Why Top Talent Leaves: Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1

This article is by Erika Anderson, a contributor at Forbes.com.

empty boardroomEric Jackson, a fellow Forbes blogger I follow and find both funny and astute, wrote a really spot-on post last month about why top talent leaves large corporations.

He offered ten reasons, all of which I agreed with – and all of which I’ve seen played out again and again, over the course of 25 years of coaching and consulting. The post was wildly popular – over 1.5 million views at this writing.

So why do we find this topic so interesting? I suspect it’s because we’re genuinely curious: What would make a very senior executive – someone who most certainly has been courted by his or her organization and then paid huge sums of money to join – decide to pack it in? Is it greed (an even richer offer down the street)? Hubris? Short attention span? Or do 1%ers actually leave jobs for the same reasons as the average Joe or Josie?

According to Jackson (and, again, I agree with him) top talent does indeed leave for the same reasons everyone else does. If I were to distill his ‘top ten reasons’ down to one, it’s this:

Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring.

About half of Eric’s ten reasons are about poor people management – either systemically, as in poor performance feedback, or individually, as in, my boss stinks. And the other half are about organizational lameness: shifting priorities, no vision, close-mindedness.

It really is that simple. Not easy, mind you, but remarkably simple. If you want to keep your best people:

1) Create an organization where those who manage others are hired for their ability to manage well, supported to get even better at managing, and held accountable and rewarded for doing so.

2) Then be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization – not only in terms of financial goals, but in a more three-dimensional way. What’s your purpose; what do you aspire to bring to the world? What kind of a culture do you want to create in order to do that? What will the organization look, feel and sound like if you’re embodying that mission and culture? How will you measure success? And then, once you’ve clarified your hoped-for future, consistently focus on keeping that vision top of mind and working together to achieve it.

I’ve worked with client organizations that do those two things, and people stay and thrive. I’ve worked with and observed client organizations that don’t – and it’s a revolving door. And that’s true at all levels – not just for “top talent.”

It’s fascinating to me: Why don’t more CEOs and their teams make sure these two things happen in their organizations? What do you think?

Click here to read the original article.

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10 Job Interview Tips from a CEO Headhunter

The following article is an excerpt from author Russell Reynolds’ book Heads: Business Lessons from an Executive Search Pioneer, as featured on Fast Company.

Whether you’re being interviewed to be an intern or a CEO, you’re going to run into a few notoriously tricky questions–here’s a road map of what you’ll be asked, and how to craft impressive answers to even the toughest questions.

job interview tips

No two situations are ever exactly the same, but as a general guide, these are the types of questions that could come up in a typical interview.

1. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?

This question, often the interview opener, has a crucial objective: to see how you handle yourself in unstructured situations. The recruiter wants to see how articulate you are, how confident you are, and generally what type of impression you would make on the people with whom you come into contact on the job. The recruiter also wants to learn about the trajectory of your career and to get a sense of what you think is important and what has caused you to perform well.

Most candidates find this question a difficult one to answer. However, the upside is that this question offers an opportunity to describe yourself positively and focus the interview on your strengths. Be prepared to deal with it.

There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, “What do you want to know?” You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it, and be able to deliver it with poise and confidence.

The right response is twofold: focus on what interests the interviewer, and highlight your most important accomplishments.

Focus on what interests the interviewer

Do not dwell on your personal history–that is not why you are there. Start with your most recent employment and explain why you are well qualified for the position. The key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. You want to be selling what the buyer is buying.

Highlight Important Accomplishments

Have a story ready that illustrates your best professional qualities. For example, if you tell an interviewer that people describe you as creative, provide a brief story that shows how you have been creative in achieving your goals.

Stories are powerful and are what people remember most.

A good interviewee will memorize a 60-second commercial that clearly demonstrates why he or she is the best person for the job.

2. How long have you been with your current (or former) employer?

This is a hot-button question if your résumé reflects considerable job-hopping. Excellent performers tend to stay in their jobs at least three to five years. They implement course corrections, bring in new resources, and, in general, learn how to survive–that’s why they are valued by prospective employers.

If your résumé reflects jobs with companies that were acquired, moved, closed, or downsized, it is still viewed as a job-hopper’s history. Volunteer and go to events where hiring authorities may be found. Ratchet up your networking to include anything that exposes you to hiring authorities who can get past your tenure issue because now they know you. Your networking efforts have never been so important.

3. What is your greatest weakness?

An impressive and confident response shows that the candidate has prepared for the question, has done serious self-reflection, and can admit responsibility and accept constructive criticism. Sincerely give an honest answer (but not a long one), be confident in the fact that this weakness does not make you any less of a great candidate, and show that you are working on this weakness and tell the recruiter how.

