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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15 September, 2014 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management
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Smelly Feet and Bad Breath: Are You Practicing Personal Awareness?

Posted September 15th, 2014 | Author: John G. Self

Personal awareness seems like a straightforward proposition.


iStock_000010560711SmallTruth be told, personal self awareness really falls into the category of mysterious.  We all want to believe we are very aware of who we are, ever so sensitive to how we are being perceived.

If only… If only we were as good it as we would like to believe.

Much has been written about emotional intelligence.  Well, I wish we could create a personal awareness intelligence chart.  Sadly, far too many leaders will embarrassingly find themselves ranked somewhere between their blindside and that guy with smelly feet and bad breath.

While the majority of leaders aren’t that guy, this is no time to become complacent.

As you work to build a deep reservoir of support and goodwill with your board, physicians, employees and key stakeholders, tuning in to this self awareness concept is pretty darned important.

Here are five questions to consider when thinking about your self awareness.

  1. Do you regularly ask for feedback from members of your leadership team?
  2. Do you have the trust relationship that will allow them to be honest with you?
  3. Do you regularly make rounds, or hold no bosses allowed luncheons to ask your employees for their candid input?
  4. Do they trust you enough to tell you what they are thinking, even if the truth stings a bit?
  5. Do you have a leadership coach/confidant that you regularly bring in to help you stay on top of this issue?

This is not the time to assume that your employees respect you today and will follow you tomorrow.

Turnover in the hospital CEO ranks is increasing and it is not all Baby Boomers heading for peaceful greener pastures.

© 2014 John Gregory Self

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12 September, 2014 Posted by Becky Pearce Posted in Career Management
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Building Your Personal Brand Online

Posted September 12th, 2014 | Author: Becky Pearce

The use of the word “branding” has grown and evolved over the years.  One of the key ways is in regard to personal branding — the practice of marketing ourselves and our careers as a brand.  This may seem extreme, but in this world of connectedness we have access to more information about each other than ever.  It’s important to BUILD your brand in a way that reflects who you are and what you want others to know about you and then to MONITOR and PROTECT it.

iStock_000034871156SmallIn this post, I am going to cover the best ways to build your personal brand online and then next week I will cover how to monitor and protect it.



The first thing I recommend is doing a Google Search for your own name.  This may seem like putting the cart before the horse since we haven’t discussed building your online brand, but it’s very likely there is already information out there about you.  Understanding what currently exists will help you to determine where you need to start.

Go to and enter your name in the search box.  I recommend using quotes — ie. “Becky Pearce” — to help filter out results that aren’t relevant.  If you have a formal name — ie. “Rebecca Pearce” — search for it as well.  Create a spreadsheet and drop in the following information for each of the results:

  • What is the URL for the site?
  • Is it controlled by you or someone else?
  • Is the content positive or negative?
  • It is the image you want to portray?
  • If it is negative, what is your plan for addressing it?  You won’t always be able to change or remove negative content, but it’s always worth a try.



Now that you have an idea of what already exists, start creating a profile of what you WANT people to see and know about you.  To get started, create a document and answer the following questions:

  • What is your area of expertise?  Keep this as simple as possible.
  • What descriptive words would you like people to associate with you and the work you do?
  • What makes you stand out from others in your field/industry?
  • What are your key career accomplishments?

Now use this information to create two documents that will serve as the building blocks for your online brand:

  1. YOUR RESUME: Your resume should always be kept up to date — whether you’re looking for work or not.  You need to be sure it reflects your latest work and accomplishments and portrays the brand you outlined in the previous step.
  2. YOUR PERSONAL BRANDING STATEMENT: This is a short and sweet, hit-em-hard snapshot of who you are and what you stand for beyond just your work history.  Use your answers to the questions above to determine what this should say.  It should summarize what you are the best at, who you serve and how you do it uniquely.  Keep in mind, this should be a statement of who you ARE, and not who you WANT to be.

These two documents should drive any content you put online about yourself and, as a result, should be updated at least every 3 months.



