March 23, 2019 - No Comments!

Who Owns Development?

In my earlier blog post, I talked about the simple act of preparing managers to manage in order to strengthen worker engagement.  The simple part is committing to this focus.  The hard part is learning what is needed and how to move forward.

Who owns development?  Each of us decide that path and if we work with an enlightened boss, we get to discuss how to move forward that engages us personally and organizationally.  There is such a great opportunity today to turn the workplace into a learning place.  Forget hierarchy. Everyone has to be learning to compete.  My friend, Beverly Kaye talks about contemporary "lattice-like" career growth and expanding skills. Managers can be our role model here.  I suggest the following;

  • Determine what your learning plan is for 2019. (You also need to know the mission critical and prioritized business goals for the year)
  • Are you doing work that is satisfying for you and adding value? If not, what is the one thing you can do to change that?
  • Are you able to live the values that matter to you?
  • Discuss this with your peers and leadership team.  Create your company learning philosophy.  Get specific about how you support learning in your company.
  • Now take this conversation to your workers - share the philosophy.  Help them create a personalized learning plan.

This is the beginning of a strong foundation for engagement.  Not simple yet critical for you and your worker to grow and not let them go.


Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Employee Engagement, Management, Uncategorized

March 23, 2019 - No Comments!

Meaningful Work Produces Results – Keep Your Talent

Wouldn't it be great to fix a problem before it is a problem?  And, even better with something that is simple.  For decades we have talked about engagement and developing managers.  It seems, from a sneak preview of Gallup's new research that much has not changed. A third of workers are highly engaged.  What about the other 70%?

The study's conclusion laid out in Jim Clifton and Jim Harter's book that is to be released next month, says the overwhelming driver to sustained performance is the manager as coach.  We know that, right?  However, it is still a topic of deep conversation with my clients and colleagues about what is missing today.

I recently met with several of my clients to learn about their perspective on disruptors in their business and impact on talent.  One theme that is emerging is the need to prepare and develop managers so that they respond to fast moving changes in the business and understand what workers want today.  Workers expect to do meaningful work that supports personal growth.  They are not shy to ask for and expect this.

This goes for the new professional as well as the seasoned one.  This past week I also had three calls from accomplished professionals in HR who see limits to their own growth in their organizations and are now exploring  new opportunities.  There is a problem here that we are not solving for.  It is avoidable yet, with all the demands and accelerating pace of business, senior leaders have forgotten the reason we have growth in the first place.  Yes, you have to have a great business model and service too but it also means equally hiring,  keeping and inspiring talent.  What if you could fix your problem simply by investing in managers?  Hiring good ones matters.  As Gallup states, they are the rocket fuel of the future.

Companies that enjoy engaged workers consistently post profit gains. What is not to like about that result? It is time to go for the simple solution, before you find that 30% or more of your best talent is planning to find the next chapter of their career somewhere else.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Employee Engagement, Management

February 15, 2019 - No Comments!

SBC February Newsletter – The Engagement Challenge from John O’Brien

Newsletter – John O’Brien, VP Employee Performance on Engagement in our work world

We see heated competition for many categories of talent across multiple industries and specialties.   With unemployment at an all-time low and a scarcity of skills, we thought it was good timing to talk about how critical it is to keep those human assets.

I learned of BI Worldwide, a global firm, headquartered in Minneapolis, focused on inspiring the people that matter most to customer success.  That intrigued me so I hope you enjoy this discussion with John O’Brien, VP of Employee Performance for BI Worldwide.  He shared his view s on the challenge and unprecedented realities of worker and workforce complexity.

Sherry Benjamins: What brought you to this work in performance and engagement?

John O’Brien: Early on in my college career I was drawn to behavioral psychology and that is where I focused my studies. I had the chance to be a counselor and learn there were opportunities to make a difference when helping others understand behavior and what changes might lead to their increase in happiness.  With a Psychology background, I landed at BI Worldwide and over the past  34 years have focused my work in engaging talent which supports strategy and ultimately profitability for our clients.  The work we do for customers is specific to HR strategy.  Large organizations are looking at ways to attract and retain talent. We see that as relevant today.

Worker expectations have changed. We once defined ourselves by who we are and what we do.  Staying in one career was not uncommon.  The new generation defines themselves by what work will provide them.  They define themselves differently.

It is fascinating today to see five generations in the workplace.  The average manager age is 30 to 32 years old and managing two generations ahead and behind themselves.  This would challenge any of us in understanding the mindset and behaviors of our workers and leaders.  Out of the gate expectations have changed so drastically that through many channels, our worker today is more sophisticated.  The manager to employee connection is more important than ever.