4. Tell me about a situation where you did not get along with a superior.

The wrong answer to this hot-button question is, “I’ve been very fortunate and have never worked for someone I didn’t get along with.”

Everyone has had situations where he or she disagreed with a boss, and saying that you haven’t forces the recruiter to question your integrity. Also, it can send out a signal that the candidate is not seasoned enough or hasn’t been in situations that require him or her to develop a tough skin or deal with confrontation.

It’s natural for people to have differing opinions. When this has occurred in the past, you could explain that you presented your reasons and openly listened to other opinions as well.

5. Describe a situation where you were part of a failed project.

If you can’t discuss a failure or mistake, the recruiter might conclude that you don’t possess the depth of experience necessary to do the job. The recruiter is not looking for perfection. He or she is trying better to understand your level of responsibility, your decision-making process, and your ability to recover from a mistake, as well as what you learned from the experience and if you can take responsibility for your mistakes.

Respond that you’d like to think that you have learned something valuable from every mistake you have made. Then have a brief story ready with a specific illustration.
It should conclude on a positive note, with a concrete statement about what you learned and how it benefited the company.

6. What are your strengths?

Describe two or three skills you have that are relevant to the job. Avoid clichés or generalities; offer specific evidence. Describe new ways these skills could be put to use in the position you are being considered for.

7. How do you explain your job success?

Be candid without sounding arrogant. Mention observations other people have made about your work strengths or talents.

8. What do you do when you are not working?

The more senior the position, the more important it is to know about the candidate’s qualities that will impact his or her leadership style: is the person well adjusted and happy, or is he or she a company zealot?

Discuss hobbies or pursuits that interest you, such as sports, clubs, cultural activities, and favorite things to read.

Avoid dwelling on any political or religious activities that may create conflict with those of the interviewer.

9. Why did you leave your last position?

At high levels, issues that relate to personality and temperament become more important than they might otherwise. The recruiter wants to know if you will fit in with the client company. The recruiter may also be fishing for signs of conflict that indicate a potential personality problem.

Be honest and straightforward, but do not dwell on any conflict that may have occurred. Highlight positive developments that resulted from your departure, whether it was that you accepted a more challenging position or learned an important lesson that helped you to be happier in your next job.

10. Why do you want to work in this industry?

Think of a story to tell about how you first became interested in this type of work. Point out any similarities between the job you’re interviewing for and your current job. Provide proof that you aren’t simply shopping in this interview. Make your passion for your work a theme that you allude to continually throughout the interview.

Click here to read the original article.
[Image: Flickr user Steven Meyer-Rassow]

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3 Tips for Creating a Hospital Strategic Plan in Times of Uncertainty

The following article by Sabrina Rodak was featured on Becker’s Hospital Review.

hospital strategic planA hospital’s strategic plan describes the organization’s long-term goals and how it will reach those goals. With the healthcare industry in a state of flux — the Supreme Court may strike down part or all of the healthcare reform law — hospitals may have difficulty predicting how the facility will have to operate in the future to be successful. However, strategic plans need to be built to withstand the changes of time; objectives need to align closely with the hospital’s overall mission to ensure success regardless of specific legislation or trends. John Stanton, executive consultant for healthcare management consulting firm Beacon Partners, shares three tips for creating a strong strategic plan in the face of uncertainty.

1. Get back to the basics. “There is a scramble to update strategic plans to address the many changes [in the healthcare industry], but that is a mistake,” Mr. Stanton says. “Leadership needs to look to the basics. Strategic planning is not about addressing the here and now, but the future.” Some basic elements of a strategic plan include mission, vision and value statements; a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis; and alignment with the organization’s identity.

2. Look to other industries. When developing a strategic plan in an uncertain economic and regulatory environment, hospital leaders should look to other industries for inspiration, according to Mr. Stanton. For example, he says organizations that survived the changes in the financial industry were nimble. “In healthcare, you need to make nimbleness a strategic value of your organization with the onslaught of changes,” he says. “For instance: How engaged is your organization with ICD-10 changes? Do you view it as a threat or an opportunity? Is your culture strong enough to embrace the changes? Are your processes and systems documented and indoctrinated well enough to adapt quickly?”

3. Include technology planning. Hospitals should integrate technology capabilities into their strategic plans to create tactics for meeting long-term goals. “If your organization is like most in healthcare, technology management is run as almost a separate entity or a necessary evil. This is a mistake. Good strategic planning aligns the organizational goals with the technology that can help enable it,” Mr. Stanton says.

Click here to read the original article.

