November 9, 2018 - No Comments!

Newsletter November 2018 – Meet Francesca Gino – Are You a Rebel?

We hosted a web based meeting this past week for our HRoundtable members and clients to learn from award-winning Harvard Business school professor and behavioral scientist, Francesca Gino.  Her new book is  “Rebel Talent: Why it pays to break the rules at work and in life.”  She has spent over a decade studying rebels in organizations around the world.  In her work she identifies leaders and workers who personify “rebel talent.”

Our conversation with Francesca was inspiring and allowed us to better understand what it means to embrace creativity and uncomfortable-ness in the quest for learning and experimentation in our work. Do we allow novelty at work? Are we reframing strengths and allowing people to play off their strengths to help others?  Can we as leaders allow our workers to turn accidents into a source of inspiration?

We talked about five ingredients for rebel talent success.  The examples illustrated how organizations are changing the learning and doing conversation.   Some of the aha moments for me were Francesca’s comments such as;

  • A three Michelin star restaurant in Modena Italy offering thirteen -course tasting menus orders a pizza at the request of children in a returning family and truly personalizes the experience.
  • The power of authenticity and expressing yourself honestly is contagious - help others see where the talent is in your company.  Sometimes it is not where you expect it.
  • Rebels bring positive change and creativity to the hiring process. Google's CEO says we run the company on questions and not answers.  Their unique hiring process gets at your level of curiosity and how often you ask "why?"
  • Think about turning accidents into a source of inspiration.

Francesca talk about curiosity in her book.  She asked over three thousand employees from several companies to answer questions about curiosity. Most (92%) said it was about bringing new ideas to teams and seeing curiosity as a catalyst to job satisfaction and high performance. Only a few (24%), reported feeling curious in their jobs. Many see big barriers to exploring, asking questions and even failing in the process.  The message is that curiosity can be fostered and we talked about organizations that do this with intention and celebration.

Rebels break rules and bring about positive change says Francesca.  What type of rebel are you?  If you go to www.rebeltalents.orgyou can take an assessment to find out.

Thank you Francesca for taking the time from your Harvard classroom and consulting to be with us so authentically and energetically so that we begin to see the power of the rebel in all of us.

Published by: Corey Kachigan in Uncategorized

November 8, 2018 - No Comments!

Landon Taylor, CEO of Base 11: Accelerating Development of Talent November 2018

Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Base 11 to learn how their creative partnerships are making a difference for students and corporations in regional “ecosystems” across the country.  They are successfully collaborating and connecting all the right pieces of the talent gap puzzle for young talent in underrepresented populations.  My hope is that as you read this story your curiosity takes over to learn more and take action.

Sherry Benjamins: What brought you to the leadership role with Base 11 after many successful years of corporate and business strategy roles?

Landon: Running a non-profit company was not originally planned as a part of my career plan.  I have invested 25+ years building a career as a corporate executive and entrepreneur, including 12 exciting years as a senior exec with First American Financial which is what brought me to Orange County.  In 2014, after helping position the sale of a software company to CoreLogic, I had the opportunity to think deeply about what I wanted to do next.  I knew that I wanted to get involved in a project that not only leveraged my strategic leadership skills but also captured my passion to make a difference.  Many of us recognize the strategic importance of human development on an enterprise level and frankly, I predict that it will be the industrial revolution of the 21stCentury. A transformation that will change our country in big ways. With transformative education, and training and empowerment in real world scenarios and environments, we grow exponentially as individuals, and then have a multiplier affect impact on the organizations and communities around us.

This issue around solving the STEM talent pipeline crisis as a long-term solution to building a sustainable middle class in America made up of allAmericans, became a calling that I simply could not ignore.  So, four years ago I stepped in as CEO to design and drive the national initiative, which we now affectionately call “The STEM Revolution!”

SB: Are you optimistic about progress when the needs are staggering?

Landon: My optimism is fueled by the fact that there is no shortage of stakeholders who want to solve the STEM skill gap challenge. There is also a shared recognition for diversity and inclusion for this critical talent need.  We have significant progress in breaking down the silos that had existed prior to creating what we are calling our regional ecosystems.  The stakeholders are aligned around a common vision – and a problem to solve.  They are academia (K-University), philanthropy and government, industry and students.  They all care about solving the skill gap and have demonstrated that in our first regional ecosystem markets, LA, Orange County, San Francisco Bay Area and Phoenix. Each of those ecosystems has a successfully integrated partnership with diverse and fully engaged stakeholders.  We plan to add three more regional ecosystems by 2021 in Seattle, NY and Washington DC.