Now go back to the list of sites you created earlier in the process and update the sites that you control so they match your resume and personal branding statement.  This should include social media sites you use (especially LinkedIn), your website, job search websites you have your resume listed on, etc.  Also be sure you send your updated resume to any recruiters you’ve interacted with in the past.  Most recruiters keep a database of potential candidates and their resumes, so if there have been any major changes, you’ll want to make sure they have the latest and greatest information.

For the sites you don’t control, determine what needs to be done to update that content so it matches as well.  It may not be an easy process, but it’s always worth trying to ensure brand consistency.

Questions about any of this?  Please leave a comment or send us an email at and come back to visit next week to find out how to continuously monitor and keep your online brand up-to-date.


BeckyHeadshot-lowBecky Pearce is a member of the JohnGSelf + Partners transition coaching team.  Ms Pearce specializes in social media consulting.  She also leads her own Firm, Pearce Social.

© 2014 John Gregory Self

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10 September, 2014 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management
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Interim Executive: Potentially Attractive Career Option

Posted September 10th, 2014 | Author: John G. Self

While the job market may be tightening for healthcare C-Suite positions, coupled with intense competition for those jobs that do become available, there is one career segment that will probably see significant growth over the next five years:  interim executives.

Businessman and business sketchFor executives who have a solid record of performance in financial and operational improvement, this may be an attractive, and potentially lucrative career option.

The equation for this prediction is fairly straightforward: change brings turmoil; turmoil creates instability; instability breeds operating and financial problems, which in turn fuels executive turnover.  And turnover breeds opportunity.  This year there has been a steady uptick in the need for interim/turnaround executives.  Many industry prognosticators that I talk with believe that this trend will only increase over the next five to seven years.

As a cautionary note, the competition for this work (like executive search) has always been intense, from the large national firms to recruiting agencies and independent executives, but for those who have a great story to tell, healthcare reform may turn out to be a professionally rewarding and lucrative gift from Washington.

Ideally, you can go after the work as a free agent, contracting directly with a board or the controlling entity.  Or, you can work as a sub contractor for one of the national firms who routinely sell this service and offer a plethora of expertise and consulting resources.  If you are contacted by one or two of the national recruiting firms that engage in this service, be aware that you might be unpleasantly surprised in how little of their fee you can command.

Here is a list of questions that may help you decide whether this lucrative career track is for you:

  1. Do you have 10 to 15 years of experience in a C-suite position in a variety of organizations — scope, size and complexity?
  2. Can you illustrate that your record of accomplishments is relevant: materially improving clinical, operational and financial performance?
  3. Can you demonstrate that you are politically savvy with a record of effective relationships with board members, physicians and employees?
  4. Do you have, or are you willing to aggressively build, a large network of potential referral contacts: partners in consulting and audit firms, for example.  Do you have a database that can you help you stay in touch with these contacts?  Are you willing to invest the time to expand that network to help you build ties with potential market targets/future customers?
  5. Are you willing to invest the time to build a strong knowledge leader brand on LinkedIn or other social media sites?
  6. Are you comfortable with self promotion, including making unsolicited telephone sales calls?
  7. Do you have the patience and physical stamina to be a road warrior?  Typically interim executives get home every other weekend.  More importantly, will your spouse/partner be comfortable with this lifestyle — either living in an apartment near the client’s location or accepting a relationship lifestyle with infrequent time together?
  8. Do you have the confidence and determination not to become discouraged and quit?

This is not a gig for the inexperienced, the faint of heart or those who are uncomfortable appropriately tooting their own horn.  Unless you are extremely well known as a top-flight leader with an amazing record of turnaround performance, this is a business/career strategy that requires a lot of research and communicating — aka self promotion. In short, creating a company, printing business cards, building a professional web page with excellent content and then announcing your existence is the easy part.  Building a productive network of contacts who are in a position and actually willing to help you identify and win engagements is the hard part.  A lot of potential turnaround consultants are good at the former and are mediocre at the latter.


© 2014 John Gregory Self

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