Formula for a successful career transition

Being unemployed is not a comfortable feeling. Not only does it disrupt your carefully laid out routine and impact your lifestyle, but it also makes you question your abilities. But the “why” of your transition is something that you must strive to move beyond. You will have to in order to transition into a new role successfully.

Over the years I’ve worked with many people. Exceptionally brilliant individuals. People you would never imagine needing the help of a transition coach, but through a series of events, found themselves in that most vulnerable position. The phrase, “it can happen to anyone,” most definitely applies here. And while we like to feel we are special and tell ourselves, “no one understands my situation,” or “my situation is different because…”, that’s just not true. Yes, there will be parts of your story that make your story unique, but on the whole, there is a formula you can follow to ensure success.

Formula for transition success (A+B+C+D+E+F+G+H+I=NEW JOB):

  1. Be coachable and embrace being uncomfortable. What does being “coachable” mean? It means adjusting your mindset from that of the “teacher” to the “learner.” With a small shift in your mindset you open yourself to self-reflection which leads to personal growth.
  2. Be passionate about finding your next opportunity. That’s the only way you will weather the bad days. Being passionate is nearly impossible to fake. If you are questioning your passion or rolling your eyes at this bullet, it may be time to re-evaluate your career. Ask yourself, what would make me truly excited to go to work every day? Write it down and reflect on what you see there. Because if you don’t truly want it, you are wasting your time. A career shift may be in order.
  3. Have a positive attitude. Much of your success in transition hinges on your mindset. A positive attitude is essential. It not only makes you look like a more appealing candidate, but it will see you through to the finish line. Transition is a journey with many positives along the way if you care to see them.
  4. Be confident. Make sure your confidence is at its highest level. Confidence is like a bank account; you must make deposits regularly. Use positive self-talk as deposits. Stop any negative thoughts in their tracks and replace them with positives as much as possible.
  5. Put your baggage away. Put any emotional baggage behind you so you can focus on the future. This is key. You will not progress in your search if you cling to baggage. Allow yourself some time to process and wallow, but then put it firmly in the rearview mirror. Future employers can smell baggage a mile away!
  6. Remember your advantage in being unemployed -- you have more time to prepare. Sure, this may be the first time in 20 years you’ve had any time off, but resist the temptation to adopt the vacation mindset. This doesn’t mean you can’t take time with your family or take that trip to Hawaii for a week. But you must view the transition process as a job once you return. Put yourself on a schedule, set specific daily goals. “I will call xx number of people.” “I will apply for five jobs today.”
  7. Differentiate yourself from the competition. You have to differentiate yourself from your competition both on the alignment side for each position you interview for and the relationship side when you meet new people. You must be able to answer the question, “What do you do exceptionally well, better than most?” If you are unable to answer this question, call on people who have worked with you and ask them.
  8. Focus on what you can control. Activity equals results. In transition you should focus on hours per week, calls made/attempted, expanding your network with every call, and getting paper out. “Paper out” is represented by a cover letter and the resume for a specific opening either with the recruiter or directly with the employer or creating a marketing letter.
  9. And lastly, you have to be intentional. You must move through the steps intentionally and consistently. What does intentional truly mean in this instance? It means being thoughtful and strategic. Thinking through every phone call, every application submitted and every cover letter written. Be in the moment.

As with any math problem, the correct formula above must be followed, in its entirety, to obtain the right answer or in this case – the desired result. Skipping steps not only renders a different answer/outcome, but also shortchanges you on what you are truly seeking – a successful transition. At the risk of sounding like your 8th-grade math teacher, in order to get an A, you must show your work!

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Influencing Your Team: 10 Leadership Traits that Drive the Ability to Influence Teams

All leaders will openly admit that they could not do their job without their team. However, as humans, I’d bet that most of them, in a moment of frustration, have thought “it would be easier if I just did it myself.” Why? Because influencing people is a gradual process, not simply a decision with immediate results.

Accepting the reality that no matter how brilliant or hard-working you are, you will always need your team which means you need to learn how to influence them.

Master the following attributes and you will be well on your way.

10 Leadership Traits that Drive the Ability to Influence Teams

Grateful Attitude - As a leader you are always on stage and therefore need to possess and portray a grateful attitude. Start your day with a ritual that grounds you; whether this is prayer, meditation, exercises, reflecting on loved ones, etc. When your day gets tough, reflect on, or re-enact your gratitude ritual.

Read Full Article.

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Franchise Ownership a Viable Option for Healthcare Industry Executives in Transition

Healthcare executives are discovering numerous reasons to turn to franchise ownership. In growing numbers, they are becoming entrepreneurs, whether they are new to healthcare or grizzled industry veterans. Healthcare leaders are fulfilling important personal and career goals by investing in franchise opportunities; here we’ll discuss the most common:

1. Providing Additional Security

The healthcare industry evolves rapidly, and there's no end in sight. The industry's future remains murky with ongoing talk and political steam of substantial healthcare reform. Franchise ownership is appealing as it can provide a secondary source of income independent of your employer. If there’s a sudden change in your organization or the industry overall, you won’t have all your eggs in one basket. Whether you’re planning on continuing in healthcare for the long haul or wanting to bridge out of healthcare in the coming few years, owning a “manage-a-manager” franchise model and scaling the business over time can provide added family income to rely on and enjoy. The number of people with a business on the side is growing rapidly, and few side gigs offer the earning potential or predictability of franchise ownership.

2. Helping to Build a Nest Egg

Franchise and business ownership is also a great way to diversify your investment portfolio and prepare for retirement. You can enjoy a reliable income while building a valuable future asset that can be sold for a premium or passed as a legacy to your children. By following in the footsteps of other successful franchise owners and reinvesting profits into additional locations, you'll grow your net worth exponentially faster than putting all your savings in a mutual fund.

