In transition? Cast a wide net

If you find yourself in transition one of the worst things you can do is limit your job search. Do not say things like, “I don’t want to live in . . . . that part of the country,” or “That job is too small”. There are several reasons to cast a wide net:

  1. Practice. Getting a job is totally different from doing your job. If you’ve not interviewed in the recent past (6-12 months) you will be rusty. Casting a wide net gives you interview practice.
  2. Confidence. Getting in multiple job searches builds your confidence and confidence sells.
  3. Leverage. Which sounds better- “I have nothing going on,” or “I’ve had 3 interviews in the past two weeks.” The latter makes you look marketable to others.
  4. Networking. Every time you enter a job search you get an opportunity to start meaningful relationships with recruiters, executives and hiring managers. 80% of jobs are won through networking. These relationships pay off in the long run.

You have nothing until you have a job offer. Work to get the cards in your hand and do not ever turn down a job that you don’t have. Cast a wide net in your job search- you will be surprised to see what you catch. For professional help with your transition, please contact us at www.wiederholdassoc.com

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Secrets to Successful Transition

Career transitions can be difficult. The more desirable your next position is, the more competition you will face to secure it.

The top priority of an applicant is to stand out from the crowd. Having a great resume and a strong interview is a great place to start. However, most overlook this simple practice that will cause you to stand out from all other applicants: Follow-Up.

First, you must understand how important follow-up is. A good interview followed by poor follow up will not serve you well. An average interview can be positively impacted by excellent follow-up.

The positive outcomes of post-interview follow-up:

  • Your resume gets shuffled to the top.
  • You demonstrate your level of interest.
  • If what you have provided is effective, you've increased the level of your candidacy.

During your interview process, connect with as many people as possible as it relates to a specific opening. When more people remember you, your chances of securing the position naturally increases. After the interview, it is your responsibility to keep each of those individuals updated throughout the process.

Get Creative

With an active search, the time frame for touch points/follow up should be a minimum of seven calendar days and a maximum of ten calendar days. Use a combination of the four levels of communication: face-to-face, telephone, text/email and regular mail. Everybody has their favorite on the receiving end, so try to mix it up a bit. Whatever combination of communication you choose, don't be afraid to let your personality show.

One of the biggest concerns for individuals in follow-ups beyond neglect is, "Will I be seen as a pest?" Remember, you only become a pest when your intervals of follow-up are too short and you're always requesting response. If you follow-up without forcing an agenda, they will be received very well.

Of course, I have only scratched the surface of effective active search follow-up. If you would like to learn more in-depth tips in finding success through active transition, please connect with me.

Here's to your success!

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Safeguarding your Business History for 2017

One of the most important housekeeping tasks that executives have a tendency to ignore is creating a personal backup of professional achievements. By this I mean the Tier 1 and Tier 2 achievements that show how you have made the organization better.

Many times our clients struggle to come up with hard data for their resume because they neglected their personal information file cabinet. Very often separation is sudden and there is NO chance to look at past strategic plans, or board reports for the numbers or percentages.

Even if a report is confidential to the system you should be writing down your accomplishments somewhere to make sure you have access to your information in the future.

Create and keep an updated list of contact information for superiors, peers and subordinates for every job in the last ten years.

Don’t let another year go by without making sure you have access to your ever increasing list of accomplishments.

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Prepare for an A+ Interview

I've done a lot of interview coaching over the last 22 years. If I were to grade my clients' beginning interview skills, most people would have a starting grade somewhere below average. This is by no fault of their own. It is common to not do well on things that are not practiced.

Working with my clients, I can raise the interview grade from a 'C' to an 'A' by practicing these basic principals before, during and after the interview.

Pre-interview, you must focus on tactics that will brand you in the most positive way. The goal is to have those who interviewed you to say these three things about you:

  1. Excellent interpersonal skills
  2. Is results oriented
  3. Aligns well with the position

Creating this perception starts with preparation. Begin by understanding the five top critical elements of the opportunity so that you are able to address them with current experience and success. Also, develop an effective two-minute presentation which includes humanization, elevator, and your differentiation/value statement.
[ Click here to learn how to develop your 2-minute presentation.]

