John is an executive recruiter & speaker sharing his thoughts on healthcare, recruiting, digital technology, career management & leadership. 

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The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System
7 November, 2011 Posted by John G. Self
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22 November, 2017 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Stories
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A Trick To Change Your Career Outlook

Posted November 22nd, 2017 | Author: John G. Self


As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I want to share a little trick I learned recently that has dramatically changed my outlook on my work, on my family and on my future goals. If you try it, I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the positive impact in your own life.

To participate you do not have to buy anything, all it requires is a notebook, pen and a few minutes each day.

A few weeks ago I attended the National Association of Health Service Executives in San Antonio. For those of you not familiar with this wonderful organization, it is the association of African American healthcare executives in the US. I had never attended and did not know what to expect. Well, here is what I got: a welcoming group of people, an excellent set of presentations, panel discussions and insightful keynote presentations. This wasn’t a staid conference. This was more like a warm and uplifting trip to a family reunion. An absolutely great investment of my time.

On my last day at the conference, I had a choice on either attending a presentation on making your network work for you presented by a colleague from Heidrick & Struggles, or another session entitled “Turn the Page: First Master Your Leadership Story” by Dr. Johnny Parker of the Parker Group, a Washington, D.C. executive coaching and leadership development consultancy. Dr. Parker is a former life coach for the Washington Redskins and the Washington Mystics of the WNBA. He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University. His underlying theme was this: Leaders tell a story about who they are and what they value through their leadership style. The big question is whether your leadership is telling the story you want to be told by others?

There was great stuff in this far-too-short presentation, but there was one thing he said that stuck with me and has made such an important impact on my outlook on life. The amazing thing is that Dr. Parker’s recommendation was part of something I was already doing, and have for years: journaling.

A number of years ago I ran into another interesting consultant, Rand Stagen, a Dallas-based entrepreneur who operates the Stagen Leadership Academy. I was already keeping a journal at the time, but it was Stagen who advocated for a journaling process that included more than just events and reminders. He said to begin logging my reflections and other information about events of the day, interactions with people and important decisions, large and small. Later he said that reflecting on that information, replaying the events in my mind could provide an opportunity to assess my effectiveness in coming to the right solution and execution of that decision. He calls that process “game filming”, something sports teams do after every game to evaluate if they were effective or fell short and what needs to happen for them to improve.

Executives who use this technique say they have benefited enormously from adding this dimension to their daily journaling routine. I certainly agree and endorse the concept.

But Dr. Parker suggested another element to journaling that I had never considered.

Plan each day’s events and things to do in your journal and then add this: Each day, journal three, four or five things you are grateful for — your spouse or partner, your family, a success, even a failure from which you are determined to learn. Perhaps it is a challenge that you must overcome to achieve success. Be grateful you have the opportunity to prove to yourself and others that you are capable of success.

One dear friend asked me what I was going to do when I ran out of things to be grateful for. I was surprised by his comment. It caught me off guard because it had never occurred to me that running out of things to be grateful for was even remotely possible.

If you live life each day to its fullest, if you are engaging with people in a meaningful way, then your list of things to be grateful for will never end.

As I was preparing for this podcast, I ran across a story on gratitude in yesterday’s Dallas Morning News. Senior Writer Leslie Barker wrote:

“Brief or detailed, spoken or shown, some bit of gratitude is possible in every moment of every day.” Because it is embodied in the very word of the holiday we celebrate this week, what better time

than Thanksgiving to focus on all it does for us — spiritually, emotionally and physically, Ms. Barker concluded.

But, while journaling gratitude and enjoying its benefits, there are limitations to what it can do, Ms. Barker wrote. It won’t make money problems go away or turn sorrow into joy or make a deadly diagnosis disappear. What it will do is refresh the way we look at life. It will add color to the black and white of the seemingly mundane.

Studies have linked gratitude to reductions in stress and lower blood pressure.

You can express gratitude in many ways: writing a thank you note, telling someone how much you appreciate something they did for you or letting loved ones know that you appreciate them and that you care.

There will not be a blog post on Thursday but join us on Friday at JohnGSelf.Com or on LinkedIn for a resume guide that reflects the current thinking on this subject.

And now one last note. Today I wrote three gratitudes in my journal. But I sit here in the studio I realize one very important point of gratitude that I left out. I am grateful for you, for listening to the podcast and for following our twice-weekly blogs and for your kind words about our content. Thank you.

From all of us at JohnGSelf, I want to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving. Safe travels.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

© 2017 John Gregory Self

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21 November, 2017 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Resume
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The Resume: Least Enjoyable, Most Critical Part of Your Search

Posted November 21st, 2017 | Author: John G. Self

First of Two Parts

Developing a resume is typically one of the least enjoyable tasks when preparing to enter the job market. It is also one of the most critical.