SB: The collective wisdom of workers is a concept and not always a reality. How are you seeing the best companies understand this?

John:  There are organizations that do this really well.  I see three factors here.  First, workers want to lead.  So, letting them lead gives them an opportunity to take risks and engage with others earlier.   Leaders are working to understand the collective wisdom for it comes from a very diverse group.  The younger generations want to be challenged and have an emotional connection to the work, the team and the company.  Great leaders give them the confidence to take risk and allow them to lead. It can start in the onboarding process.  As an example, a new hire in the onboarding process may be invited to participate in a cross functional team working on a new product or service. This comes at an early stage in the worker relationship and great managers allow this to happen for those with potential.  Workers can see their future and how they will progress.  This is important to their career plan.

Secondly, organizations that offer meaning in what you do allows a context which drives performance.  Meaning provides an emotional connection to the company.  Workers want to be part of something bigger.

The third important factor is collaboration or “unite them.”  People will go above and beyond when collaboration and connection occurs.  Environments that support collaboration allow a unified approach and improved performance.  Our clients are utilizing technology to collaborate across the globe and we encourage them to use reinforcement, progress to goals discussions and team oriented behavior so that goals are met and rewards are given for those reaching goals.  Sometimes we get held back due to culture or language or the way things are done so being transparent is key to helping our clients build a unified approach.     

SB: What does the future require of leaders that we have not seen before? 

John:First, recognize good work and be transparent with expectations.  Managers need to understand each employee individually.  This will maximize performance.  It is still true that people leave managers and not companies. We are spending more time helping our clients set goals and reinforce good manager and worker behavior.  Compensation and benefits can only take you so far in the engagement space.  Once an employee sees compensation is fair, the discretionary contribution matters.  How we deliver the message will need to be new.  There are more individuals working on jobs that they are not necessarily trained on.  As an example, we may have to rely on a team in India for work needed.  The future of how we work is more distributed and requires new skill sets for managers.

You will see more technology based tools to help managers in the future.  We have a recognition tool that uses data and insights as a way to inform managers to take action. We also have some predictive models that indicate turnover levels based on frequency of recognition.  Watch for developments in this area across the engagement market.

SB: How do we shift from a doing more with less mindset?

John:  Organizations will continue to work with less. The shift to AI and technology is not there yet to do more with less but we are moving in that area – such as what we see more of in retail or manufacturing.  Individuals will be asked to work on assignments where they hold newly developed skills and they are learning as they go.  Work will also be done in a distributed, team structure that changes how work gets done with greater efficiency as the goal.

SB:  How do we do more and better?

John:  Are organizations challenging their workers to bring forward creativity?  Managers think they may know a creative solution but are removed from processes.  Let’s look to those that have direct line or touch to the work. It is important to understand the current state and what work flow looks like.  Employees do know what can be improved.  The generations that are coming in have access to technology and are more productive in how they operate their social and work life. Simplifying the message and the clarifying intention helps this new generation move to greater levels of participation and happiness.

The biggest shift I have seen is that recognition and engagement is a key pillar to the strategy of the company, it is a stated initiative from the CEO.  It is aligned with a return on the expense of an investment.  Recognition is strategic.

SB: What have you learned about yourself through this work?

John:  I have learned that if I put in the effort and the attitude, it is good for me and the organization. I have also learned the value of being curious, taking risks and being recognized for contributions.

We all have more of a say in how and where we do our work .The best talent steps up takes initiative here.  Of course, that means our company cultures needs to be ok with that.   I have learned that makes the difference for me. 

Conclusion by Sherry

Today’s business environment grows more complex by the minute.  It could be AI, technology, process efficiency or the newest thing in bitcoin.  We then add the power of choice into the mix.  Workers have choice and are exhibiting that in assessing career options and where and how they want to work.  We are in a new place where feedback is even more critical across your organization.  It is a fluid labor market. One of our clients said they are embracing all workers (Regular, Full time, Part time, contract and freelance) in hopes to improve engagement inside and out.  It isn’t just a one size fit all initiative.  Feedback is driving performance for customers and workers of all types.  How are you stepping up to this reality today? Your current and future talent will want to know and they are impatient.

Make sure to check out the BI Worldwide Event in Orange County next month: Innovative ideas to inspire the people who impact your business in 2019

Thursday, March 21, 2019  4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

This event is complimentary. For more information and to register check out their website:

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Uncategorized

January 24, 2019 - No Comments!