As you enter the interview, introduce yourself with confidence. Confidence, not arrogance, can set a positive perception from the beginning. As you engage in the interview, pay close attention to the person speaking and begin to mirror to match tempo, breathing, rate-of-speech, directness, etc. This makes each one comfortable with each other and sets the correct filter. Also, know exactly the statement you will make or the open-ended question you'll ask. By demonstrating your interpersonal skills, you give yourself the greatest opportunity to connect with and engage your audience.

When the interviewer engages with you, take your time to understand what is being said before you respond. Generally, people are so caught up in the world of listening to respond that we miss a vital part of the question. Answer questions concisely, close information gaps and enhance the answer when it adds value to the original thought. Always tell the truth but word it in a win-win presentation. This will provide consistency throughout the interview and keep you in a positive position.

Post interview, review how you did with the goal of improving for the next one. In order to lock in your follow up you need to ask yourself these following questions.

  • Did the interview go well? If so, specifically why?
  • What could I have done better?
  • What did they focus on?
  • What did I learn about them on a personal level?
  • What value did I bring to the interview?
  • What and when is my next step?

Imagine what would happen if you took the time to practice and prepare a well-executed interview. It could be a significant way to separate yourself from the crowd in a very competitive market!

If you would like more in-depth coaching to help you make the most out of your next interview, do not hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Here's to your success!

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Drive the C.A.R.

Circumstances. Actions. Results. (C.A.R.) Recruiters want to hear that story.

When a recruiter asks you about your tenure or a specific challenge you’ve faced, remember to drive the C.A.R. Too many people wax on about their experiences as just that - experiences filled with activity. Recruiters and hiring managers want to hear about results, not just activity.

A good response looks like this, “When I arrived at XYZ Health System our operating margin was -6%. Over three years we implemented two new service lines, recruited 24 physicians, implemented productivity standards for all departments and closed an unprofitable service that wasn’t meeting community need. As a result our operating margin is now 7%.

If you are not clearly communicating the circumstances, actions and results you are not fully demonstrating your value.

Look for examples in the following areas:

  • Service
  • Quality
  • Growth
  • Finance
  • People and Community

The C.A.R needs to be driven on your resume and when speaking with recruiters and hiring managers- make it a part of your lexicon. The root of the word executive is to execute. We must achieve results as that is why we are hired.

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Passion For Success: Expanding Your Network

Every journey starts with the right attitude, passion, and confidence.

Many people find networking to be challenging. Most people find a way to do the things they are passionate about. If you're not passionate about networking, it is possible that you simply do not see the wealth of value that comes from developing a healthy network.

I've interviewed over 1500 people in the last 23 years. Not just a surface interview, but an in-depth interview. I always ask the question, "Where did you find your current job?" In 70% to 80% of the cases regardless of level, people found their next opportunity through their network, a relationship built over years.

The Value of a Healthy Network:

  • Competitive Edge: A large and deep network will give you information, you could never reach in isolation. Too many of us become trapped within the four walls we work in.
  • Resources: Tap into subject matter experts, fill positions, and gain valuable Industry information from known, credible sources.
  • Reputation Management: Being attacked on the internet can tarnish your reputation. A large and deep network that supports and believes in you can minimize that situation.
  • our Next Opportunity: I can't tell you how many times an opportunity was offered to a particular person because they were known within their network and "believed it would be a good fit." You can secure your next opportunity and your career with little competition through networking.
  • Time in transition: It has been proven that there is a direct correlation between the size and depth of your network as it relates to the time you are between jobs. The better your network is, the shorter your transition will be.

Now that you understand why it is important to have a solid network, it should be easy to get passionate about expanding it. If you are unsure about where to begin, below are a few ideas to get you started

Keys to Expanding Your Network:

  • Be intentional: Dedicate yourself to at least two calls a week.
  • Choose wisely: Reach out to both people you already know but are not in regular contact with and new people you would like to connect based on your next career step, resources, influence, and information.
  • Plan your call: Do your homework- there is so much information out there that you shouldn't have any problem knowing with confidence your opening line or question.
  • Be Reciprocal: Give your audience as much value as they give you.

