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

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7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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Journaling: An Essential Career Tool for Success

Posted May 3rd, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Today’s podcast will focus on an important tool in supporting a successful career.  It is used by many top executives who swear by its value.  Career Journaling.

John takes this proven tool to a new level.  Using a concept popularized by Dallas-based consultant Rand Stagen, game filming allows executives to review their key decisions and to assess how they could have improved in making the call — what they did right and what part of the process needed improvement.

Whether you are a seasoned executive or an early careerist, we think you will find this podcast of special interest.

The SelfPerspective Team

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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Results or Reasons

Posted May 2nd, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

John is off today.  This is a post from Nov. 30, 2010.

In life we can have results or reasons.  If you are not getting the results you want, your reasons are the lies you keep telling yourself.”                            

— Harald Anders, “Be Realistic: Create a Miracle”

This applies to our careers, our performance, and our relationships.  

“You can argue with this statement,” Mr. Anderson wrote, “But it will be like wrestling with the wind, it will keep you iStock_000029452556Smallbusy, but you will not get anywhere.”

A great friend, a genuinely nice man who I admire enormously, was frustrated by a sudden change of events. After a successful and principled tenure at a public hospital, he resigned over what he felt were troubling ethical governance issues. He went on to interview for other jobs, all without result. He was smart, intelligent and experienced. He had impressive recommendations –some of the best I have seen in my search career — and a 25-plus year record of accomplishment in a branch of the armed forces medical service corps.   However he decided to retire rather than endure any more unsuccessful executive searches.

When it was suggested that he hire a career coach to improve his interviewing skills my friend responded with pent-up frustration, that he had been successfully advancing his career for all his professional life and did not see a need to change his style or approach at this stage of his career.  In other words, what worked in the past should apply today.

What a shame. What a loss for the hospital management industry. What my friend apparently did not consider was that his military career DID NOT prepare him for the rigors of the civilian market search process, including competitive interviewing.  

In dozens of interviews with former Army, Air Force and Navy healthcare professionals I learned that advancement in the military is based almost solely on past performance and relationships, not the actual interview with a new commanding officer. Former military officers say, almost without exception, that their success in advancing in the civilian market was due to two things: performance, and improving their interviewing skills.  

This rule also applies to executives who have risen in their careers through the civilian ranks. The rules of career management, including networking and interviewing skills, have changed dramatically over the past five to seven years. What worked for career advancement earlier in your career, probably will not be effective today. New interviewing techniques, web-based networking tools, search engines that collect and store information regarding your accomplishments or failures, and performance expectations come together to make this an entirely different game.   

In an increasingly difficult employment environment, with fewer jobs due to market consolidation and reductions in the number of leadership positions in anticipation of the impending cuts in Medicare funding, career/ personal brand management  – exceptional performance, great presence, solid communication/interviewing skills and laser-like honesty regarding areas for self-improvement — will become indispensable qualities.  

Pushing back on this reality will only lead to early retirement or a new career. 

My friend did not see the need to make the change, but if he had, there is no doubt in my mind he would have become an accomplished physician CEO. Do not let your ego or a stubborn streak allow others to shape your career.

That is a rule that applies to us all, not just to my friend.

“At the end of each day, you should play back the tapes of your performance. The results should either applaud you or prod you.”         

                                                       – Jim Rohn

SelfPerspective Podcast with JGSP logoJoin John tomorrow for his podcast on the value of career journaling.  He believes that keeping a journal can be one of the most valuable things an executive can do. Listen and learn why.

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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28 April, 2016 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Healthcare, Leadership
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Moneyball Is Coming to Healthcare

Posted April 28th, 2016 | Author: John G. Self

Moneyball is coming to healthcare.  At last.

It is no secret — at least among those who are willing to be honest about our industry’s failings — that healthcare is Moneyball Book Photodecades behind other business sectors, especially when it comes to using analytics to predict future needs and estimate costs.

This was the theme of Karyn Hede’s fine article in HHN Magazine earlier this month.

“Moneyball: The Art of Winning An Unfair Game” is Michael Lewis’ wonderful read on baseball’s use of analytics in the remaking of a small market team with limited financial resources that lost it star players to expensive free agent contracts. 

We are talking about the Oakland Athletics in 2002.  They went from being a formidable team to the doormat of the American League West.  Enter Wilson Lamar Beane, aka Billy Beane.  Beane, a former player who never lived up to his star billing as a General Manager charged with fielding a competitive team, and with little money to land big-name talent, was forced to look for a different (read: low cost) way to build a viable team. 

Billy_Beane_1989When he started his Moneyball journey, Beane faced a resistant baseball organization that was trapped in the old way of scouting, selecting, and developing players. His management team was filled with scouts and player development personnel who were locked in to a “this is the way it has always been” mentality.  During a meeting in Detroit with the Detroit Tigers GM/President Dave Dombrowski to work a trade, Beane noticed there was a frumpy looking “college kid” who had an amazing lock on players and their performance statistics.  Dombrowski seemed to listen to him.  Later, when Beane made the trade, he told Dombrowski that he had to throw in the Harvard educated analytics kid with the deal.  Done.

That brought the college kid statistician, Paul DePodesta , to Oakland where, with his mastery of stats and algorithms, Paul DePodestathey put together an exciting winning season that took them deep into the playoffs.  Here are a couple of things that you need to know:

  • This new Oakland team had few big name stars.  Many baseball know-it-alls thought they were the laughing-stock of the American League West
  • The Manager, Art Howe, was not a believer in this analytical approach
  • This new team actually won more games in the regular season than the previous Athletics team that was loaded with talent and high-dollar contracts
  • This Sabermetrics team set a Major League Baseball record for the number of consecutive wins, 20
  • It was a magical year for Oakland, baseball, and the idea that data-based decisions could  outperform baseball’s old, established ways

To say that Beane initially experienced pushback from the traditionalists on his staff, including his field manager, would be an understatement.  He had to get rid of some of the conservative believers who were unwilling to give a new way of thinking a chance.

Bill James, considered the father of analytics in baseball —  Sabermetrics — once said, “if you challenge the conventional wisdom, you will find ways to do things much better than they are currently done.”  For the record, Sabermetrics is the empirical analysis of baseball, especially baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. The term, coined by James,  is derived from the acronym SABR, which stands for the Society for American Baseball Research.

Baseball then, and healthcare now, have something in common.  We have a lot of people in decision-making roles who cling to the traditional way of looking at problems and are reluctant to change their approach, leaders of this is the way it has always been.

Well, all ye traditionalists, please note this surprising development:  Eric Topal, MD, director of San Diego Scripps Translational Science Institute,  recently hired the aforementioned SABR guru, Mr. DePodesta, to apply his mastery of data research and analysis to transform the Institute. 

This could be significant.

“In disciplines as disparate as baseball, financial services, trucking and retail, people are realizing the power of data to make better (if not conventional) decisions,” Mr. DePodesta told Ms. Hede for the HHN article.

“Medicine is just beginning to explore this opportunity, but it faces many of the same barriers that existed in those other sectors, including baseball — deeply held traditions, monolithic organizational and operational structures and a psychological resistance to change.”

So if you are entering healthcare, if you enjoy the magic of math, research and developing algorithms to make sense of the fire hydrant of information, this is one of the, if not THE, hottest jobs in healthcare. 

For those of you with these passions and skills and who are understandably turned off by the flexible ethical standards of Wall Street, you need to give healthcare a hard look.

Moneyball’s DePodesta believes healthcare is ripe for change.

© 2016 John Gregory Self

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