Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Harsh Reality of Politics & HR

There is a sinister being floating around the HR profession. It permeates all aspects of leadership, and often has deadly consequences for the brave HR pro who doesn't understand it.


Not Savvy? You Have No Chance
But first, let's discuss the critical skill of having organizational savvy. The workplace, and specifically HR's role to play in it, is a path fraught with peril. Competing executive team interests, fear of change, and the intimidating effect modern business and social tools have on old-school leaders are significant political landmines. 

Add to that the demands of an ever changing and contemporary candidate pool puts tremendous pressure on those leaders who want to move away from traditional approaches (read here outdated and horribly ineffective), and move to something that aligns with how our digital world actually works (read here, it's 2017.)

For the highly motivated leader who lacks the organizational savvy to understand that simply putting forward good ideas is not even remotely close enough to a real strategy, the missteps can derail one's credibility in a matter of meetings.

"Because organizational savvy entails "high-integrity" political skills, retaining a moral compass is the cornerstone component. Savvy individuals use ethical means to achieve what's good for their organizations. They advance their careers and maintain high moral standards."

Good Ideas and Getting Results
One of the questions I'm asked constantly is how I was able to move forward with an aggressive employer brand strategy (social media, blogging, podcast, etc...) while working in an industry that is conservative, and candidly, one that rarely understands how contemporary talent acquisition work gets done.

It was not as complicated as one might think. The biggest issues that had to be overcome did include internal politics; but fear and lack of insight from the other executives were the real barriers. It was all about me and my approach. I had to be savvy.

First, I stopped using HR jargon. No one cares about it except HR people. It doesn't drive business results or help the bottom line. 

Second, I used the business language of the industry, because that is what matters. Period.

Third, I linked my contemporary approaches that were clearly necessary, to the strategic plan of my organization. Your HR plan doesn't mean a thing if it is not linked to the organization. (see HR jargon reference)

End result? Success across the board: employee engagement, recruiting, employer brand, and job satisfaction for the team.

How About You
Are you still using HR lingo and wondering why everyone is not excited about your every word? No one cares. Do you understand the political landscape of your company? Really? How? Step out of your HR shell, embrace the industry you are in, and watch your influence and success grow.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

10 Things I Like

I'm a big fan of all sorts of things...and I thought I'd share a few with you today. Maybe some of these are on your list....

1. Leaders who are not afraid to call bull**** when they see it, regardless of the political fallout. If you stop reading right here, keep this thought in mind the next time you remain silent in the Board room.

2. Employees who bring ideas forward all the time. They're thinking and trying to make your organizaiton better. Hang on to them.

3. Working out like a beast.

4. Technology that makes my life easier. Think Wunderlist and Evernote. You seriously aren't still writing things down...and then rewriting them on a list somewhere, right? 

5. Fast, loud, heavy music.

6. Leaders who understand that everyone is watching their every move, word, and deed. We're in a bubble. Act accordingly.

7. Fast, loud race cars.

8. Kind colleagues. We've all seen too many self-absorbed "experts" out there...for God's sake, be nice to each other.

9. People who understand that partnership means actually working together.

10. Fast, loud, heavy music. (I really like it, so it gets two mentions)

How About You
What gets you fired up, makes you feel good, or simply helps you get through the day hassle-free?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Invisible Leader in a Digital World

I have the privilege of meeting and working with many talented leaders across the country. They are bright, experienced, successful, and motivated to take their organizations to the next level.

They share a common bond in that each one is struggling to find the talent their organizations are desperate for; yet when it comes to positioning themselves and their employer brands in the mainstream, suddenly the reality of their inaction becomes painfully clear.

They are invisible...and so are their organizations.

But We Provide Great Care
What is so often confusing for leaders in hospitals, and other organizations along the healthcare continuum, is that their status as a provider (think MD, Hospital, Long Term Care facility, etc.) has nothing to do with their reputation as an employer.

For some reason, these concepts get interwoven so frequently that today's leaders are missing an enormous opportunity to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Everyone knows what you one knows what it's like to work for you.

Digital World
Whether or not "experienced" leaders want to accept it or not, we live in a digital world. There is no point in making lame excuses that you don't have time to learn (read here, it is not a priority to learn.)

Or, that you don't understand how digital business tools work (read here, I can save patients lives with my clinical skills but I am too embarrassed to let anyone know I can't figure out twitter.)

Trust me, we already know. You're invisible, remember?

How About You
So, what are you going to do about your status as an accomplished leader who has not remained current? Who are you going to reach out to for help without publicly shaming yourself?

Me, that's who. I'd love to help you get started. If I could do absolutely can.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Close Your Eyes and Think Of...

...the most positive leader you've ever worked with...

What made them so special?

What did they do that made them different from the others?

It's Not About Spreadsheets
I've never heard anyone say the most influential leader they ever worked with was an expert with spreadsheets. Nor, have I ever heard that the best-leader-ever had mastered the budgeting process, new ATS, or wrote the finest policies and procedures.

Those things need to get done, but candidly, have absolutely nothing to do with world class leadership.

They Have "It"
So, what do those leaders have that separate them from so many others who aspire to be effective? When I've given keynote addresses I ask the audience this question and I get the same answers every time:

Those "it" leaders...
- listen
- support their people
- are not arrogant or condescending
- trust
- mentor
- are patient
- understand errors and use them to coach not chastise
- take the blame for their team
- check their ego at the door
- understand that their team is made up of people, not robots
- practice humility consistently

How About You
As you consider your leadership trajectory, and all of those influencers that have shaped you along the way, are you living up to the best-leader-ever label?