Enjoy the Journey

Not everyone will want to join your network, and that is ok! Keep trying. Expanding your network is a learned skill that will improve with practice. Develop a system that will help you recall information from past interactions and keep you on track to follow up in the future. As long as you are moving relationships forward, YOUR EFFORTS WILL BE SUCCESSFUL.

If you would like more tips of how to add value to your network including in-depth training on what makes a great network call, then let me know. I am ready to share my secrets to success!

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Throw Darts Not Hand Grenades

When interviewing, please keep in mind one simple rule- answer the question. An amazing number of people think that when they have the microphone (answering an interview question) they can talk as long as they want about whatever they want in an interview. This is understandable as candidates are excited and want to sell, however it’s a turn off to the interviewer.

Throw darts when interviewing- be concise, brief and use facts/numbers to support your answers. If they want more information, they will ask. Remember- the interviewer has a list of questions they want to get through. They can’t get through the interview if the candidate takes five minutes to answer every question. This is a major turnoff and it signals the candidate isn’t in tune with the employer’s needs.

To answer the question is to be a good listener. If someone asks you a yes/no question- answer with a yes or no answer. Listen intently to the words they are using and ask for clarification if need be. Don’t forget to mirror the interviewer- if s/he is a fast talker, then talk faster. If s/he is a slow talker, then slow down. The goal is to make a connection by listening and answering the question. Finally, only practice makes perfect when interviewing so practice with family, friends and colleagues and remember to throw darts, not hand grenades!

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Interview Advice; It's Not About You

I remember conducting an interview for a key leadership role and the candidate kept talking about results and accomplishments from their former job that did not correlate with our environment. We were turned off almost immediately. Remember - organizations have needs, people have skills. Your job is to clearly communicate that your skills are a match with the employer’s needs. You must fully understand why the organization is hiring for the position. What are the key skills and competencies needed? What are the measurable goals that define success?

When looking at a position, the first step is to obtain a copy of the position description and read it multiple times - highlighting pertinent sections that clearly demonstrate the reasons why the position exists (goals, skills, competencies). Organizations want to win- you help them win by clearly communicating how your skills are a good match to meet their needs. When speaking with the employer or recruiter, make sure to communicate your specific (numerical) career accomplishments that clearly demonstrate past success that match with the employer’s needs. Jobs exist to solve problems and meet needs- show them you can do both.

Matching your skills with an employer’s needs is nothing more than good listening. Make sure you understand the needs by reviewing the position description, taking notes when speaking with recruiters or hiring managers, and highlight your specific accomplishments that match their needs.

Check out this site for more help with sharpening your skills to match an employer’s needs.

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Tell Me About Yourself

Tell me about yourself… (hint - you only have two minutes!)

The famous question, “Tell me about yourself.” This is not an open invitation to incessantly talk for minutes on end about your life from start to finish in exquisite detail. I used to think everyone else thought my life was as interesting as I thought it was - wrong! The fact is, no one really cares (that much). You have two minutes to answer this question. And, it needs to be a structured answer that includes the following:

  • Humanizer - make a connection and be likeable/personable
  • Career progression - make sense of your career moves
  • Value proposition - what are you known for?
  • Personalize - what do you like to do? Make a connection and humanize.

If you only remember two things, simply be brief (around two minutes) and clearly communicate your value proposition. What are you known for? What is your calling card? Remember, organizations have needs and people have skills. Be clear about your skills and match them with the organization’s needs.

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Do You Know Your Numbers?