SB: How is success defined at Base 11?

Landon: Our true north has been set for 2021 and that is to accelerate 11,000 students on a pathway to what we call our "Victory Circle".  The Base 11 Victory Circle is achieved by completing a Base 11 program or a hands-on project in a Base 11 Innovation Center, which prepares students for STEM success at a four-year university, at a major corporation, or as an entrepreneur. We are on track to achieve this with 6,000 students already on their direct path to the Victory Circle.

SB: What have you learned from your members of the Victory Circle?

 Landon: First, I have learned to never underestimate our talented students.  Their passion, commitment and capabilities exceed our expectations.  Students who are under-resourced work twice as hard as others.  We know we are on the right path for we are confident they are our future leaders.

SB: How does this influence your 2019 goals?

Landon: Our plan in 2019 is to grow our regional ecosystems and bring in additional students and corporate employer partners.  More companies and students involved translate to better jobs, greater opportunity and more robust talent pipelines.

SB: What have you learned about yourself through this journey so far?

Landon: I have learned that I must always be learning and growing, and that is essential every day as we build this transformational capability. I have also learned that it is possible to align your professional experiences with something that creates a viable business (economic) opportunity while also solving a big societal  problem. It’s very fulfilling when you get the chance to work on something that will have a multi-generational impact. Everyone can define what that means for themselves personally.  There is not one path to take.  You can serve on a Board, be an advisor, identify a cause that you are passionate about and contribute in a meaningful way.  That might be contributing your expertise, time and/or money.

SB:  What is your advice to corporate leaders and those reading this newsletter?

 Landon: If you are interested in a cause that impacts business, growth of jobs, positive culture and individual empowerment – get involved.  We would be pleased to have you help us accelerate our goal to go from 6,000 students to 11,000 students on their pathway the Victory Circle.  You can offer to be a mentor, advisory board member, financial supporter and/or share our mission with your organization.   Ask yourself if you can see your company joining a powerful network of partners who want to empower 11,000 student leaders of the 21stCentury and create a positive impact for their families and our country at large.

 If you want to learn more call Ingrid Ellerbe, our SVP Partnerships at (714) 371-4200

Or check out site at  https://www.base11.com/

 Conclusion by Sherry

Landon’s energy and passion is contagious.  He and his team are inspiring a revolution.  I understand now that the results he sees in students energizes him and his team while changing their lives and their families in a powerful way.

We are in a time where this kind of difference making is purpose driven and feeds the spirit.   I believe this is a refreshing shift in energy from the drain of intense public and political discourse today to something where we can all have a positive impact.   Why not shift our perspective to the power we each have to change our community by developing others.

Published by: Corey Kachigan in Blog

October 17, 2018 - No Comments!

The Exponential Healthcare Conversation – Conference hosted by Chris Krusiewicz

Last week I was fortunate to attend a conference hosted by Chris Krusiewicz, VP Burnham Benefits.  The presentations were focused on the future.  The goal of this session was to help business leader’s move from being “linear thinkers” to being “exponential thinkers.” He brought impressive thought leaders together to help us learn about the trajectory of change in healthcare being driven by artificial intelligence, genomics to block chain.  

Chris set the tone for the conference by introducing us to the 6D’s of exponential growth.  This term exponential growth is often associated with Ray Kurzweil, an expert in artificial intelligence and leader at Google.  Inc. Magazine ranked him #8 among the most fascinating entrepreneurs in the US today.   Kurzweil says that as humans, we are biased to think in a linear fashion.  As builders of new businesses, we need to think exponentially.  Chris introduced us to the 6 D’s of Kurzweil’s model which outlines the stages of growth we are going through. It starts with “digitized, deceptive, and disruptive” in technology advances thus far.  Each of these technologies, “dematerialized, demonetized and democratized” access to services in a non-liner way, states Chris. 

The concept is really that we should get ready to take the next wave of change.  With the personalization of healthcare and technologies that simplify our patient experience, we can imagine the wave that is coming.  We learned from guest speakers about revolutionizing the patient care experience.  There was a topic on transforming care with machine learning.  Kaiser Permanente’s Lead Data Scientist shared how big data is empowering them to leap ahead in virtual care and predictive models that boggle the mind.