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What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast

Whether you’re a healthcare leader job candidate or are already holding down an important position, everybody’s looking for ways to be more successful.

Ever wonder how the most successful people do it? Here are a few insider secrets, from an article by author Laura Vanderkam featured on Fast Company:

habits of successful peopleMornings are a great time for getting things done. You’re less likely to be interrupted than you are later in the day. Your supply of willpower is fresh after a good night’s sleep. That makes it possible to turn personal priorities like exercise or strategic thinking into reality.
But if you’ve got big goals–and a chaotic a.m. schedule–how can you make over your mornings to make these goals happen? Follow these steps and you’re on your way to building morning habits that stick.

1. Track Your Time

Part of spending your time better is knowing how you’re spending it now. If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you know that nutritionists tell you to keep a food journal because it keeps you from eating mindlessly. It’s the same with time. Write down what you’re doing as often as you can. Use a spreadsheet, a Word document, or a pad and pen.

While measuring your mornings, try tracking your whole week. The reason? The solution to morning dilemmas often lies at other times of the day. You may be too tired because you’re staying up late. But if you look at how you’re spending your nights, you’ll notice that you’re not doing anything urgent. The Daily Show can be recorded and watched earlier–possibly while you’re on the treadmill at 6:30 a.m.

As for the mornings themselves, you can be organized but still not be spending them well. Question your assumptions. You may believe that “a man who wants to keep his job gets into the office before his boss” because that’s what your father did, but your boss may be disappointed that he doesn’t get the place to himself for an hour first! If you decide that something is a top priority, do it, but understand that we have to do few things in life.

2. Picture the Perfect Morning

After you know how you’re spending your time, ask yourself what a great morning would look like. For me, it would start with a run, followed by a hearty family breakfast. After getting people out the door, I’d focus on long-term projects like my books. Here are some other ideas for morning enrichment:

For personal growth:

  • Read through a religious text: Sacred texts can teach us about human nature and history, even if they’re not from a religion you subscribe to. If they are, pray or meditate and get to know your beliefs in a deeper way.
  • Train for something big: Aiming to complete a half-marathon, a triathlon, or a long bike ride will keep you inspired as you take your fitness to the next level.
  • Do art projects with your kids:. Mornings don’t have to be a death march out the door. Enjoy your time with your little ones at a time of day when you all have more patience.

For professional growth:

  • Strategize: In an age of constant connectivity, people complain of having no time to think. Use your mornings to picture what you want your career and organization to look like in the future.
  • Read articles in professional journals: Benefit from other people’s research and strategic thinking, and gain new insights into your field.
  • Take an online class: If a job or career change is in your future, a self-paced class can keep your skills sharp.

3. Think Through the Logistics

How could this vision mesh with the life you have? Don’t assume you have to add it on top of the hours you already spend getting ready or that you’ll have to get to work earlier. If you fill the morning hours with important activities you’ll crowd out things that are more time intensive than they need to be. Map out a morning schedule. What time would you have to get up and what time do you need to go to bed to get enough sleep? As for the mornings themselves, what would make your ritual easier? Do you need to set your easel next to your bed? Can you find a more cheerful alarm clock or one you can’t turn off so easily?

It’s easy to believe our own excuses, particularly if they’re good ones. Come up with a plan and assemble what you need, but whatever you do, don’t label this vision as impossible

4. Build the Habit

This is the most important step. Turning a desire into a ritual requires willpower. Use these fives steps to optimize your routine:

  • Start slowly: Go to bed and wake up fifteen minutes earlier for a few days until this new schedule seems doable.
  • Monitor your energy: Building a new habit takes effort, so take care of yourself while you’re trying. Eat right, eat enough, and surround yourself with supportive people who want to see you succeed.
  • Choose one new habit at a time to introduce: If you want to run, pray, and write in a journal, choose one of these and make it a habit before adding another.
  • Chart your progress: Habits take weeks to establish, so keep track of how you’re doing for at least thirty days. Once skipping a session feels like you forgot something–like forgetting to brush your teeth–you can take your ritual up a notch.
  • Feel free to use bribery: Eventually habits produce their own motivation, but until then, external motivations like promising yourself concert tickets can keep you moving forward. And keep in mind that your morning rituals shouldn’t be of the self-flagellation variety. Choose things you enjoy: your before-breakfast ritual has the potential to become your favorite part of the day.

5. Tune Up as Necessary

Life changes. Sometimes we have to regroup, but the goal is to replace any rituals that no longer work with new ones that make you feel like every day is full of possibility.