3. Offering a Fresh Start

Most new opportunity seekers are pleasantly surprised to discover the wide variety of franchise opportunity choices spanning 90+ unique industries. It’s definitely more than just French fries. A hefty majority of new franchise owners choose a business in a completely new industry, not related to healthcare or the sector where they’ve been employed. Your diploma and your resume do not limit your options. Many people yearn to pour their strengths and energy into a fresh, new challenge. Strong franchise opportunities with a proven business model and streamlined training systems are the bridge for thousands of new entrepreneurs to blossom in new lines of business with much less risk. It’s a vehicle to succeed at something, gain more control over your destiny, and enjoy more flexibility rarely found in a corporate executive’s lifestyle.

No matter your reasons for considering franchise ownership, you don’t have to look far for success stories. Take Carey Winkel as an example. She spent 70 hours a week working as President of Commercial Operations for Sunrise Medical before switching gears and buying a cleaning franchise. In her first four years, her region won the company's national growth award three times!

Brian Foster is another great success story. He worked as a healthcare executive for over 30 years for the Illinois Hospital Association. After contemplating his future, he met with FranNet and was introduced to the idea of owning a franchise. He’s fallen in love with being his own boss, with a thriving business that’s poised to earn income for many years to come.

If you’re trying to transition from your career as a healthcare executive (or any other career) to franchise ownership, let us help you. At FranNet, “creating success stories” is our motto. We match aspiring entrepreneurs to the right opportunities for their strengths, goals and needs. To get started, give me a call at 770-579-3726 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Leslie Kuban is a nationally recognized franchise industry expert, CFE (Certified Franchise Executive) and owner of FranNet in Atlanta; a locally owned and operated franchise consulting firm. Leslie and her team have helped close to 500 individuals and families achieve their dreams of business ownership through a no-cost, extensive educational and coaching process.

Connect with Leslie online or call 770-579-3726 to start the conversation today.

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The Fourth Discipline: Transition Management

Leadership Transformation Series

This is Part 1 of a Four-Part Leadership Transformation Series (LTS).

2012 Womens Olympic Triathlon finish in London - After two hours of racing with the best in the world, what would one or two seconds in transition time have meant for the top three athletes?

Transformation in healthcare is personal: it requires the transformation of health system leaders. This LTS begins to speak to key differences in some of the fundamentals of transformational vs traditional leadership in healthcare.

This article focuses on how the nature of our work is changing.

Many compare the healthcare transformation journey to one of our oldest Olympic sports: “It’s a marathon!” Although this might reflect the persistence, resilience and endurance sentiment, I offer an analogy upgrade from one of our newest Olympic sports: “It’s a triathlon!”

Why?

First, transformation requires mastery of multiple disciplines. We – and our organizations - may have competency in one or two disciplines, but adaptive learning is required to develop and integrate the different and stronger skills needed for next level or breakthrough performance. We cannot count on simply doing more of the same ‘one foot in front of the other’ plodding and grinding to advance our mission – our people are burning out. Unlike in the run or bike, the first triathlon discipline – the swim - does not ask as much of the legs. While the upper body provides most of the forward propulsion, for swim speed it is more important to reduce drag. Drag is not a material factor in running, but it is in running our organizations – and barnacles, barriers and anchors come in many, mostly self-inflicted, forms.( Read Full Article)

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Miracle-Gro® or Roundup® - Which One Are You Using on Your Network?

Why is it that some people thrive and others survive in business? Much of it comes back to their network. A network is like a garden. You have to water it on a consistent basis for it to grow. However, most of us put our heads down and focus on daily tasks. We say that we are too busy to network. We end up neglecting our networking garden and focus mainly on what others can do for us. Unfortunately, this self-referenced behavior is the equivalent of spraying Roundup® on your lush networking garden that you worked so hard to create. So what’s the cure?

Reciprocation is the Miracle-Gro® of networking. Without it, your network will shrivel up and look like you won a pallet of Roundup®. Here are three ways to rethink how you network, which can start to produce some Miracle-Gro®:

  1. When you talk to an executive recruiter next time, see what you can do to help them find a new client (not only a referral to a candidate). Go out of your way to introduce them to someone you know that might take their call. This can do wonders for your relationship with the recruiter.
  2. Instead of thinking of suppliers or vendors as another salesperson, invest time in getting to know them personally and see if you can introduce them to someone that might make a difference in their business. Remember that vendors may visit hundreds of organizations each year and their network could be very large.
  3. Focus on informational networking rather than looking at how you can find a new position. Invest in the relationship, find out about their journey and see what you can do to add value to the conversation. You might decide to follow up with writing an article that is relevant to the other person.

By investing in relationships over the long-term, thinking of others first and finding ways to reciprocate, you will develop a beautiful networking garden for many years to come.

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Silence is NOT Golden

The English language is one of the most difficult languages to learn. That is, in part, because it is full of “sayings” or “idioms” that we use in everyday speech, most of which originate from cultures around the world. Such sayings make no linguistic sense unless you know the story behind them. Nearly all cultures pass wisdom down to us in stories and proverbs. Over time these stories are shortened to phrases, giving birth to these confusing riddles and idioms. One such idiom that dates back to the days of the Egyptians is, “speech is silver; silence is golden.”

This is wise advice to the child listening to his mom instruct him on what to do or not do, but in business, silence is not your friend. This is particularly true with individuals I work with on a daily basis in the career transition industry, such as those gainfully unemployed and recruiters looking for viable candidates for their client.

Here is what often happens. My client applies for a job, does not get a response, or gets an automatic, “thank you for your application,” message. Then the silence comes... for days and days. And it is in the silence that the situation starts to break down. My client creates a story around the WHY. “They must have Googled me and found xyz article... and have eliminated me from the candidate pool.” On the flip side, the recruiter or hiring agency may also be waiting for the candidate to follow-up, or perhaps they are waiting on their client to move the search forward. Again, the problem is the silence. The void of information, leaves us room to create a story, giving us room to build your reputation according to our perception. It is incredible really. Proof that human imagination is still thriving.

Here is how you can break the silence and take control of your reputation.

Keep in touch. Respond in a timely manner. Even when you do not have time to fully address a request or have an immediate answer; tell them that. Do not give them the opportunity to create a story. Stories created in silence are nearly always much more negative than the truth.