Do you know your numbers? (not just finance)

“It’s a nice day outside.” Does this mean it’s 65 degrees, 75, 82? It depends on who you ask. Unless you ascribe a numerical measure to something it will never be fully clear to an audience. So many executives I advise are not fully clear when talking about their career accomplishments- I’ve been guilty of this as well. “We grew revenue and patient satisfaction improved when I was at XYZ Health System” or “We set up this corporation, joint venture, committee, etc.” These are simply not clear statements when compared to, “We grew revenue by 35% and our patient satisfaction improved from the 12th percentile to the 67th percentile” or “We started a new joint venture that grew market share by 34% and grew net revenue by 40%”.

Many comparisons have been made between the airline industry and healthcare. The pilot knows where the plane is going by following specific numerical coordinates. Do you know your X-Y? What was the origin and destination of your last journey? This is communicated simply by knowing your X-Y’s in one or more of the following areas: service, patient safety, quality, growth, service line development, finance, community benefit, market share, cost containment, productivity, physician or employee engagement, turnover, etc. When X-Y’s are communicated well it sounds like this… “When I was at XYZ health system our HCAHPs went from the 23rd percentile to the 78th percentile over 4 years” or “During my tenure we reduced RN turnover from 35% to 16% in three years.

Organizations want results. If you clearly communicate that you achieve results, your chances for success improve when looking for your next job. Contact www.wiederholdassoc.com for more information on learning how to communicate your “X-Y’s” and taking the next step in developing your career.

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Present Yourself Powerfully

To execute well in a network meeting or an interview, you must present yourself in a powerful way. As most of you are aware, the elevator speech has long been utilized as a tool in this area. This presentation focuses on who you are, what you've accomplished and where you're going. At Wiederhold & Associates, we have refined the elevator speech and taken it to a different level.

We call ours the "2-Minute Presentation", and when done correctly, will connect you to your audience as well as align you with the opportunity or the situation.

The 2-Minute Presentation should be as close to 2 minutes as possible, be modified to fit different audiences and contain three distinct components:

  • Humanization
  • Elevator
  • Differentiation

Basically, it's your elevator speech on steroids. Here's how it works.

Humanization

The goal is to make a connection. It's amazing what happens when you find a mutual connecting point to your audience. Remember, relationships are built on personal information, not business. Lastly, the power of the concept of "I, therefore, you." If I share something with you of a personal nature, you will feel compelled to share something with me. Connecting to people on a personal level is an essential part of both networking and interviewing.

Elevator

There are two key messages here:

  • My career moves are logical.
  • I'm clearly on the left side of the career bell curve and the best is yet to come.

The Differentiation Statement

The differentiation statement answers these two questions in a powerful way:

  • Why should I hire you?
  • What distinguishes you from other network connections or candidates?

Bring Your A-Game

Both networking and interviewing have become highly competitive. On top of that, people have limited time to give you. Bring your A-game with one of the most powerful tools you can put in your toolbox - a well developed 2-Minute Presentation.

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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10 Steps to Ace Your Next Interview

As one wise recruiter once told me, "You can have a B resume which may open the door but you must have an A interview to walk through it."

Let me share ten basic elements that consistently come up in our interview reviews that if addressed would make a world of improvement in your ability to interview and drive the right message:

  1. Preparation: Know the five top critical elements of the opportunity and be able to address them with current experience and success. The five top criteria is the top five things they're looking for in their next candidate. Next understand the three other critical elements which are organization, position and location. Have specific information in each one as to your interest. The more specific the higher the impact.
  2. Mirroring: A good interview is like a dance, both partners are in sync with each other. Mirror to match tempo, breathing, rate-of-speech, directness, etc. This makes each one comfortable with each other and sets the correct filter.
  3. Listening to understand: We test this in every interview we do and the majority of people fail. We are so caught up in the world of listening to respond that we miss a vital part of the question.
  4. Introduce yourself with confidence.
  5. Take the lead: As you enter the interview, know exactly the statement you will make or the open-ended question you'll ask. Demonstrate your interpersonal skills and give yourself the greatest opportunity to connect with and engage your audience.
  6. Put together an effective two-minute presentation which includes three key components to drive your message as well as connect with your audience. Those components are humanization, elevator, and differentiation/value statement.
  7. Understand what a real achievement is and present that way.
  8. Answer questions concisely, close information gaps and enhance the answer when it adds value to the original thought.
  9. Always tell the truth but word it in a win-win presentation. This will provide consistency throughout the interview.
  10. Brand yourself so that your message is consistent.