It was refreshing to be with business leaders who are ready to take the next wave and embrace exponential thinking in healthcare. We appreciate your forward thinking ideas and passion for staying connected.  If you want to learn more about future programs – check out www.exponential.healthcare

https://www.linkedin.com/in/chriskrusiewicz/

Published by: Corey Kachigan in Newsletter, Uncategorized

October 17, 2018 - No Comments!

Newsletter – Bruce Swartz, SVP Physician Integration, Dignity Health – The Future of Care October 2018

Imagine having a unique leadership role and charter to disrupt healthcare as we know it today and have it designed for us the patient.  Sounds logical yet few have led the way.  We do have disruptors in healthcare using mobile platforms; however, I met with my friend Bruce Swartz who leads Physician integration at Dignity Health, the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California to learn about their transformation in healthcare.  Bruce leads integration of physician practices for Dignity Health and is building a patient experience with a foundation of technology that defines “care of the future” in entirely new ways.  I caught up with Bruce to learn how he sees this unfolding for this generation.

Sherry Benjamins: Bruce, it seems you have a very positive outlook about healthcare today.  Tell me about that.

Bruce:  I do have a positive outlook and we are focused on the future.  We are seeing the entry of Amazon, Apple, and Google, for example and we must maximize the applications of electronic records to create true sustaining clinical integration. Through Population Health initiatives, we have an aggregation of patient data across multiple technology platforms.  The analysis of that data into a single, actionable patient record is possible and our line of sight is to improve systems and clinical outcomes. When I first joined Dignity, six years ago, we were not connected and are now single instance linked throughout the Dignity Health enterprise which facilitates improved patient outcomes and lower costs.

SB: How will you define this patient experience?

Bruce:   Exceptional service and positive member experience is the answer.  For example, we are launching a fully integrated patient contract center to support the improved patient experience from end to end that not only meets your scheduling requirements, but also facilitates population health outcomes.  Eventually we will utilize Artificial Intelligence, and robotics in both the ambulatory and acute settings.  In fact, we are already we are looking at artificial intelligence to support scribing services for our providers.  .  That stated, we intend never to lose sight of the importance of the human connection throughout the Dignity Health enterprise.

Care of the future means newer and more efficient and patient centered clinics.  We took 42 people at all levels of our system and had them meet for almost a year as a task force to design the clinic they would want to work in.  This will be a footprint for the future and define how care is delivered.  Efficiency, better working experiences for our employees and patients is the driving force for this change.  Our goal is to create a delightful experience for all.

SB: Will virtual care take off?

Bruce:  Today, we are designing pilots that will offer virtual visits.  We are in the early stage here at Dignity but see the infrastructure to complement or go beyond the clinic when it makes sense.  There are many start-ups that are offering high end concierge and mobile apps. We will learn a lot in the next few years and incorporate this into our transformation as well.

SB: What advice do you have for our heads of HR who are looking at designing new benefit plans for their workers?

Bruce:  Don’t be afraid to be more prescriptive with your workforce.  Not everyone will be happy. Creating options and offering different plans to support more personalization matters.  We now have almost five generations working at the same time. Workers will have to support some of the cost. Integrating wellness initiatives is well meaning, but we have seen that the people utilizing those programs already value good health and understand they have a stake in the game to manage their wellness.  I recommend wellness initiatives that require a “stake in the game.” It is a very exciting time to look at revolutionizing care which goes beyond the clinical practice.  We are trailblazing and engaging our leaders to truly hear from our patients and workers about the future they imagine serves us all.

Conclusion by Sherry

Uber and Lyft disrupted the transportation industry. There are so many other examples.  It is exciting to hear about the disruptions in patient care as Bruce describes it.  The largest providers are not going away – however the focus has shifted to member engagement, care management, leading to healthier populations.

I am encouraged that organizations like Dignity Health are replacing old structures with healing environments and designs that will delight a patient and improve outcomes. Why not be a central place for the wellbeing of mind, body and spirit in health? The old system can no longer afford a focus on disease at the exclusion of wellness and self-health managing.  As consumers of healthcare, we are getting pretty sophisticated in choice making. I look forward to a day when we can embrace a conversation about our care with a positive, data-rich and informed outlook.