Remember: Both what you DO say and what you DO NOT say sends out a message. You bind your reputation to be what you want based on your behavior, which is entirely within your means of control. By responding and filling in the silence with your perception, you can build your reputation the way you want it to be built.

If breaking the silence is so easy, why do we not do it?

  1. We are not aware of our own impact on people. We do not realize that a simple communication from us, keeps others from judging us and creating a story to close the gap.
  2. We do not know how to say no, so we say nothing at all. While “no” might not be the desired response, it is an honest one, and at the very least shows respect to the person making the request, that ample consideration was at least given. People need to feel heard.

We need to do a better job closing the loop and in doing so we control our reputation. I continue to work on this area myself and strive to close every loop. To those I have not done this effectively with in the past, I sincerely apologize. The individual who consistently closes the loop separates himself/herself from the pack and will stand out in a positive way.

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Congratulations! You got the job offer...now what?

You have worked dozens of job leads for weeks, biding your time, going on countless interviews, networking with numerous people, and now you possibly have multiple job offers on the verge of coming to fruition. Yay for you! Let's hold the champagne; it is not quite over. You are simply moving on to the next stage of transition -- from the job search to the negotiation and acceptance process.

It is inevitable and fortuitous that one of your job prospects will make an offer. And unless it is the job of your dreams, you will want to buy some time to see what other offers come your way in short order. Note: Even if this IS the job you have been waiting for, the following process is still applicable as a means of navigating the negotiation process.

How to navigate the job offer and acceptance process:

Step 1: Give them an affirmative and positive-sounding response: I really appreciate the offer and find this to be an exciting opportunity. By staying positive you give the immediate impression that you are going to take the job without actually committing yourself to it just yet.

Step 2: Negotiate the response timeframe: This is a big decision; would you allow me time to discuss this with my family? How about———? This will also give you time to get any additional questions that are outstanding answered.

Step 3: Find out your point of contact. This will give you a direct line in to pose intentional questions. It also lets the prospective employer know you are very interested and serious about accepting this offer.

Step 4: Determine if the offer and the job are in alignment with your requirements. Ideally this is a list you have already created by this point in the job search process, but if not, go ahead and create a list of 12 criteria, in priority order, of requirements that your ideal job meets. This includes everything from the culture to location. Then compare how this offer stacks up. This tool forces a logical decision based on all factors rather than a limited few.

(Steps 5 and 6 are specific to those wanting to buy time. If you have your dream offer in hand, skip to step 7.)

Step 5: Ask follow-up questions. DO NOT GO SILENT while waiting to hear from another potential offer. You can legitimately extend the existing job offer timeframe by asking valid questions (one at a time in some cases) that you truly need answered. Employers anticipate and expect you to have questions. By asking questions, you keep the offer on the table and the prospective employer engaged and interested in you as a candidate.

Step 6: Request an additional phone call with your potential supervisor. This is generally done after all your questions have been answered, or as a final move prior to accepting the position. Chances are good that if your questions become too detailed your contact person will offer to connect you with this person anyway in an effort to help you come to a decision more quickly.

Step 7: Always negotiate. Even if you know you plan to accept regardless, negotiation is a must and often one last test in the hiring process. If you do not attempt to negotiate, particularly at the executive level, what does that say about how you will handle situations on the job? Ease into a negotiation conversation by stating all the things in the offer you are pleased with, moving on to your requests after they realize you respect and are happy with much of their offer. If it is money or time off you are seeking, the rule of thumb is to ask for double what you are wanting, and agree to split the difference. Meet them in the middle. During a good negotiation, both sides come away feeling they have won.

A key point to remember while working the steps outlined above is to remain genuine in your interest in the position -- both to yourself and your prospective employer. To work through the steps above effectively, you have to be able to see yourself happy in the position. Even if there are other offers hovering, you must feel comfortable in your decision to accept the one on the table. This decision-making process often reveals if this is the right offer and if you are still teetering because of hope of another offer after going through these steps, then go back and review Step 4, because something may not be in alignment with this particular offer. Always remember that if the prospective employer is treating you a certain way now in the "honeymoon stage," it will only get more pronounced later on.

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Lessons I Learned at Wiederhold & Associates

Before I joined Wiederhold & Associates, I had heard of executive coaching but never really understood what it entailed. I knew of generic outplacement firms that provided services to aid in job transition but did not know of transition coaching. The past four years have been an invaluable experience, exploring and learning about both these niches from one of the best in the industry! Above all, the talented and inspiring leaders that I have had the opportunity to meet, the lasting relationships built, the experienced and dedicated coaches that give it all to help leaders uncover strengths and hidden potential, and the team that makes all this happen behind the scenes, have made an indelible impression on me.

I’ve been fortunate to have good mentors and great teams that I have worked with and learned from throughout my career. Some of the lessons that life experiences taught me, I got to validate in my experience working with over 100 executives through Wiederhold & Associates. As I look back, I’d like to share some of the key lessons I will carry on with me in my career.

✔ Relationships trump performance
✔ Preparation is the key to success
✔ Passion is a key differentiator
✔ You get to define your own success
✔ Accomplishments must speak of your value or impact on the organization
✔ Maintain a business log, before exiting a role gather relevant data and metrics
✔ Keep your resume updated always
✔ Attitude can make or break you
✔ You cannot let your network “go cold”, relationships are a continuous work in progress
✔ Choosing the path less travelled may be riskier but also opens doors you never knew existed
✔ Opportunities are most often created, they don’t always exist
✔ Coaching is not punitive, it is a reward!
✔ Interviewing and being interviewed require completely different set of skills
✔ Even the most accomplished leaders have insecurities
✔ Dealing with emotions head-on is the best way to move forward, especially negative ones
✔ Always be aware of how you “show up” to others, not what you think of yourself. Perception is reality.
✔ Being vulnerable is human, not a sign of weakness
✔ Self-awareness is critical to emotional intelligence
✔ When you stop learning, you stop growing and you stagnate
✔ Take responsibility for your actions, but blaming yourself will get you nowhere
✔ Focus on what you can control, don’t waste your energy on external factors
✔ Be intentional, be mindful, be present
✔ Transition is hard, even if the choice was yours. It takes a village!
✔ Don’t burn bridges, it’s a small world!
✔Healthcare has and will always be a very dynamic and demanding industry
✔ You always come out a stronger and better leader, when you go through transition!

