the hardest for #HealthcareHR leaders to grasp. Going slow, holding meetings for several weeks or months with a "multi-disciplinary team" and "fully understanding the risks involved" are all excuses for "I'm too scared to be a leader." 

Too harsh? You tell me...when was the last time a healthcare organization moved quickly to ensure they had the brand, and the talent necessary to impact the lives of their employees and patients?

How About You
Lists can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. I can relate...they do to me as well. Here's the difference, I want to help you understand these six to to to execute and sustain. Let's be honest, if I could do these things leading a conservative hospital's HR function, you can too!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.