Published by: Corey Kachigan in Blog, Newsletter

September 11, 2018 - No Comments!

Jaclyn Martin: Story & Image, A Powerful Duo

Jaclyn Martin is a content strategist, writer and artist.  I was fortunate to meet her early this year when one of my long-time colleagues in HR connected us.  After you speak with Jaclyn, you'll quickly learn that she is passionate about listening, learning, and how to create a bold combination of words and images to tell a story.

She is wonderfully curious and, in her quest to understand others and what they want to achieve, she helps them find the truth of their ideas to write a unique story.  We have been fortunate to have Jaclyn as part of our team, participating in interviews with our new clients, writing, and creating web content to showcase their truth about new job opportunities.  I always learn something when speaking with Jaclyn, so it is my pleasure to introduce you to her as well.  


Sherry Benjamins: Tell me about your experience in the talent business? 

Jaclyn Martin: I first started in the talent business in 2001 as a proposal writer for an international staffing company. I learned quickly that there was deep internal expertise about their services, yet there was less known about how the customer or user perceived their service.  I decided to spend some time speaking with HR professionals and my sister, who led an HR function, to better understand the external user perspective.  

It was fascinating to work in an industry with diverse points of view and learn the challenge of selling a service rather than a product.  I believe it is all about potential – the potential of the people and the customer, as well as the potential of building a relationship that results in quality services and trusted partnering.  The different perspectives translated into addressing very different needs.  

My work in this business ranged from writing proposals, helping sales people create compelling presentations, to managing internal communications.   My team conducted research, collected data, interviewed internal and external clients, and identified themes and trends.  It was great to see how the data informed a new strategy, service, or decision about business investments.  I learned a lot about a wide range of businesses and industries, and found it was fun to help leaders craft a compelling story to engage workers or communicate more effectively with their clients.

SB: How do you incorporate story telling in your work?

JM: Everything we experience in life is a story – in order to engage others, we have to engage on that level.  I found I got the best results when engaging people in their own story.   It helps them clarify their desires, goals, and what matters most to them.  I could see that process moves them forward and hits emotional buttons to create connection.   

SB: What interests you in this work?

JM: People interest me – I want to know what motivates or drives them.  I enjoy the process of helping figure out how to get the reaction they want. There’s a difference between spinning a great story and misleading – I am about finding the compelling, honest story.  Helping people figure out how to take complex elements of their work and translate it into something other people can understand is very satisfying.  

One of the challenges we all face in communicating is, the more we know about our industry or work, the harder it is to explain to someone else.  While we’re speaking with insider colleagues we use a shorthand, efficient communication because we both know what we’re talking about.   That can backfire when your goal is to engage a broader group.  Some people are aware of this difficulty and some not, but it’s always a challenge for creating a simple, engaging, and effective message. 

SB: What do you attribute to your success in taking stories to reality?

JM:  Getting my writing degree was an important part of my foundation and allowed me to be humble as a writer.  I believe staying humble about what we know is a key to success.  Listening is important too.  I pay attention to clients and their challenges, but I also pay attention to the concerns and challenges of their clients or target audience because the content we’re creating needs to speak to both. Creating a strategy from that information is more critical than the actual task of writing.  That may not sound logical given my role of writer, yet, listening genuinely to the client and learning what they want to accomplish provides the understanding and context required to craft an authentic, compelling story.  

SB: As an artist as well as writer, how does being an artist inform your work?

JM: Because I work with both visuals and words, I’m more focused on producing less text. Instead, I pair the right words with compelling visuals to create content that’s truly engaging – giving the client more impact from their narrative.  

I get to do this when helping SBCo with their unique micro-sites for high-end talent sourcing.  We create one-page microsites to tell a unique story about a career or new job opportunity.  The unique combination of a compelling position description and engaging visuals in a web site tailored to the position and employer is a truly differentiated way of communicating about a job opportunity and grabs attention.  Our goal is for them to “see themselves in this job,” and elicit the desired response, “tell me more.”   I really enjoy creating a unique message platform that speaks to potential talent.

SB: What is your advice to companies that are starting the “story telling” journey?