Mitali

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Changes to the Wiederhold & Associates Team

We wanted to make you aware of some changes to the Wiederhold & Associates team. Please see our announcement below.

Mitali Paul, MHA, MBA, FACHE, who has been with Wiederhold & Associates almost four years, recently accepted an opportunity to step back into a hospital executive role. As of August 1st, she will be the CEO of a brand new inpatient rehabilitation hospital scheduled to open in Fall 2018. While we will miss her and her contributions to Wiederhold, we are sure you join us in wishing her much success in her new role. Mitali will continue as a trusted advisor to our organization moving forward.

Chris Ekrem, MBA, FACHE, has come on-board as Vice President of Business Development and Operations for Wiederhold & Associates. Chris brings two decades of hospital administration experience in healthcare operations, management and financial leadership. He led highly successful business development projects during his tenure in operations and administrative leadership roles at community hospitals, academic medical centers and Critical Access Hospitals in Texas and Kansas. Chris began his career as a financial analyst at Florida Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and expanded his skill set through project manager and decision-support positions before advancing to the C-suite in roles as a Chief Operating Officer (Kansas) and a Chief Executive Officer (Texas). Most recently, he was Vice President at Tyler and Company; a retained healthcare executive search firm in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from Baylor University in Waco, Texas and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Redlands in Redlands, California. He holds a board certification in healthcare management as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives (FACHE). In addition to his long-standing membership in ACHE, Chris also has been active in state healthcare leadership as a Texas Hospital Association Leadership Fellows graduate and as a Kansas Hospital Association Leadership Institute graduate.

Chris is very passionate about helping people in transition, delivering excellent customer service, and mentoring healthcare executives throughout their journey. In his free time, Chris enjoys teaching high school students about personal finance for Junior Achievement and mentoring early careerists through ACHE in Tennessee/ Georgia. Chris is married to Lindsey, his best friend, a busy mother of two, and a highly skilled nurse. He also tries to keep up with his enthusiastic two-year-old son, Grayson and six-year-old daughter, Brianna.

Thank you,

Jim Wiederhold

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Confidence

With confidence, you have won before you have started - Marcus Garvey

As we continue to explore successful attributes, another imperative soft skill is confidence. Confidence is having faith in your own skills and abilities. It is an attribute difficult to measure, but its absence hardly goes unnoticed. Why is confidence so important? Confidence is attractive. Charismatic people tend to exude confidence. Confidence can help you harness your inner potential. Research supports that confident people accomplish more. It has the power to help you overcome challenging situations, take risks, and handle curveballs thrown at you. Confidence helps you establish trust with people and engage them. It makes you appear more competent and helps you win the respect of others. Dr. Ivan Joseph, a professional soccer coach admits that throughout his career he recruited his players not based on their talent – how high they could kick the ball, or how fast they could run or the team spirit they displayed, but on their self-confidence. He believes that everything else is a coachable skill or trait. Tedx Ryerson University

You can display self-assuredness or lack thereof it in more ways than most people are aware of. How you present yourself, your gait, tone of voice, the words you use, non-verbal cues, interpersonal skills, relationships, even your online or social media presence can paint an image of your confidence level. All these aspects create your “presence”. A limp handshake, lack of eye contact, shifty movements, slouched posture, and excessive use of “I think”, “ums” and “ahs” are some common faux pas to watch for. Non-verbal cues are important expressions of power dominance. It governs how other people think and feel about you. You can influence other people’s reactions by exhibiting confidence. People tend to focus more on the delivery than the message itself. Hence, this can be a powerful tool in controlling how people view and react to you.

Have you met someone and wondered how they landed that deal or got the job they have? I know I have many times. If it wasn’t relationships or networking that got them that far, it was their confidence and most likely their confidence played a very significant role in their relationships.

Charisma is not the same as confidence but we all gravitate towards charismatic leaders. Another reason confidence is important is that appearing confident augments your charisma. Have you ever been in a room where one person’s presence dominated the room? They seemed to captivate their audience and drew people in with such ease. John Antonakis, an organizational behavior expert, suggests that charisma can be practiced as a skill utilizing verbal and non-verbal tactic. And once you grow your charisma and connect with more people, your confidence will inevitably be boosted. How to Read and Predict People

Confidence is like a bank account - you must make deposits to have a balance available for withdrawals. You must draw from various sources so not to deplete your funds. Just like a diverse investment portfolio that minimizes risk, you need to have different buckets that you gain confidence from. Identify your buckets and keep them replenished. Recharge your batteries…success is just around the corner!

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Is There Life After Management in Healthcare?

Is the perspective on retirement amongst healthcare professionals different than in other industries?

As a Retirement and Career-transition coach, I work to stay abreast of the issues and challenges that are evolving in these two areas. Combined with my 18 years of experience as an executive recruiter in healthcare, I’ve been able to gain insight into some of the retirement and career transition issues that are unique to healthcare executives.

Is there life after a healthcare career?

A Beckers Hospital Review article reports that the average healthcare CEO is 57 and plans to retire at 65 and that 61% do not plan to work beyond 65.

Online nursing forums indicate that most nurses expect to retire in their fifties and nurse executives in their early sixties, understandable considering the combined effect of the physical and psychological demands of the profession.

Does this indicate that healthcare executives are no more aware of the evolving retirement scene than executives in other industries? Is there still a prevailing 20th century mindset when it comes to retirement, one based on the three-stage linear life plan with its artificial finish line of 65 and “withdrawal into isolation?” A model that, for more than a half-century, has advocated an off-the-cliff move from labor-to-leisure, vocation-to-vacation.