Looking Forward: A New Chapter for S. Benjamins & Co.

It’s hard to believe we started S. Benjamins & Company 22 years ago. We’ve cherished the relationships with our clients and partners over the past two decades. Talent strategy consulting was our initial focus, and we have always sought to bring fresh ideas and strong talent to your organizations.

I am excited and ready to move to a new chapter in my business and work with our clients and trusted partners.  Upon my return from a long planned trip to Italy in February, I will launch my work with CEO’s and leaders on the human capital issues related to talent.  This is about advancing the human side of business.  It is the most strategic business issue facing leaders today.

In order to shift my focus and define this next chapter for me, I will be transitioning our search services to Kate as she launches her new company, TalentWell,on February 1st.   She has consistently served our clients with care and proven results.   I am delighted to support her as she makes this her own venture. Please feel free to connect with Kate to discuss search needs.

We will continue the HRoundtable, our facilitated forums for connecting HR executives to experts with diverse perspectives for shared learning and community building. This is an extension of a mission I chartered over ten years ago  to provide thought leadership on the changing world of work.

I look forward connecting with you and hearing your thoughts.  I will be in touch soon to share more and as always, collaborate to learn more from you so that we can uncover new opportunities for change.

Wishing you all a great new year!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Uncategorized

December 11, 2018 - No Comments!

My favorite books to read in the coming year by Sherry Benjamins

We face confusing, changing social and business forces.  It is a challenge to stay grounded.  Here are some of my favorites for thoughtful consideration and coping.  Are you interested in inspiration for the new year? Look at these options and enjoy.

  • “Braving the Wilderness: the Quest for True belonging & Courage to Stand Alone” by Brene’ Brown. This is one of her best books and she challenges what we know and think about true belonging in communities, companies and culture.  Brene’ says we are going through a crisis of disconnection, and in this book she introduces four practices of true belonging.  It is the advanced discussion of authenticity she writes about in earlier books.   Teach your kids these practices.
  • “The Bell and the Blackbird” by David Whyte– Okay those of you that know me well realize I admire and follow the work of David Whyte.He is a poet and corporate philosopher. His other books are equally thought provoking and are heart felt.  His “Crossing the Unknown Sea” is about reuniting the imagination with our day to day work.  His poetry and writing helps you connect to what is important.  One of my colleagues from early career life introduce me to David Whyte and it was life-changing then and remains an inspiration for the importance of finding our path or paths many times in our life.
  • “Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life”by Francesca Gino, Harvard Professor and award-winning researcher – I really appreciated the stories that illustrate a rebellious approach at work that leads to great advances. The rebel has power and isn’t simply about breaking the rules.  Share this book with your team and take one chapter at a time to explore real life case studies.
  • “Pivot: The only Move that Matters in Your Life is Your Next One” by Jenny Blake.  If it is time to start thinking of your next move, this is the book to read.  Jenny talks about the pivot and how we shift to stay agile, whether you are making a change or not. This is very practical and she shares lots of great online tools.
  • The Knowledge Project Podcast by Shane Parrish( My favorite blog and podcast.  There is a wealth of information each week and Shane gives us ideas, methods, and mental models that expand our thinking aimed at living deliberately.  He hosts podcasts with fascinating people, writes articles and newsletter and you can join his community to share ideas with others. It is my go to place each week to feed my curiosity and desire for learning.

Enjoy your adventures into the New Year and be courageous.  David Whyte says that courage is the measure of our “heartfelt participation with life and with another, with a community, and our work.”

I used to have trepidation about the first month of the year.  As a business owner, it was always like starting over each January.  Now, I have entirely reframed so that it is the time to let go of things that don’t work and reach out to accept something new.  Explore what a new year means to you and often you find out what you already know and trust about your future.   We wish you the best holiday season and a peaceful Happy New Year!

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter

December 11, 2018 - No Comments!

SBC Newsletter: Building Resilience for 2019 – Learning from Jeremy Hunter

We held our end of year HRoundtable session this week with an amazing group of leaders and a very special guest facilitator.  Jeremy Hunter is a long-time friend.  He is Associate Professor of Practiceand Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Instituteat the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.We were able to snag him from his teaching, speaking and coaching of senior leaders and teams to facilitate a conversation with our group on Resilience and Adapting to Challenges.