JM:  First decide who or what you want to be – it should be based on your values and the authentic way you approach whatever it is you do. Then, check with your clients and employees to see if their experience matches the story you want to tell. Finally, create the simplest version of that story – if you can’t explain it in just a few minutes, it’s too complex and not as compelling as it should be. 

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Newsletter

September 10, 2018 - No Comments!

Jay Golden and Stories that Unlock Power

Early this year, I had the opportunity to meet Jay Golden and learn about the power of “retellable” stories. Jay is an author, keynote speaker, and storytelling coach, who helps leaders shape and share their stories in transformative ways. His work was so fascinating that I asked him to coach me through the exploration of my own stories and experiences to uncover what he calls our own “purpose” through discussion of journey. It truly changed how I see my stories, and how I view my career. I am eager for you to get to know more about Jay through this interview. I agree with him that the power of story helps us navigate in this unpredictable and chaotic business world. 


Sherry Benjamins: How did you begin this work on coaching leaders on storytelling?

Jay Golden:  I began working in all types of communication in the 1990s that focused on education, production, strategy, and video. By 2009 as a new dad, I took a break and looked around. I saw how many new forms of media were emerging every day, and instead of being at the edge, I wanted to be at the center. I knew that the center of all communication was story. And that it begins with personal stories. Audiences are open to hearing about what they truly care about on a personal level.  However, we often bury that or shift in a different direction because of necessity – lack of time, impersonal media, and the perception that people don’t want to hear stories. But how do we truly connect? After all the 1000’s of bits and bytes of information we absorb in a day, what do our audiences remember? And on a personal level, where do we keep and share our key life lessons and insights that guide our careers and organizations? I found that helping leaders, especially founders, identify their stories and use them as a guide towards the future they sought often resulted in a life change.  Whether you are speaking to thousands of people or one on one across the table, practicing the art of sharing stories brings people together. It reinforces why our work matters.

SB: What holds people back from telling their story?

JG: Today, with such an emphasis on rapid-fire communication and data delivery in the work world, we often miss the opportunity to reveal a greater journey, and illuminate lasting change for our audiences. Both the individual and company stories matter. They are equally important to ensuring lasting change. Stories that can be retold have personal power and impact.  Today, we are faced with such rapid, distributed information that is devoid of some of the most precious human elements that inform our organizations.  However, because so many of us are being asked to deliver on change in a rapidly changing world, we get to share our stories to support that process in highly effective and personal ways.

SB: Do you see confidence building as an outcome of your work with leaders?

JG:  Confidence builds as you explore the collection of stories that you hold, and the lessons you’ve learned along the way. These stories are alive - they live inside you. Once you tell them, they can inspire others to see a new way. And while many leaders can feel very separate from their teams, stories humanize them. That process builds personal confidence and organizational resilience.

SB: What have you learned from your clients?

JG: Everyone is different. It’s fascinating to take people back to a story that they’ve experienced and see if they can re-tell it. It does take space and a commitment to engage in this process, but I find that they absolutely can transform their leadership by gathering their stories and retelling them in a focused and fun way.  Heart-centered leaders adopt this practice quickly. They are not driven immediately to ROI on this process, because they see how it can transform communication and engagement in an authentic way. These leaders have an openness and willingness to change and set up the change which will most certainly impact the bottom line.

SB:  In our talk, you mentioned that a key part of change is in how you “set it up.” Tell me more about what “setting up the change” means?

JG: There is a deep dark place where we may not be conscious of our own story. Joseph Campbell says, “the hero is the one who comes to know.”  He refers to the belly of the whale, the innermost cave where the mystery lives. Think about Star Wars, when Luke, Leia, and Han Solo are in the great garbage compactor. The serpent almost takes them down – if there’s a serpent there’s often an innermost cave! This is the dark place of not knowing, and often we work very hard to avoid these difficult places in our stories, afraid we might get stuck there. But with some attention and practice, this becomes critical to your stories, and critical to the change you’re delivering. You may not think about it this way, but before social media, there was story-telling. Retellable stories were delivered to others across the world, to take them through a deep journey so the participants could gain the lesson without having taken the journey. This had far-reaching impact. There would be a mystery revealed, a journey explored and in the final moments, something became very clear and transforming. 

SB:  How is this like culture work?