Graphically, that 20th century model and its life-span altering consequences look like this:

We’re at a place we’ve never been before. A place that renders this model irrelevant and potentially dangerous - physically, mentally, socially and spiritually.

The new reality is that we are living longer and healthier. We’re experiencing a “longevity bonus”, potentially as much as 30 years beyond the traditional retirement age.

When the arbitrary, politically-inspired retirement age of 65 was established decades ago, the average life span was around 55 and the old model made some sense. Guideposts weren’t important – few people lived to 65. But today, with lifespans for many stretching into 80’s, 90’s and beyond, the game has changed. We’re in unfamiliar territory with outdated institutions and policies and limited guardrails to keep us realistic about the new face of retirement.

But we instinctively know that thirty years of golf, travel, canasta and/or mah-jong just doesn’t make sense, nor can it be healthy.

A new retirement perspective is emerging, one that eschews tacking that longevity bonus onto the end and simply extending a period of “old age.”

Instead it proposes an alternative model where that bonus is recognized as a period of productivity and purpose that can be interspersed with pleasure. A model that might look like this in the second half/third stage.

Under this model, there is no wasting of accumulated experience, skills and passions. Learning continues as does meaningful, purposeful work along with a broadening and deepening of social relationships. Combined, this increases chances to not only live longer but to die shorter by maintaining vitality, vigor and verve up to the end. And society gains as acquired skills, experience, wisdom and passions are redeployed and not squandered.

The dark side of retirement

As a society in general - and likely amongst healthcare professionals - we don’t appear to be making this transition to a new retirement mentality very effectively.

We are experiencing an unprecedented “dark side” component to retirement. It stems from (1) failure to acknowledge and plan for this extended life space and (2) a retirement planning process that is almost entirely dedicated to financial or “hard side” elements and with little or no attention to non-financial, “soft side” components.

We know that 2 of 3 retirees have gone into their retirement with no semblance of a non-financial plan.

Here are just a few sobering facts that speak to the affects of an unplanned retirement:

  • By 2020, the number of retirees with alcohol and other drug problems will leap 150%.
  • The NIH reports that, of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older, nearly 2 million suffer from full-blown depression. Another 5 million suffer from less severe forms of the illness.
  • Depression is the single most significant risk factor for suicide among the elderly. The CDC recently showed a dramatic spike in suicides among middle-aged people.
  • The overall, national rate of divorce in the United States is trending down. Except for one group: the 50-plusers, who have seen their rate of divorce surge 50% in the past 20 years. In fact, one in four couples divorce after age 50.

Is it the same for retiring healthcare professionals?

I don’t see healthcare pros being as susceptible to these issues or devolving into “roleless roles” and sinking deep into a lounger upon retirement because of the intensity of career roles already performed and the energy and commitment necessary to fulfill those roles.

However, this is also a group whose “nose to the grindstone and shoulder to the wheel” dedication doing such meaningful, purposeful work may shield them from the aforementioned issues. Retirement planning beyond the financial may be no more present than with the general population because of this.

As a retirement coach, I encourage pre-retirees and early retirees to put as much emphasis on non-financial planning as on the financial planning. Don’t expect that assistance from your financial planner. They are trained to advise on, and sell, financial products and most do an excellent job in helping their clients in that regard. However, they are not trained or equipped to dispense advice on life-planning issues.

Beware the retirement honeymoon

Research has shown that retirees experience a “retirement honeymoon” period of 1-3 years after which the realities of existence within a traditional retirement model sinks in. These post-honeymoon years of retirement can be disappointing, contentious and wasted if pre- or early-retirement planning doesn’t take place.

Here are some of the issues that often surface:

  • Overcoming a loss of identity.
  • Divergent post-retirement interests (career or personal) between spouses.
  • Boredom and stagnation – even narcissism - due to a lack of challenge and social engagement.
  • Depression and physical deterioration because of reduced activity and social interaction and lack of a sense of purpose.

Retiring healthcare professionals can rock the world – on their terms

Personally, I feel that healthcare professionals can rock the world in the new version of retirement. Drawn to the healthcare profession out of a desire to help, having flourished in a life-and-death environment and seen and experienced real-life issues on a deeper level than people in other professions, there is a wonderful, unique and powerful foundation on which to build to the continued benefit of our society.

Consider the freedom to impact and serve in a very unique, personal way without the restrictions of politics, bureaucracy, government controls. Equipped with a longevity bonus and a background unparalleled in touching lives, the possibilities are restricted only by one’s thinking and creativity.

I fear that the persistent pull of the 20th century retirement model will suppress that creative thinking and waste a pool of incredible talent and problem solving.

There is life after healthcare – don’t panic

Those are the words of a new friend of mine, one of a number of retired friends who are integrating their essential selves, passions and their natural and acquired skills and leveraging them back into the marketplace where they will continue to do good.

A recently retired hospital CEO in Missouri, this new friend has chosen to pursue things that interest him. He has chosen to broaden and deepen his passion for civic and community involvement through volunteer board-level positions, paying forward his executive administrative experience as well as satisfying a passion to serve. He balances that with deepened family involvement, by immersing himself in learning a second language and by building black-powder, muzzle-loader rifles as a stress relieving hobby. My sense is that he has never operated at a higher energy and enthusiasm level.

For a retired CNO/CNE friend, it’s taking her doctorate in nursing and decades of top-level nurse management experience back into the marketplace to help nurse leaders cope with the pressures of today’s broken healthcare system and be more caring patient advocates. She’s doing it through a childhood passion for writing and teaching, using the internet, social media and book publishing. As she approaches 70, she has a passion-fueled energy that’s hard to keep up with.

Three suggestions to help the move to a successful new retirement

  1. Retire to something, not from something.
  2. Use the 3-5 years ahead of your retirement date to chart a retirement course with your spouse/partner outside of the financial planning process. Get on the same page early. Work with a life or retirement coach to help chart this course.
  3. Consider “practicing” retirement now by experimenting with things that may interest you beyond tennis/golf/fishing/yoga. Start isolating the things that excite and motivate you and that will help you achieve a fulfilling, happy retirement.

