John is an executive recruiter & speaker sharing his thoughts on healthcare, recruiting, digital technology, career management & leadership. 

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Michael Lewis: Boomerang: Travels in the New Third WorldMichael Lewis: Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World Next up on my reading list. Lewis, author of Liar's Poker, The Big Short and Money B
7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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17 April, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare, Recruiting
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Making It Personal – Part II

Posted April 17th, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

This is a follow up to John Self’s previous post titled Impact Patient Safety By Making It Personal.

NEW YORK — The secret to improving quality of care and enhancing patient safety and best-in-class executive recruiting have more in common than meets the eye.

Doctor holding heartIt’s called personal accountability with a heavy dose of outcome ownership.

I firmly believe that quality of care and patient safety will not improve until healthcare clinicians and support staff treat each patient as a beloved member of their family or best friend with the knowledge that harm would be unbearable.  That is not a new position for me.  I think the quality of care and patient safety gurus are simply — and unsuccessfully — overthinking the whole issue.  I believe that if we make it personal, patients will be safer.

In the executive search industry, I often find that there can be an appalling lack of concern for the candidates and little or no ownership of the outcome. For the most part it is all about the transaction, assertions of many search firms to the contrary.

Before I became a recruiter I was, like everyone else, a candidate who found myself frustrated with the process — inadequate knowledge of the job or the client and bad communication.  I never had a sense that there was any concern for me personally.  All too often candidates are treated as not much more than inventory necessary for the partners to earn a fee.

Only when recruiters demonstrate through words and actions that they are as concerned for the candidate as they are for the client who is paying the tab will you see a vast improvement in executive recruiting. Withholding information from candidates about an employer because it will make “the close” easier to achieve is a fairly common practice, candidates say.  The defense, “I didn’t know,” or, “you should have learned that yourself,” is hardly adequate for misguided priorities.  Relocating a candidate into a position in which they will fail can have not only catastrophic career and family consequences for him or her but huge expenses and frustrations for the employer as well. Before recruiters move in for a quick close so that they can go on to the next deal, they should picture the candidate as a best childhood friend or anyone else they care about deeply.

When we make it personal with the candidates and the clients, when we think about the adverse consequences that our mistakes or indifference can bring,  everyone benefits.

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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15 April, 2015 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare, Leadership
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CEO, Physicians and Compensation – It’s Not Just About The Money

Posted April 15th, 2015 | Author: John G. Self

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — While the money we make for the work we do is important, we must always remember to maintain perspective as these four vignettes reveal.

  • A top interim physician CEO, a JohnGSelf + Partners team member, did not start his career in medicine.  He was an accountant who earned a CPA but came to realize that it was not satisfying work so he asked his father-in-law, a physician, what he would advise.  His father-in-law responded that being a doctor was wonderfully rewarding work, one of the best decisions of his life.  But do not do it for the money, he advised.  Do it for the rich rewards you gain by helping people.compensation
  • With a growing shortage of physicians, especially in primary care, the demand for doctors will only intensify over the next 10 years, prompting some organizations and recruiters to throw money at candidates in hopes of beating off overtures from other hospitals.  Do not fall prey to the money pit game of can you top this.  In the end, physicians are akin to any other top employee — it is not always about the money.  Benefits, the life-work balance, and how they are valued by their employers is even more important.  Cash cannot buy physician contentment or loyalty, at least not for the physicians you would want to have on your staff.
  • A general surgeon who practiced his entire career on the East Coast without a malpractice lawsuit, or even a hint of litigation, said that if something went wrong, honesty and doing the right thing were his guide.  If he made a mistake, despite advice from some risk managers to the contrary, he apologized.  He said the apology made the difference.  Meanwhile, he said that he avoided the worst risks of making an error by avoiding cases taken only for the money.  “I have learned that physicians who focus on the money never have enough and are rarely satisfied with their professional lives.  Those who stay focused on the patient and the mission of why they entered medicine, are happier and typically just as financially secure.”
  • Recently, a CEO, engaged in negotiations for his employment contract renewal, was relentless in trying to get the best deal (read: the most money possible).  He wanted to be in the top 3 percent of other CEOs at similar sized hospitals.  Several members of the medical staff served on the board.  They had a front row seat to his continuous demands.  The irony here is that the CEO had just pushed back on increasing physician compensation, in a couple of cases, fairly substantially.  In the end, the CEO got his money but lost the respect of his medical staff leadership.  During the often rancorous negotiations he seemed impervious to the physician board members sensitivities.  They, in turn, did not turn a blind eye.

How we deal with compensation issues tells those around us what our true values are.

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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  1. Dan Ford says:

    Thoughtful post, John! Am in agreement on all.
    Dan Ford

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13 April, 2015 Posted by Nancy Swain Posted in Career Management
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Find Your Voice

Posted April 13th, 2015 | Author: Nancy Swain

We’ve all heard the sayings, “music makes the world go round”, “life is but a song”, and “that’s music to my ears”. While watching the TV show The Voice, it occurred to me that many of the elements of this show are analogous to writing a resume that must strike a chord with the reader.

Find Your VoiceOn The Voice each singer goes through a 90-second blind audition. The judges have their chairs turned so their backs face the performer who must convince the judges of their talent using ONLY their voice – no appearance, no back-story, no performance quality. If they succeed, the judges turn their chairs around – maybe all four judges, maybe only one, but that’s all it takes. It’s a one shot deal that could be life changing for the performer.

When you submit your resume for a potential job that is YOUR blind audition. Like the musicians auditioning on The Voice, the choice of what you submit must resonate. Each judge is listening for a uniqueness that compels them to turn their chair around. As the judges team is developed, much like the executive team you may be trying to join, the quality or style they are looking for might change.

You must think of submitting your resume for a particular position like a musician with a 90-seconds to compel the reader to give you the opportunity for the next step. It must be in harmony with what the they are looking for. The lead in on your resume must resonate, be on key, and make the reader feel a harmonious connection to your skills so they “turn their chair around”. It must outperform the competition.

In today’s business world, no matter the industry, there is a lot of qualified competition. Your resume must connect by connecting it to the skills, values, and needs of the judges you cannot see. Like music, it is very personal – as it is for the recruiter and the job hunter. We don’t all like the same music. One score does not fit all. We usually know very quickly if a tune or style resonates with our “listening”. So does the reader of your resume.

Most people with long impressive careers think that sending a full orchestra symphonic score will get their attention. It doesn’t. Less is more. As we get older and wiser, we learn it takes less to make a lasting impression. Relevance is so important. Can you imagine Gone with the Wind, the movie albeit set in the south, with a country musical score?

So, when you are “blind auditioning” for your next position, here are few tips to help you write a winning sonata that could strike a chord and be “music to their ears” so they “turn their chairs around!”

C – Composition
Can the reader determine in 90 seconds how your skills and experience tie to their needs? Do they know the “key” immediately?

A –Articulation
Is your resume “tenuto”? As in music, can they hold the notes for their full value, and the value is relevant to their needs.

R – Readable
Are the “notes” written on the staff reader friendly, concise and clear?

E – Examples
Do you provide clear and concise examples that are relevant and mnemonic?

E – Embellishment
In music it is an ornament to add interest. Not a good idea on your resume. Be truthful.

R – Rhythm
Does your resume and cover letter reflect that you have done your research so you understand the rhythm the score requested and you’ve rehearsed?

rp_NancyHeadshot.jpgNancy Swain is a member of the JohnGSelf + Partners transition coaching team, leading the Transition/Outplacement practice and advising clients on candidate profiles. She is also President of Strategic Intelligence in Dallas.  You can reach Nancy at

© 2015 John Gregory Self

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