JG: Companies are interested in how stories drive culture. And often this work is about finding those key stories that are hidden. They may be hidden behind the over-simplicity of testimonials, behind values that are stated on the wall but not understood on a visceral level, or hidden behind the focus on gathering ‘likes’ and not insights. Providing the right incentives to your audiences, either internal or external, can provide a treasure trove of data on what true changes you’re delivering on, and give real life to your values. It begins with a commitment to finding your stories. About 60% of my work is with the individual leader who is looking to clarify direction or engage and inspire others which supports empowerment or a culture shift. I’m interested in the stories that workers share and how that translates to their environment, trust and relationships.

SB: How do you see communication changing today in corporations?

Even with the acceleration of messaging, there is a recognition that we should return to mechanisms that offer personal relevance.  Everything is going to the cloud, yet human relevance is even more important than ever – that which is shared live, in conference halls, at lunch meetings, and in interviews. The cloud doesn’t help as much there. Deep, authentic connections become even more precious.  I lived through the boom and bust of San Francisco, while so much was changing. What stayed constant was this: what makes us individually alive and what we hold dear will remain. Our precious memories, our insights, and our lessons, well delivered, will hold our attention, and the attention of our audiences, even in difficult times.

There are so many changes coming at us from all perspectives that have social, political, technological, and economic impact.  I believe that the leader who has resilience and can adapt to and navigate these changes, while retaining the core of “what they are here to do” will thrive. Stories will be essential for them to inspire and take us into the future. 

Check out Jay’s book, Retellable: How Your Essential Stories Unlock Power and Purpose.

Conclusion

Have you ever worked for a leader who shares a story and it sounds like, “it’s always been that way here” or “this is just how things get done.”   It leaves you with a sense of resignation without much inspiration to change.  For good or bad, our stories offer a vision of how things are in our mind and we use them to interpret forward thinking actions.  Imagine if we could review our stories so that we can acknowledge our strengths and inspire others to challenge them themselves through the gift of personal story.

As you start to scan your own stories, think about what you learned and how it shapes who you are today. That is a great first step. Enjoy the journey.  

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Newsletter

August 5, 2018 - No Comments!

The Shifting Power Base with Employer & Candidate – Kate Kjeell

By Kate Kjeell

“Why do you want this job?” That was the ubiquitous interview question a decade ago.  Candidates needed to demonstrate their interest and prove themselves worthy of consideration.  

The question that now needs to be answered is “Why should I take this job?” and it is the candidate that is doing the asking.

You don’t have to be a nuclear physicist to know that times have changed. We are collectively coming up on the 10-year anniversary of the great recession and nearing full employment.  In addition, technology, social media and access to crowd sourced information on hiring managers, companies and job openings have shifted the power to the consumer, in this case the candidate.

No longer can any of us sit back with the mentality “if we post it, they will come.”  Job opportunities need to be marketed just like products and services, and candidates need to be treated like your customers.  They expect to be wooed and presented with a compelling value proposition.

This shift in power extends all through the hiring process even to negotiations around compensation.  In many states, as in California, it is now illegal to ask about current or prior compensation.  The candidate is entitled to know the compensation range without divulging any information other than their expectations.

To attract great talent, progressive companies are already changing their approach to talent.  The early adopters will win.  It is not too late to shift your strategy.

Here are four things you might want to think about:

  • Value Proposition: What is the value proposition your company offers? Can everyone involved in the hiring process articulate that in a few concise sentences?  A clear message that authentically engages the individual sees an  improved response rates with higher quality passive candidates.  
  • Marketing Message: What is exciting about this particular job? What will this candidate get to do in the first year?  Call us at SBC to learn how we market a role with a very unique and tailored micro-site.  Our goal is to leave the job description as an artifact of the past and create a forward looking, digital friendly and compelling  story so that ideal candidates want to learn more.  Trust me – it works!
  • Market Savvy Total Rewards: How does your company create total rewards offerings that match up with the market? In this competitive market and with more access to compensation information, candidates are savvy.  Be prepared with an understanding of what the candidate wants balanced with your best thinking on an attractive offer.  Act quickly.  We are seeing more candidates with competitive offers than ever before. 
  • Back-Up Plans: What is my back-up plan to fill this position?  Based on all the factors outlined candidates do have multiple offers.  This leads to offers that may be declined or your need to explore a counter-offer.  Be prepared to engage with multiple candidates so that you have alternatives in this tight talent market. 