I've done a lot of interview coaching over the last 22 years. Historically, most people have a starting grade in their ability to interview probably somewhere around a B- to a C+ through no fault of their own. We just don't do well on things we don't practice consistently. But imagine if you took the time to develop a well-executed interview. What a significant way to separate yourself from the crowd in a very competitive market!

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Landing Your Biggest Sale, Yourself!

Landing Your Biggest Sale, Yourself!

Facilitating a successful job transition and search is a complex and intensive process. I have found most healthcare executives are trained and focused in their healthcare leadership roles, but are not experienced nor educated on how to conduct a successful job search and transition.

Frankly, most tend not to be very good at it.

Why is that? Most of us are good at things we do most of the time. None of us would be very good golfers if we golfed every two years. Job transitions are just like that. Executives don't have the opportunity to practice these skills often and there is real value in finding a coach or a partner who can accelerate the process.

Let me share a case of an executive that had tried to go it alone in her job transition and learned that with the right coach, training and navigation she could be very successful in her transition. She had the wisdom to realize she needed guidance to be successful.

To give you some insight, the client was a very high-level executive in a large health system. She had been trying to find a position on her own for approximately two years without success. Her organization had merged with another system who had the stronger position in the merger. The position they had offered her was not at the level she had been at and she decided to move on. She began conducting her own search process and was not as successful as she wanted to be. Eventually, she reached out to me for transition coaching.

What did she learn:

  • I didn't know what I didn't know.
  • I was not familiar with the current market and how competitive it is.
  • My approach to networking was limited and therefore I didn't have a deep or substantial network.

What were her outcomes:

  • My perspective on networking changed; it's much bigger and deeper than I thought it was.
  • My relationship building skills improved.
  • My communication skills improved.
  • Jim as a coach was always available to me. Especially at high anxiety points.
  • I was shown how I could do things better in the process.
  • My goals for the transition needed to be broadened. I was often coached to add another needed step.

Working with this executive was a very rewarding journey for me because she had been out so long and was concerned about her ability to make a successful transition. We quickly moved her forward with the appropriate skills and were successful in helping her land a very good position. She was an excellent partner.

Transition and search is a very specific sales process – the process of selling yourself! With the right coaching, education and practice you can have a very successful result.

Here's to your success,

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Keys to Your Successful 2016

First and foremost, I want to wish you much success in 2016.

The new year is a time to start new journeys. As you know there are journeys we choose and journeys that choose us.

So with that in mind, we took a real good look at the people we work with in career transition and found that the most successful ones had three consistent behaviors. Those three behaviors were passion, attitude and confidence.

Passion is one's intense desire or enthusiasm to do something. The level of passion for these successful individuals kept them on track even when there were challenges and bumps in the road. They did not roll over or quit when things got tough.

Attitude is how an individual's behavior reacts to a person place or thing. We live in a world where most individuals focus on the negative side of a challenge. Successful individuals took a more positive look at the challenge of career transition and focused in on the benefits that would result from this journey.

Confidence is one's assessment and feelings about their own skills and qualities. These successful individuals realized that they live in a deposit/withdrawal system. Unfortunately, withdrawals are automatic and deposits have to be made manually. They have learned how to make necessary deposits.

So as you begin your journeys in this new year remember to pack the right amount of passion, attitude and confidence. Because a good start usually means a good finish.

Here's to your success,

Jim

Connect with us on LinkedIn and join our Active Network Program.

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Staying the Course

Let's call this a sequel to my blog on Adhering to the Process. As most of you are aware I just returned from Denver and a successful completion of my second half marathon. I have attached a few pictures from that event in the charity section of the website. The gentleman that ran with me is Rick Newsome who works with Kaiser in Denver and is a friend. Why was it successful and how does it relate to my favorite subject of transition? First, in my mind the term transition has expanded, it now includes both external and internal transition and both the gainfully employed and gainfully unemployed.