Suggested reading:

  1. “The New Retirementality”, Mitch Anthony
  2. “Boundless Potential”, Mark S. Walton
  3. “The Big Shift”, Marc Freedman
  4. “Finding Your Own North Star”, Martha Beck

Smooth sailing!!

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What is transformation…and why should we care?

“I’d like to introduce Gary Skarke. He is an expert in the area of transformation. His company’s success, for the most part, has been outside of healthcare but has touched healthcare on a small scale. As we all know, healthcare is going through a significant transformation and most of what he will share in the article below aligns well with what is happening in the healthcare industry today.

This is the first in a series of articles focusing on the many types of transformation his company has helped other organizations navigate successfully and how these same situations are occurring within healthcare today.” – Jim Wiederhold

* * * * * * * * * *

In today’s environment, organizations must change – and change dramatically – to survive and thrive. Who remembers what happened to RCA televisions, Motorola cell phones, or Myspace (competitor with Facebook) or how they lost their market leadership? They did not make the dramatic innovations and changes (typically called transformations) to stay ahead of the competition. Businesses have made transformations for a number of years although they were previously called under the headings of quality, reengineering, Lean Six Sigma, and others. Such transformations were made to cut costs, grow, increase customer satisfaction or simply stay in business. United States healthcare similarly has and is undergoing transformations, many of which are mandated by the U.S. government, like electronic medical records. We wanted to share what transformations are happening with businesses so that they can be applied more readily to healthcare.

Organizations are appropriately cautious about transformations. A 2015 survey by McKinsey* found that only 26% have been “very” or “completely” successful at both improving performance and equipping the organization to sustain improvements over time. Transformation is an overused term. It is not a tweek, but an overhaul – a complete change in the way business is done. IBM was at one time only a provider of hardware such as computers but transformed successfully into a provider of consulting services. The amount of effort that goes into the change is proportional to the impact on the organization. The bigger the change, the bigger the effort, and the bigger the potential results. Transformations can be around any or all of the following: strategy, process, systems, metrics and culture. We will cover each of these areas in a series of brief articles.

* McKinsey & Co., 2015, “How to Beat the Transformation Odds”

TBO International LLC provides transformation services to help clients beat the odds for successful outcomes.

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The Importance of Mentorship in Our Lives

We all need guidance. Even the most seasoned professional needs a sounding board from time to time. I am a firm believer that as professionals we can choose to never stop growing, learning, and evolving into the best version of ourselves. Part of this growth is directly influenced by the people we seek out for support.

One of the things my mother said to me as a young adult was, “You are the company you keep.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but she was talking about mentorship and being mentored in the most basic sense. To affect another in a positive way and to have them do the same in return, all while growing as a person.

Three ways a mentor/mentee relationship adds value to your life:

  1. Lends you a new perspective. Being a mentor or mentee puts you in the mindset of the other person, even if just for a moment. It can be invaluable to get the perspective of another professional on situations that are occurring in your world in which you feel you have little to no control over. This type of discussion could lead to possible action items or solutions. At the very least, you will leave the conversation feeling like someone actually understands.
  2. Growth opportunity. Often your mentor has been in the profession longer than you and can offer additional insight into a lot of different scenarios. Soak this type of information up and learn from it. Take the gift of hindsight they offer you and make improvements and grow because of it. Conversely, a mentor can grow equally from the vision a younger professional may bring to the table.
  3. Expand your network and give back. Share connections with one another. Start building relationships with the professionals that your mentor/mentee connect you with. This is how genuine professional friendships are created. It’s interesting how things work. While you might be the mentee in one relationship, you will become the mentor in the next. In each instance though you will grow as a professional and as an individual. It’s a win-win.

At Wiederhold & Associates we are launching a mentor program offering our large network of professionals the chance to create deep and meaningful professional relationships with one another. With over 25 years in the healthcare industry, Wiederhold and Associates has one of the largest and most effective networks in the United States. Our Mentor Program takes this network connection one step deeper. It gives the mentor and the mentee the opportunity to use common experiences to glean further insight into life and career situations. There is no stronger bond than those created through shared experience.

Interested in joining our Mentor Program? Click here for more information.

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Four Ways to Connect with a Recruiter

A common question I get is, “How do I talk to recruiters?” Treat the call like any conversation. Be genuine and interested. The primary goal of the conversation is to gain a partner in the search for your next position.

If you approach each conversation with a recruiter as an opportunity to create a partnership, build a relationship and make a genuine connection, you will see more job opportunities sent your direction.

Here are four tried and true ways to connect with recruiters:

  • Do your homework. Find out what you can about the recruiter and his/her organization. This will help you create a connecting point, or something you have in common. If that happens to be a mutual connection, be sure you find out the nature of their relationship before you name drop. You won’t do yourself any favors if you mention someone they don’t know or someone they don’t like.
  • Have a great value statement. Get their attention with your positive attitude and make them want to call you back. Before calling the recruiter go through your own resume/CV. What does a recruiter want to know about you and the organizations you’ve served? What makes you different from other candidates? The more specific that you can be by showing impact through measurable outcomes, the more weight it carries and the more memorable you become.
  • Always have some good open-ended questions ready. Seek their feedback and draw upon their experience within the industry. Ask them what they look for when identifying a strong candidate and deciding to move them forward. Let them know you are always looking for a way to present information to recruiters and hiring managers in the best, most efficient way possible and in the format they desire.
  • Determine your next steps. You may not get into a search, gain connections or helpful information from the recruiter during the call, but don’t let that stop you from creating your own follow-up plan. Mention to him/her that you will be checking in with them periodically and encourage them to do the same should an opportunity come across their desk that might be of interest. Cultivate and grow that sense of partnership between the two of you and under no circumstances do you want to be perceived as going around them to get to an opportunity they are representing.