That is ultimately the amazing thing about mornings–they always feel like a new chance to do things right. A win scored then creates a cascade of success. The hopeful hours before most people eat breakfast are too precious to be blown on semiconscious activities. You can do a lot with those hours. Whenever I’m tempted to say I don’t have time for something, I remind myself that if I wanted to get up early, I could. These hours are available to all of us if we choose to use them.

So how would you like to use your mornings? This important question requires careful thinking. But once you decide, small rituals can accomplish great things. When you make over your mornings, you can make over your life. That is what the most successful people know.

Click here to read the original article.
[Image: Flickr user Arvind Grover]

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5 Steps to an E-friendly Resume

online resumesWe wanted to share this helpful article we found on how to format online resumes.

Today’s Internet-driven world has changed the way we look and apply for jobs. Gone are the days of handwritten cover letters, typewritten résumés and hand-delivered job applications. Given the increasing number of online job boards that require Web-based applications, many employers don’t want a hard copy of your résumé. Instead, they’ll ask you to submit an electronic résumé, either online or via e-mail.

Electronic résumés are plain text or HTML documents, which can also be included in the body of an e-mail for job applications online. It may not be as attractive as your word-formatted résumé in all its bulleted, bold-text, fancy-font glory, but it gets the job done.

Why you need one

When an employer asks you to submit your application materials via e-mail or online, your résumé will be entered into an automated applicant-tracking system. These systems don’t care what your résumé looks like physically, which is why it’s imperative you reformat yours so the database can read it. The system will scan your résumé (along with hundreds of others), keeping those with keywords similar to the company’s job descriptions and discarding the rest.

Make sure you keep a hard (and visually appealing) copy of your résumé on hand – not all employers are up-to-date on the latest technologies and may still require a paper copy. Plus, you’ll need one to give to employers at all of your interviews.

Here are five easy steps to format your existing résumé into an e-friendly work of art.

1. Remove all formatting from your original résumé.
Unfortunately, the same formatting that makes your résumé nice to look at makes it almost impossible for a computer to understand.

To remove the formatting, open your word-processed résumé and choose the “Save As” option under the “File” tab on your toolbar. Save the document type as Plain Text or Text Only. In the following dialog box, choose the option to insert line breaks.

2. Use Notepad, WordPad or SimpleText to reformat.
Close your original résumé document and reopen the text version using editing software like Notepad, WordPad or SimpleText. Your text version should be free of most graphic elements, like fancy fonts, lines and bullets. Text should be flush with the left side of the document.

3. Stick to a simple font and style.
Use clear, sans-serif fonts, like Courier, Arial or Helvetica. This way, the computer won’t mistake your fancy lettering for a jumbled word.

Use a 12-point font; anything smaller won’t scan well. Also, stay away from italics or underlining. Rather than using boldface type, try using capital letters to separate sections like education and experience.

Instead of using bullets, use such standard keyboard characters as an asterisk or a dash. Instead of using the “Tab” key, use the space key to indent. Make sure all headings – like your name, address, phone and e-mail – appear on separate lines, with a blank line before and after.

4. Apply keywords.
Applicant-tracking systems scan résumés for keywords that match the company’s job descriptions. Fill your résumé accordingly with such words (as they pertain to your experience), but remember that using the same word five times won’t increase your chances of getting called in for an interview.

Place the most important words first, since the scanner may be limited in the number of words it reads. Use nouns instead of verbs. For example: “communications specialist,” “sales representative” or “computer proficiency” is better than “managed,” “developed” or “generated.”

Additionally, avoid abbreviations as best you can. Spell out phrases like “bachelor of science” or “master of business administration.”

5. Test it out.
After you’ve reformatted your résumé into a text document, make sure it really is e-friendly. Practice sending your new résumé via e-mail to yourself, as well as friends who use a different Internet service provider. For example, if you use AOL, send it a friend who uses MSN Hotmail.

Send your e-résumé pasted in the body of an e-mail, rather as an attachment. Have your friend alert you to any errors that show when they open it, like illegibility and organization. After getting feedback, make any necessary adjustments.

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10 Evolving Issues for Hospitals and Healthcare Systems

The following is a summary of an article in Becker’s Hospital Review:

Leaders For TodayHealthcare continues to rapidly evolve in 2012. The following are 10 emerging issues which are significant for hospitals and physicians right now:

1. Macro 2012 developments – Between the Supreme Court decision on Health Care Reform Act constitutionality, the presidential election, and a great deal of overall uncertainty in the markets as to the direction of the country and the healthcare sector, 2012 will be an interesting year. Many independent hospitals and independent practices need to take a deep breath and really assess their situation before aggressively moving forward to give up their independence.