 Why this matters so much now

It mattered to our HRoundtable, comprised of 15 top HR leaders and for this session their bosses.  They wanted to talk about how they can build capacity for more positive energy and resilience to face constant and unexpected challenges. They also wanted to learn about where the human aspect of our work is going in light of AI, machine learning and robotics.  We talked about specific methods to move from mindless reaction to clear intention and ultimately effective action.

The essential skills we never learned in school

Jeremy states that while school teaches us to think, it doesn’t teach us to see. Yet, executives need clear perception in an intensely changing world to be able to effectively adapt to it. Without these tools leaders will revert to being reactive, overwhelmed with work and settling with unwanted results.

No one ever taught us to train our mind to transform our results.  It reminds me of the Keith Yamashita book, Unstuck. He writes about change and how getting stuck is just part of life.  In Keith’s change model he suggests that we must perceive the change before we engage in it.  Jeremy started us with an exercise on seeing an image and how each of us has different perceptions based on unconscious biases.  We discussed how our immediate experience is in part a unique construction based on our past, our cultural assumptions, our biological condition, and our emotional state.   Learning to see how these non-conscious forces limit our perceptions, actions and results is the necessary skill leaders need to move forward and thrive.

We have to master both the inner and outer games.

We excel at the outer game.  We historically spend a lot of our time in the external game skilling up in strategy, communications, management and more. We have perfected the learning in this area with MBA courses, how-to workshops and more.  The inner game is all about self-awareness, self-management and self-transformation. Much less time is spent on building these skills.  Yet, they are key to effectively meeting quickly changing conditions.  With over 16 year’s experience Jeremy created and teaches The Executive Mind, a series of demanding and transformative executive education courses dedicated to Drucker’s assertion that “You cannot manage other people unless you manage you first.” This is the essence of inner game.

How effective are you at managing yourself?

Managing ourselves means managing our nervous system. He introduced the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the nervous system. One branch raises our adrenaline and energy level while the other slows us down to relaxation.  When kept in balance, you can engage, connect, adapt.  When energy shifts too high, we experience a frenetic sense of scatteredness, rigidity and irritability, and an inability to relax.  In extreme cases, we withdraw, isolate and experience low energy like depression or lethargy.  Where are you most of the week?  Are you engaged and connected or running in overdrive to meet unrelenting demands and tapped out of personal energy?  Where are you your best self?

I see in the HRoundtable members a desire to connect and learn from each other. They do have huge plates of work and responsibility so finding the balance is a struggle at times.  I guess what keeps me committed to the HRoundtable (now 15 years+) is that I curate opportunities for self-awareness, learning and connection.  That is what matters and where we experience positive impact and wellbeing.

What is one method for building resilience?

We all have resources to call on in times of stress. Resources bring balance to the nervous system.  Jeremy suggests that a resource can be a positive experience you reflect on, a treasured place you enjoy or even a beloved pet.  He had us all explore three resources that help us feel strong, loved and safe. Then we detailed one resource and in doing so, we talked about how that experience positively and immediately impacted our breathing, sense of calm or muscle tension.

You could sense the calm and the energy shift in our group within ten minutes. That was pretty powerful – just imagine if we took a few moments each day to reflect on a positive resource and allowed us all to breathe.  I can’t help but imagine that this builds the capacity to stay calm and steady when things are not?  The new norm is the opposite of steady.

If you would like to learn more about building your own and leaders capacity for change or resilience, reach out to Jeremy Hunter. His site is

More about Jeremy


Jeremy is Associate Professor of Practiceand the Founding Director of the Executive Mind Leadership Instituteat the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University.   His work redefines productivity by cultivating quality of mind.  He graduated with a PhD from University of Chicago in Human Development and from the Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government with a Master’s in Public Policy.  His work is also deeply informed by more than twenty years' experience with Asian contemplative practices.

Jeremy draws on the work of management philosopher Peter Drucker, who believed that a healthy society rested on good management.  He understood that managing oneself was the first and most essential management challenge. After all, we can’t manage anything well without first managing ourselves.

Jeremy sees life as an ongoing series of moments. How present we are for these moments determines our quality of life and the quality of our results. When we are scattered and unfocused our life becomes stressed and frenetic. “In the midst of a multitasking we react to our emotions. Misguided actions then lead to unwanted and wasteful personal and professional results. When we live with greater attention and presence we act more deliberately, prudently, and effectively. Life starts to work as it should. In short, we find peace amidst the chaos, “ says Jeremy.

Published by: Sherry Benjamins in Newsletter

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: Sherry Benjamins 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

 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: Sherry Benjamins 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

Published by: Sherry Benjamins 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: Sherry Benjamins in Blog, Newsletter