It’s important to remember when working with recruiters that you are not their only prospect and while they have your information in their file, it is necessary for you to make the effort to reach out to them on a regular basis in order to stay in the top of their mind. There is no room for ego here, instead try to think of it as cultivating a genuine relationship and partnership so that they can effectively help you find the next job opportunity.

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Career Lattice vs Career Ladder

Last week when the guest speaker in my Organizational Behavior class mentioned “career lattice”, I saw many quizzical expressions on my student’s faces. I realized, where other industries have adopted this method of talent development and retention, the healthcare industry largely lags. Part of the reason is the level of specialization, training, and even licensure requirements in certain roles. Certain skills need to be honed over time and you get better at your “trade” the longer time you spend in it. This can and has, however, led to burnout in many healthcare professionals leading to a talent drain. Healthcare is now one of the largest employers in the country, so it is time we paid attention to breaking stereotypes. The hierarchical career ladder has always been around and may have worked well in the past. But as more and more professionals look towards versatile and rewarding careers, while still maintaining a semblance of balance and flexibility, the concept of a career lattice makes much more sense that it ever has. The other limiting factor is our definition of career growth. We mostly tie it to a title or compensation, making it very prescriptive and limiting our options. But how about expanding your professional toolkit or repertoire, getting outside your comfort zone to challenge your abilities, utilizing your skills and experience in a different area – is that not a growth opportunity? Sometimes to take a step ahead, you may need to take a few steps back or sideways!

Though it may not be applicable in some specialized niches, it is important that healthcare organizations explore and adopt the concept where high potential employees are given growth opportunities to explore other roles and develop new competencies. We know that changing an individual’s attitude or behavior based on an organization’s culture is a much harder journey than teaching new skills and competencies. They why lose a professional who has become an integral part of the organization due to a lack of opportunities? In some industries, it is the norm for professionals to remain in their roles only for a couple years before they move into another role. This enhances employee engagement, retention and loyalty, while ensuring a steady pipeline of motivated individuals within the organization to fill critical vacancies. It also significantly reduces the costs associated with recruitment. What are some best practices that healthcare can adopt? Most healthcare organizations are accustomed to matrix structures, so opportunities are plentiful.

When I look at my own career path, it has certainly been a lattice. I planned to get to the “top” and the quickest way was the hierarchical ladder. It was a competitive rat race. I wanted to remain in hospital operations as that was the world I knew, loved and thrived in. I exceled and did achieve my career goals becoming a hospital CEO. But that also got me to a crossroads in my personal life. I loved my work, but I also loved my growing family and had to make some difficult career choices to give both my best. What I have learned through my experience is to keep your options open and never be afraid to take risks. The adage “greater the risk, greater the reward” maybe cliched but is so true! What I feared to have been career suicide (stepping down from my first CEO role) launched my career into a very different and equally rewarding path! So, whether your organization supports a career lattice or not, don’t be wary to explore it in your own career journey and seek out opportunities that help round your experiences and not typecast you or limit your options. Be creative and enjoy the journey. It is not a race so why not take the scenic route?

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How to make the hiring manager believe you are the best candidate for the job

As a job-seeker, one of our biggest pitfalls is failing to align ourselves properly with the position. Simply put, we use our language and not their language, otherwise known as the wording used within the job description. Your accomplishments and job experiences may fulfill all they are asking for and then some, but if you fail to communicate it in the organization’s words, your cover letter and resume are likely to get tossed aside and overlooked.

How to properly align your cover letter and resume with the job description.

  1. Read it. It may sound basic, but so many people don’t truly read. As you read it, highlight key responsibilities or recurring elements throughout the description. These are “their words” or the phrases that you need to use in your cover letter and resume.
  2. Next, tweak your cover letter and resume to include those critical elements. Use your existing accomplishments to support their words. Often it helps to use their language as headers and even bold them, creating a bulleted list of your accomplishments beneath it. Your goal is to make it as easy as possible for them to see you are aligned perfectly for the position, even if you do not have the typical background.
  3. Also important is to close your cover letter with a short paragraph showing you identify with the mission and culture of the organization. You may or may not be able to glean this from the job description. If you can’t, do further research online and through your own network connections.

Aligning yourself with the job description may give you the edge you are looking for, effectively separating yourself from the competition. It also sends the message to the hiring manager that you have given their position thoughtful consideration by taking the time to cater to their organization specifically. You can bet this personal touch is noted and appreciated.

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Are You Ready for 2018?

2017 has been a turbulent year for the healthcare industry. Not only have we seen tremendous disruption in technology and innovation, but also more consolidation and strained resources. Natural disasters across the country and the unstable economy have added to the mounting pressures. Leaders have been challenged to do more with less, like never before. You may be using predictive analysis tools in strategizing for your organization, but have you looked at your personal toolkit to see if you are ready for what’s in store in 2018?

At Wiederhold & Associates, we consider three key ingredients for success – history, process, and relationships. Here are some techniques to proactively and methodically plan for a successful 2018.

History:

  • List of accomplishments - Do you have a list of professional achievements for the year? Grab a pen or type out a list, before you forget! It is important to keep track of any milestones, at work or outside, that have been proud moments for you. As time passes by and memories fade, you may lose track of things that may have significance in the future. Doing a quick year-in-review list of accomplishments will help you document and keep these fresh. Or even better, start a business journal and keep it updated throughout the year.
  • Resume - When was the last time you updated your resume? You do not have to be actively looking for a job to keep your resume updated. In times like these when change is inevitable and happens at lightning speed, it is always a good idea to periodically update your resume especially with new skills, accomplishments or credentials that you may obtain along the way. The same applies for your LinkedIn or any other social media profiles.
  • Self-assessment – Have you done a gap analysis for yourself lately? There are several assessment tools available but even a simple exercise of listing any new skills that you have learned or honed, assessing any areas that still need development, and identifying ways to work on these ensures that you are focusing on your professional growth. The core competencies for roles have steadily evolved, and what measures were used to assess your performance even five years ago may not be as relevant as what is needed in the future. Do you have a competency checklist for the types of roles you see yourself in and are you diligently working towards building/polishing those skills?