Perhaps this will forward five years into the future and imagine that one of your current team members is asked who the best-leader-ever was in their life.

Will they think of you?

I'd love to hear from you. 

No Excuses.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Leave Me Alone, I Know What I'm Doing

"Arrogance destroys the valuable, and absolutely essential relationships a leader has with other team members. Even more devastating is the feeling arrogant behavior creates in others. People have no desire or motivation to follow an arrogant leader." 
Peter Barron Stark

Landing The Big Job
There is something very exciting, and candidly hard to describe, about starting a new job, particularly one that is much bigger than the previous one. The exhiliration, the opportunity, and the pressure to perform all coalesce into one big burst of energy.

In most cases, new leaders struggle a bit in the beginning, not because they lack the skill set necessary to do the job; but, because they simply try too hard to prove they are worthy.

This is a dangerous misstep if they take things too far.

Consider these important points:
- the organization survived and thrived long before you arrived
- make sure you understand the effort, risks, and courageous moves that have been made prior to your arrival
- moving too quickly, in word or deed, can jeopardize your credibility very quickly 

Remember, you are new...not all powerful. You are being evaluated at every turn.

Go Slow To Go Fast
I learned a valuable lesson when I worked for Johns Hopkins when the new CEO joined the organization in Baltimore. He is passionate about leadership, and leadership behavior. During his first six months on the job, he did one very important thing...

...he listened and learned.

He told me that he was not there to change the culture, or fix something. He was there to take that incredible organization forward in new and exciting ways. 

But he had to learn about the organization first, and take action second.

That my friends, is a very different philosophy than acting like an arrogant know-it-all savior that has just arrived to solve all of the problems in an organization.

How About You
Who do you know that is talented, motivated, and excited to make a real difference? Are they moving a bit too fast? Perhaps it's time to pull them aside and provide the coaching those of us who've been at this a while can provide?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You

"You're almost afraid to say it out loud...but you don't enjoy your work anymore."

"You feel trapped. You want to do so many things, but each day you just keep grinding it out here, even though your heart is no longer in it."

"You're supposed to stay. Your employees are counting on you, right? You can't make a change now."

Careers Are Not Life Sentences
How many of us "fell into" our careers? Does your undergraduate major align perfectly with how your professional life has played out? Of course it doesn't. 'Perfect alignment' is not how life works. Thank God!

One of the odd twists of fate however, is that when we "fall into something" we can mistakenly convince ourselves that things were supposed to work out that way forever. Seriously? I would be hard pressed to believe our entire professional lives are based on happenstance, good timing, or luck. 

Simply because you're good at something and earn a decent salary, does not mean you are supposed to stay in that place forever. Worse yet, is when we internalize our "lucky break" so deeply with a specific company, that we feel completely demoralized if suddenly that company no longer feels so special about us.

You know that, right?

You Gotta Leave
Leaving a comfortable role that pays the bills is easier said than done. But, if you're one of those people that are horrified by the prospect of getting to the end of your life journey only to look back and start listing off all of the regrets, you may want to reconsider.

What do you really love? What have you always wanted to do professionally that you just haven't had the courage to try? 

Who do you need to connect with to learn more, get advice, and develop your plan for what's next?

It's not impossible. I'm living proof.

How About You
No more talking about your future. It's time to take action and make it happen!

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Recruiters Talk to Candidates, Right?

No, I'm not joking. There are some organizations out there that believe a recruiter's job is to wander around in the ATS, find applicants that match minimum job requirements, and forward those resumes to various hiring managers.

Well, friends, that is not recruiting. That is simply embarrassing.

(extra long pause here for those of you frantically wondering if this is how your recruitment team operates)

Seeing It Differently
For many traditional human resources departments, and in particular #HealthcareHR teams, the notion of sourcing, screening, and actively something that they don't have to do. 

Their organizations believe they are so special that they can just blindly meander through the flood of applicants and eventually find viable candidates. 

This simply can not continue if quality patient care is actually a priority for the organization. 

An outdated and poorly trained "recruitment" team is unacceptable in the competitive healthcare industry.

Stop With the Ancient Excuses
Many of my colleagues in the #HealthcareHR space cling to old behaviors, wasteful strategies, and tired excuses as to why they can no longer find talent.

Consider the consequences of their ineffectiveness:
- rampant use of expensive contract labor
- excessive overtime
- low morale due to persistent staffing shortages
- patient diversions due to the inability to fill critical positions
- lost revenue

It is (far beyond) time for massive changes in how human resources positions itself. There is no more important part of the organization when one takes into account the devastating impact of staffing shortfalls.

No one should stand in the way of a high impact talent acquisition strategy.

No one should deny that unless healthcare organizations compete in the most contemporary of ways they will struggle, and ultimately fail.

No one should assume they have greater authority over the work that HR must deliver on in the name of "protecting the brand" or "worrying about social media."

Good God, it's 2017. If you have anyone pushing back using these excuses you have every right to run them over with the reality of the business case that ensures organizational survival.

But first...

How About You
...but must step up your professional game and embrace the strategies that work in today's digital world. The old approaches you've used for so long, that are failing miserably, must be let go.

Reach out to a trusted friend, colleague, get the support you need. There isn't any time left to wait.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.