Now back to why my run was successful. First, I made a commitment I kept. Just like anyone going through transition, I stayed the course. Second, I stayed focused on incremental gain. I bettered my last time by approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

I had obstacles that came my way, but I did not quit or blame others. I dealt with and overcame them. Over the last month I developed runner's knee. This made running painful and impacted the frequency of my training, diminishing it considerably. I made the necessary adjustments, but my commitment to the end result never changed. No transition, on any level will ever go exactly to plan and one will have to make adjustments to ensure success rather than blame others for failure. I took responsibility for the injury and moved on. I did not look for excuses. The last two miles were grueling because I had not trained as much as I wanted to because of the injury. I felt like quitting and I know many others have felt the same way under similar situations. In the end I stuck it out and finished the race. What kept me going was that I remembered that feeling, that wonderful feeling, when you accomplish something challenging. On the other side of that, I didn't want to deal with waiting another year to finish the event. That's too long to suffer and deal with that shortfall. We all have these kinds of experiences in transition. We need to stay focused on that wonderful feeling we get when we reach that next opportunity and push on through the pain. Remembering the feeling can keep us going. I also remember someone saying to me, and I'm not sure who to give credit to, but it went like this: when you’re closest to a failure, you are also closest to success. I do believe that.

As I write this, I'm on a plane back to Atlanta from Denver. I'm tired and I'm in a little pain, but I feel good about staying the course. No, I did not injure myself permanently and I am not asking you to do that. There will be those times when staying the course will be impossible because the reward sought does not come close to the potential downside. At those times, one may have to save it for another day. But then I remember another little saying that I adhere to. You don't become a good sailor by sailing calm seas. So remember that wonderful feeling of success and, whenever possible, stay the course.

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Thanks for the Networking

Jim, I want to publically thank you for your efforts on my behalf over the years. (This is long overdue by the way.) The network has been extremely valuable in a number of ways. From a professional point of view I have met many network members from whom I have gained knowledge which has been both educational and personally rewarding. Certainly my own network has benefitted significantly as a result.

Over the years I have also been able to tap into your network in order to fill executive level positions. In many cases your personal recommendation has been the key to a final decision regarding a person. It is gratifying to see these individuals grow and mature into talented leaders.

Most recently I depended on the network again in an effort to quickly identify experts who could assist with due diligence. You were able to recommend a number of folks with whom I have been in touch. Although this particular effort did not materialize, I believe you have provided a core group of experts on whom I could call in the future.

You may also remember that, almost 10 years ago, you were the primary influence in assisting me through a personal transition. All you asked in return was that I be willing to talk with others who might benefit from my experiences and knowledge. I hope I have met your expectations in that regard. These contacts have benefitted me as well.

Warmest personal regards,
Dave Bussone

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Transition Assistance Trends

I wanted to take a moment and tell you about something I am passionate about and very concerned about. Over the last two to three months, there has been a disturbing trend with organizations who, for whatever reason, are letting executives go and providing minimal to no severance and no transition/outplacement assistance. The cuts have been a reaction to healthcare reform and some consultants who see no value in helping exiting executives

This concerns me for several reasons: First, what message are these organizations sending to their remaining employees when they do not give adequate assistance to exiting employees? Second, they are opening the door to increased litigation. Third, where mission is important, does that mission only apply to patients and not employees? Fourth, these individuals are moving into the most, or one of the most, competitive markets we have seen without tools to be successful.

This mentality seems short term driven with no consideration of the trickledown effect or concern for the exiting employee who, in most cases, served the organization well, but are being impacted by things outside their control.

The solution, to me, lies in two areas. One, we need to voice our concern and be heard and, two, every executive should ask for an employment agreement prior to joining any organization. An agreement that provides adequate severance and funds for outplacement/transition assistance, making sure that they have the choice of the firm they want to use.