Process:

  • Personal Brand – Have you “Googled” yourself lately? Always be aware of what is floating in cyberspace about you. Reputation management is an active and lifelong task of maintaining your personal brand. At times you may find yourself caught amid a media blitz not of your own doing or liking. Being aware, and taking necessary and proactive steps to protect your online brand is critical to your professional success.
  • Goals – Do you have a SWOT analysis for yourself? Once you have identified strengths and areas of focus, set SMART goals for yourself. Ensure that your personal goals align with your organizational goals, if there is dissonance it is time to reflect! Where possible, have discussions with your boss to find synergies that will benefit all parties.
  • Action Plans – Do you have clear action plans to achieve your goals? What skills/experiences are you missing in your toolkit and which ones do you plan to focus on in the coming year? How will you measure success?

Relationships:

  • Networking - The holidays are a great time to reach out and reconnect with individuals in your network. It also offers a lot of social opportunities, holiday parties and gatherings to meet new people and expand your network. With work slowing down some, and the holiday cheer around, people tend to be more open to giving and receiving. A great time to nurture your relationships!

So, celebrate your accomplishments in 2017 and ring in the New Year with confidence and assertion. Cheers to your success in 2018!

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Inner Leadership Development

Recently, I became certified in the Leadership Circle Profile, the most comprehensive leadership assessment system available. This is the second assessment I added to my tool chest focusing on leadership. The first was the Hogan Assessments. Together, these are a powerful measurement of where a leader is now and how he/she can improve. That decision has to be made around internal change.

The Leadership Circle Profile is a true breakthrough among 360 profiles. It is the first to connect a well-researched battery of competencies with the underlying and motivating habits of thought. It reveals the relationship between patterns of action and internal assumptions that drive behavior. Ultimately, the Leadership Circle Profile goes to a source of behavior to get greater leverage on change.

Second, the profile creates much more than just a list of behavior competencies. The Leadership Circle Profile Results are organized into a very powerful system for understanding human behavior and development, as well as for making sense of the interrelationships between the many dimensions of yourself. Unlike most profiles that take hours to interpret, the Leadership Circle Profile integrates all this information in a way that brings the key issues to the surface instantly.

The data in the Leadership Circle Profile reveals itself in seconds.

At a glance, the whole gestalt is accessible-putting leaders in touch with what is working, what is not, and why!

In most organizations, this treasure trove of information remains buried. Leadership Circle Profile makes it easily accessible

The Leadership Circle Profile provides you with a leadership MRI, giving you the entire picture in one diagram. I am proud to offer this tool to my clients who are ready to evaluate their inner leader and discover how to bring him/her into their everyday life.

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The Man in the Mirror

A courageous person takes an honest look at who they are. A powerful person acknowledges their weaknesses and strengths then understands how to use them both successfully.

Leadership involves building and maintaining a high-performing team. Anything that detracts from your ability to build a team also detracts from your performance as a leader. Behavior impacts performance.

Personality assessments are designed to measure traits/behaviors that are part of an individual’s make up. Organizations attempt to utilize these to assess both fit and performance in certain positions but the real value is that an individual can get real insight into their strengths, potential areas of opportunity, and motivators.

It is good to be able to understand, articulate and utilize your strengths. Think of these as the gas pedal in a car. When utilized properly, they will move your leadership forward. However, it is also important to understand when you’re putting your foot on the brake and negatively impacting your leadership journey. An effective assessment can help you understand what is propelling your journey and what is holding you back.

What Inhibits Your Success?

To help you understand your strengths and motivators as well as identify your risk factors, Wiederhold & Associates offers The Hogan Leadership Forecast Series. Through the series, you will receive a report designed to help you develop as a leader.

It will provide insights about your behavior and traits that showcase strengths as well as behaviors and traits that could potentially undermine or inhibit your performance. And if you’re committed to being the best leader you can be, we will help you determine the best way to enhance your awareness and make impactful change.

If you’re in transition, a seasoned executive looking to take your performance to the next level or a leader who is ready to get off the hamster wheel, the HOGAN LEADERSHIP FORECAST SERIES may be your next step to finding true success.

Learn more about Wiederhold & Associates

HOGAN LEADERSHIP FORECAST SERIES

Here's to your success,

Jim

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Hire Employees with Longevity

Studies show that an average of 50% of newly hired executives not appropriately onboarded, either quit or were fired within their first three years.

A successful onboarding program accelerates the executive’s breakeven point on the investment the organization has made in talent acquisition and retention, as well as, aligns behavioral changes with organizational outcomes and goals. Results are just as important as the process.

Wiederhold & Associates Executive Onboarding Program

Wiederhold & Associates is perfectly positioned to be your partner in ensuring that your investment in new executives continues to reap long-term rewards, rather than ending up with the above-mentioned results. The Wiederhold & Associates team with 26 years of transition expertise in healthcare, focuses on tangible results in addition to ensuring a smooth transition.

Key Program Strategies Include:

  • Defining roles and responsibilities
  • Clarifying strategic results and creating new ones
  • Managing expectations
  • Building relationships and coalitions
  • Managing intellectual and emotional reactions
  • Maintaining balance
  • Aligning and strengthening the leadership team
  • Completing in-process assessments

Specific Areas of Focus Are:

  • Executive’s personality and behaviors
  • Alignment of goals/outcomes
  • Building stakeholder lists
  • Focusing on early wins
  • Navigating organizational politics
  • Learning organization’s culture
  • Maintaining visibility
  • Time management
  • Balancing relationships/results
  • Enhancing executive’s knowledge of the organization’s market
  • Understanding organizational history
  • Assessing skills and behaviors
  • Building confidence
  • Developing executive’s team dynamics
  • Enhancing communication
  • Creating a business journal
  • Establishing a brand
  • Empowering the executive’s voice within the organization
  • Managing change
  • Maintaining balance

To learn more about Wiederhold & Associates Onboarding Program, download a tri-fold brochure here.

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