The rules of the hiring game are ever changing.  You have the opportunity to adapt and excel in successful hiring.  It will take some strategy, selling and astute selection.  Those of you adapting will thrive while seeing others go the way of Blockbuster Video, Polaroid or Tower Records.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter

August 5, 2018 - No Comments!

A Culture Story – Meet Bilal Khan, CEO of New World Medical

It is rare to meet a CEO who invests as much in people as he does in products. Bilal Khan, CEO of New World Medical is on a mission to deliver innovative solutions in vision to benefit the global community. As a matter of fact, one of their key values is to Benefit Humanity. The company works to achieve this lofty goal by developing, manufacturing, and marketing cutting-edge medical devices intended to alleviate the suffering of glaucoma patients around the world. 

We had the honor of meeting Bilal and his senior team last year to help them answer the question: “As we scale our efforts to Benefit Humanity, how can we maintain and enhance our mission-driven culture?”  Only an enlightened and open leader asks this kind of question as he embraces growth and greater impact in the world.  I was eager to catch up with Bilal to see how they are doing.

Sherry Benjamins: Tell us about New World Medical and the progress on your culture initiatives.

Bilal Khan: We are an ophthalmic device company based in Rancho Cucamonga focused on developing and distributing glaucoma implants and devices that empower surgeons to enhance the lives of their patients.  

Our team is proud of our tremendous growth, which has been driven by our collective focus on building collaborative relationships with surgeons and developing innovative technology to enrich the lives of patients.  Equally important has been New World Medical’s investment in our culture. Late last year we embarked on a journey to refine our core values and build upon the special foundation we have at New World Medical.  

Our partnership with your team, drove us to broaden executive coaching efforts, refine our charitable initiatives, create a culture committee, launch quarterly town halls, and refocus our employee engagement activities around community-building.  This work was essential for us to establish a scalable and authentic foundation for our rapid growth.

SB: You have mentioned the importance of coaching in your company – how does that show up today in your culture?

BK: We have an ongoing commitment to develop our team through coaching. It’s important for us to invest in our colleague’s success if we are going to be true to our mission. In our effort to better understand them and what they need from us to flourish; we have brought in external coaches for our managers and continue to build-out our professional development efforts. 

SB: What are you learning about innovation and taking risk? 

BK:  As the CEO, you have to decide whether you are building a business or only a product. If you’re building a business, invest in and empower your talent. I have learned that giving talented people autonomy, allowing them to take risks and creating the room to recover from occasional setbacks builds capabilities.  We strive to create an environment that gives our colleagues this space, while also holding them accountable to our collective mission. 

I have seen far too many entrepreneurs limited by their inability to recruit, maintain, and cultivate the necessary talent to scale and sustain the remarkable platforms they have built.  My philosophy is, you help me grow the business and we can share the success together. Talented folks yearn for a sense of ownership, and it is only a zero-sum opportunity if you don’t plan on growing.

SB:  What is your leadership philosophy?

BK: My leadership team needs the freedom to take on more responsibility and that requires trust.    My job is to coach them on process not tactics, which is a hard transition to make.  Most individuals that ascend to a leadership position do so by always having the right answers, but once your are charged with greater responsibility, you need to continually identify the right questions.

SB:  Is that part of the family owned, privately held philosophy?

BK: We are fortunate to have the luxury of a long-term perspective to building our business that is not distracted by the constant pursuit of a liquidity event.  Our family believes in New World Medical’s mission and this is something we focus on with potential hires.  When you join a family-owned business there are freedoms that come with our ability to focus on mission and values, however, there can be struggles too if it is not run as a meritocracy or there are confounding objectives. 

SB: How do you think about innovation in your industry?

BK: There have traditionally been two primary types of innovation in our space.  First, there is venture-driven R&D that is capital intensive and necessitates a substantial business opportunity to justify acquisition by a strategic. Second, there is less rigorous, incremental innovation driven by firms with narrower capabilities. 

These models leave the needs of many vulnerable patients unaddressed.  There may not be enough of them to attract the attention of multinationals or venture investment, and their ailments beyond the technological capacity of smaller firms.  For glaucoma patients, New World Medical hopes to bridge that gap.  Additionally, our long-term approach allows us to develop institutional knowledge and chart an iterative path towards improving patient care.