Executives are constantly asked to make tough decisions and to do so with the best interest of the organization at hand; they need a safety net and an employment agreement provides that. Additionally, if exiting employees have not put an agreement in place they still need to ask when leaving for severance, extension of benefits and outplacement/transition funds to be used with the firm of their choice. I see too many executives leaving money on the table they could use because they forgot to, or will not, ask. In many cases, it will not be mentioned until you ask.

Thanks for listening.

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Emotional Rehabilitation

A friend had sent me this quote earlier in the week and my thought, as it always is, where does this apply to transition?

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. - Stacy Charter

In transition this moment of truth comes in the rehabilitation of ones exit story. Good interviewers always set you up for the moment and know when there is an emotional link to that event. They observe the changes that occur when that emotional link is still present or as I refer to, baggage. More than likely, you will lose this opportunity at that time although on a rare occasion you may survive.

The significance of forgiveness to your own success and when not given, to your own failure, can’t be understated.

Life is about changing perspectives, seeing something in a different light that allows you to move on – successful transition is about successful perspective changes. That’s what we do effectively.

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Lent and ACHE

This is my 6th or 7th ACHE meeting in a row and the first I have attended on a non-drinker basis, due to the Lent Commitment I made with my son. Is it not interesting how we never notice all the people who drink until we do not, or how many of the cars we just bought are on the road, or how many people are unemployed when we are also unemployed?

So it is day 14 of the Lent Commitment and I have stayed particularly aware of this from 4-6 pm. What keeps me on the straight and narrow; 1) passion to succeed 2) sending the correct message to the audience I admire 3) leading by example – and my integrity. Also, I have substituted another behavior for the one I have given up. When the urge hits me, rather than give in, I go and exercise. I also have visualized me succeeding as I ride into Austin on the 2nd day of the MS150.

On a lighter note, a friend told me that for Lent – as he drank his beer – he gave up crack. My new conversations with old friends has certainly opened up some interesting dialogue.

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Lent and Transition

I want to share something with you on a personal level because it reveals what is important to me and also because as I am going through this process I am experiencing how it has common themes found in career transition. My son, Kyle, approached me with an interesting question a couple of weeks ago. He told me he would like me to join him, as well as support him, during Lent with something he would have difficulty giving up.That something was drinking. His reasoning was he wanted to cut back, improve his health, lose some weight and save some money. I also sensed, like most of us, he wanted to be in control.

My initial reaction was WOW --- a young person wanting to reduce his drinking, something that would not be easy! Initially I tried to join him on a limited basis (how about six days, then one day where you could have that beer or glass of wine?). His girlfriend, Amy, who really planted the idea, reminded us that it was not what Jesus did during the forty days – succumb to temptation once a week. That really hit home! You can’t have your cake and eat it, and you can’t do anything half heartedly – just like transition.

When I make a commitment to God, I make it with passion since failure is not an option, just like transition. I also wondered what message I am sending to my son if I do not join him in his quest. Positive messaging in transition is key to one’s success as well as a passion for the result. Without the passion, one would roll over when the going gets tough. Kyle was reaching out for support in order to not make the important journey by himself, just like transition. Transition is truly a team sport.

So, I will share this journey with you and how it relates to so much of what we experience in transition. Remember the ingredients of success:

  • A plan
  • Passion to achieve that plan
  • Willingness to step outside of your comfort zone
  • Do not take it on half heartedly
  • Stay in control of your message
  • Get a team around you for both accountability and support
  • Focus only on that which is controllable – leave others alone and understand the difference
  • Remember, your status may have changed but your value has not.

On a more personal note, I welcome the challenge. I felt that over the last couple of years I had become a little too dependent on wine to take the edge off since I struggle with relaxing. The timing was perfect, though not exactly my first reaction. Just like transition, I know I will end up in a much better place.

I am headed to ACHE with a schedule full of “drinks with….” where I will sip on Sprite or Sarsaparilla instead of a glass of wine. I will have to be honest about my current path which might have the added benefit of opening up new conversations with old friends. I will try to keep you updated on how I am doing.

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