Your resume must speak to your experience and record of accomplishment in a compelling manner when you are not present to speak for yourself.

A good candidate with a weak or mediocre resume typically will not advance in a search.

Here are some important points to consider:

  1. You can no longer send the same resume to each job you pursue. An increasingly competitive job market requires candidates to take every possible step to differentiate themselves from the dozens of other candidates. You must customize the resume to address the specific needs of each prospective employer.
  2. Quantifiable evidence of success only makes your candidacy more credible. In the past, employers paid more attention to a candidate’s professional history. Prior experience is still important but candidates must think in the language of this is what I have accomplished versus this is where I have been.
  1. There are no firm rules as to the appropriate length of a resume with the exception of new graduates who have little or no relevant industry experience. In that case, a one-page resume is appropriate. However, executives with 20 or 30 years of experience should use two to three pages, more if there is a compelling reason. Some outplacement consultants argue that an executive’s resume should never exceed two pages. Retained recruiters typically want to see a resume that includes all relevant employment tenures. Our rule of thumb: The resume’s length should reflect a candidate’s years of experience and appropriate accomplishments.
  1. Candidates should not confuse membership in a professional association with a professional credential: Joe Jones, ACHE. Moreover, the ACHE no longer uses the CHE – Certified Healthcare Executive – designation after an individual’s name: Joe Jones, CHE. It is logical for a recruiter to conclude that continued use of the CHE designation means the individual is not up to date. Candidates should not continue to use a professional credential if their membership or educational credits are not current. Most recruiters or employers will verify that information.
  1. Candidates should avoid accomplishment creep, the process of exaggerating accomplishments, or taking sole credit for work that was actually accomplished by a team. Unfortunately, while some candidates no longer misrepresent their academic or professional credentials, accomplishment creep is more common. Candidates should be aggressive in establishing their record of accomplishment but there is a line that must not be crossed.
  1. Place your name and page number on all subsequent pages of your resume.
  1. Do NOT put your contact information in a header at the top of the resume. This can make it more difficult for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or recruiters using a manual system to quickly and efficiently “grab” your contact information to create a database.

On Friday we will publish an overview of what many executive recruiters say is an ideal resume.

The SelfPerspective team joins me in wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Invite you to follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

© 2017 John Gregory Self

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16 November, 2017 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Career Networking, Social Media
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Career Management for Leaders: How to Use the Free ‘Global Billboard’

Posted November 16th, 2017 | Author: John G. Self

CHICAGO — LinkedIn is a powerful career management tool if you know how to use it.

Think of LinkedIn as a global billboard that is free. That is how my very market savvy friend, Ron Thomas of Strategy Focused Group in Dubai, describes this professional networking platform. Ron credits LinkedIn with helping him fulfill his business mission to create a successful human resource consultancy based in Dubai.

In yesterday’s podcast I said that if executives who robustly discount or flat out ignore the platform, would just set aside their egos or whatever other barrier keeps them from getting on the LinkedIn train, they would find they actually have more control over their careers. They can actively minimize the chance of being left on the sidelines by the search consultancy crowd, or alleviate their perpetual frustration over lessor colleagues with inferior career achievements who seem to be landing the prized positions. There are some remarkably talented CEOs who fall into this category. To borrow a quote from a savvy old Texas county judge: “You can be on the train or you can be on the tracks. Your choice.”

Now here is an important caveat: Learn before you leap lest you waste time and effort and then blame the program, not the operator.

Part of LinkedIn’s beauty is that it allows you to target your audience. Heck, you can even build an audience — you can join or build special interest groups. Joining is easy, picking the right groups to join — those that will allow you to connect with the most appropriate audience — takes some time and research. In other words, going all in is not a one and done exercise. Aside from your success oriented profile that touts your experience AND successes, you must invest time being visible and engaged with members of the various groups you join.

You can also build your own community. For example, if you are an executive who excels in leading extraordinary turnarounds, you can build a group that targets people who share common interests. But you also want to connect with board trustees. You do this by developing content that will attract them to your group. Or you can shift over to Facebook and create a separate page for Directors/Trustees with information they will value.

It is important to note that this strategy is not reserved for senior leaders. It can be used, on a smaller scale in some cases, for leadership up-and-comers.

By the way, there are reasonably priced firms that can help you develop a strategy and develop content. Prices vary but there are some boutique specialists who have surprisingly reasonable monthly fees.

If you have questions, email me at AsktheRecruiter@JohnGSelf.Com.

I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. And don’t forget to check out our week career management videos each Saturday on YouTube. You can subscribe to receive notifications when we release new content.

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© 2017 John Gregory Self

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