SB: What is your advice to other CEO’s who are growing their business?

The number one thing is to invest in and empower your talent.  If you do this and hold your team accountable to an inspiring, higher cause, it will lead to special results.

Closing thoughts...

Most of us like Bilal, probably want to give people autonomy and freedom to develop ideas that will take your business further.  It is logical yet we revert to company controls that used to work but today are obsolete.   It seems we invest in data, systems, machine learning, AI and now block chain today.  And, we underinvest in building a creative, agile and risk taking culture for our employees.  In Michael Arena’s new book, Adaptive Space, he talks about “fueling agility” in our business and touches on this freedom that we talk about.  Thank you Bilal for reminding us that the human investment is what matters in setting a collective mission that energizes us.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter

July 5, 2018 - No Comments!

Opportunity Guide – What are you learning this week?

There is something great about a holiday in the middle of the week.  It seems to slow us all down and allow for reflection.  It can be disorienting too.  I understand that too well.

Our ability to withdraw can be the best way to move ourselves forward.  Our success in doing this is letting go of "busy."  You are not getting lost or out of touch when you withdraw, you are allowing  yourself to return newly refreshed with more intention on what matters.

The real secret here is that the success we all strive for whether it is in our work or our transitions to something new, does not start with a list of to do's.  It might feel good having that check list to go to. However, it seems that a week like this with a break in the middle allows us to remove ourselves from the list making and make ourselves available from another ground.  We can look for that new ground and speak in a more clear and rested voice.

With your day or two off explore what is right in your life rather than what is wrong or missing.  Even when things are going well, our nature is often to search for the "problem to solve."   Ganesh, our lovely elephant-headed Hindu deva, is widely revered as the remover of obstacles, the patron of arts and sciences and represents intellect and learning. Find your Ganesh this week, dispel those problems and focus on appreciating your gift of learning.

My friend Jeremy Hunter with the Drucker Institute says, "we can miss opportunities to appreciate what's beautiful, nourishing and even magical even when it's staring us in the face. All it takes is a slight shift in perception to notice what's around you and be fed by it."

So, in the spirit of withdrawal and being courageous to let go of busy, appreciate Ganesh too, I wish you all a week of rest and reflection.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Uncategorized

July 2, 2018 - No Comments!

What is your brand when you can’t be there ?

Every minute of the day, our brand communicates information about who we are, our character, interests, perspectives and performance. People can find out a lot about us online. If you have not googled yourself lately, I suggest doing that now. Are you pleased with what you see?

How you show up in social sends a message about yourself whether it is intentional or not. I think by now, most of us see the importance of having an authentic presence in social media. At least in the business world I participate in, you can’t avoid this. You are checked out before a networking meeting, before an interview and before someone says they want to do business with you.

Bob Johansen, a distinguished fellow at the Institute for the Future in Silicon Valley recently wrote a book about leadership literacies as we look out the next ten years. He writes about one literacy in particular that has me thinking about how we “show up the world.”  He says we will need to be there for our teams across the world, when we are not there.  It is virtual and non-conventional platforms for communicating that will become norms.   We see it now.  We will earn trust in our network or our company through other means that just being in a physical setting.  Building on-line relationships and having presence virtually across geography will be more important in the future.  Technology makes this possible.

Imagine a future where; where you are leading a team without physical presence.  We have that now most of the time in our small and mighty team of recruiters. Our managing director, Kate Kjeell brings them together once a week for de-briefs and problem solving. Instant messaging keeps daily communication a key aspect of being present. We use phone, email, conference call, skype or combinations.

How do we convey presence when we can’t be everywhere?

Here are the three things to do in order to create your voice online:
1.) Ask yourself, “How will people know what I know?” In your effort to share a story online or your point of view make a list of topics that are important to you. These topics or themes are areas you are passionate about and will be the starting point for your writing, blog or on-line presence.
2.) Research how others are known in a field that interests you.  Where do they express themselves? Dorie Clark writes a book called, Stand Out. It is a great foundation for building a presence and point of view without being physically together.
3.) Share your ideas with your colleagues. How do others influence virtual teams?  Test out "being there when you aren't" by scheduling a skype call.

Consider being your best you, when not being there in person.  One of the future competencies to learn is how to lead when you are not there.  What is your way to start this journey?

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Communication, Management, Talent Economy