2. Community hospital sales and consolidation – The amount of mergers and acquisitions increased substantially in 2011 compared with 2010, and the dollar volume of transactions also increased substantially in 2011. There should continue to be an uptick in the number of acquisitions by hospitals of hospitals and physician practices in 2012.

Due to the changing healthcare environment, the boards of many community hospitals are experiencing fear that leads to an unprecedented willingness to engage in potential sales of hospitals to national chains or larger systems.

3. Physician independence – A recent survey indicates that 46 percent of physicians are interested in hospital employment. However, despite the hospital pressure to accept employment, the independent orthopedists seem to be weathering the changes fairly well. The survey found that 56 percent of physicians want to more closely align with a hospital in order to increase their income, yet 20 percent of physicians surveyed said they don’t trust hospitals, while another 57 percent only “sometimes” trust hospitals.

4. Professional services agreement – A number of health systems are considering entering into professional services agreements with physicians and physician groups. Unlike traditional service agreements, in which a person is hired for a specific function or for limited service, PSAs allow the facility to work with the doctors, and permit doctors to keep their independence while the hospital can build in quality measures to help create greater alignment for the physician with the hospital’s goal. A PSA takes the shape and look of employment with the health system typically purchasing a substantial amount of a physician’s overall time, but the physician or practice retains its independence, and if the deal doesn’t go well, then the doctor can go back to private practice. PSAs continue to grow in popularity as an option for increasing integration with a number of specialties, while also enabling physicians to maintain private practice.

5. Increased governmental investigations – 2011 brought about significant increases in governmental investigations of physician-hospital relationships, false claims, and billing and coding claims. With increased integration of both providers and of payors, additional antitrust claims are bound to arise, and with more healthcare fraud investigators on the street, increases in Anti-Kickback investigations are sure to happen.

6. Privileges and disputes – There has been an increase in peer review disputes involving physicians and hospitals. Perhaps the Health Care Quality Improvement Act has resulted in abuses of the peer review system through the courts.

7. Exclusive relationships between hospitals and payors – Hospitals and health systems with great market positions are again looking at exclusive relationships with payors. Such relationships threaten to become a substantial issue for independent surgery centers, physician practices and competing hospitals.

8. Ambulatory surgery center transactions, out-of-network, going public and more – The surgery center industry saw a great number of transactions involving national companies and hospitals buying surgery centers, big chains partnering with hospitals to acquire centers, big chains buying centers without hospital partners, and a couple of the large chains showing continued interest in acquiring physician-owned hospitals. Payors have taken more aggressive action against out-of-network patients and have been scrambling for independent physicians to fill slots in surgery centers.

9. Pioneer ACOs – The Pioneer ACO Model will test the impact of different payment arrangements in helping accountable care organizations achieve quality and cost goals. The Department of Health and Human Services made a wise decision by making the process of testing the ACO model more manageable for health systems. Time will tell whether the ACO model will endure as a significant part of the healthcare landscape.

10. Opting out of Medicare – Notwithstanding the difficult economy, many physicians  have decided to opt out of Medicare. This trend is occurring more frequently in certain specialties in which physicians are not overly reliant on Medicare business or hospital referrals. The decision to opt out of Medicare often comes from physicians who have built tremendous brands and franchises and who can afford to not take Medicare patients. Interestingly, despite opting-out of Medicare, many of these physicians nevertheless continue to see Medicare patients on either a pro bono basis or through other means.

Click here to read the full Becker’s article.

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Things to Never Put on Your Resume

writing a resumeEveryone knows there are a lot of unemployed people out there.

Since the market far exceeds demand, how do you make sure you get past the resume screening process and secure a job interview? The answer: make sure your resume is flawless.

Career experts believe that 95 to 99% of resumes contain information that shouldn’t or doesn’t need to be on there. A job applicant shouldn’t include anything that distracts the reader from his/her real accomplishments. Resumes should be concise and clear.

Here are a few tips from career experts that will help make sure your resume doesn’t get tossed in the bin:

  1. Get rid of the “Objective”. If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job.
  2. Cut out irrelevant work experiences.
  3. Eliminate personal information like social security numbers, marital status, and religious preference.
  4. Keep your resume short. Prospective employers don’t have time to read much.
  5. Don’t list your hobbies.
  6. Don’t give them the chance to guess your age.
  7. Don’t write your resume in the third person.
  8. Don’t necessarily include references (unless you’ve told them ahead of time that a future employer might be calling). They can ask for references if they need them.
  9. Don’t include a less-than-professional email account. Make a new one. It takes minutes and it’s free.
  10. There is no need to identify your phone number by putting the word “phone” in front of the actual number.
  11. Don’t include your current business contact information unless you want prospective employers calling or emailing you at work.

Click here for more resume-writing tips.

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