About John G. Self

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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19 April, 2018 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Healthcare
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Hospitals Will Never Rely on Bar Codes! Yeah, Right 

Posted April 19th, 2018 | Author: John G. Self

Change is inevitable.  We all know that but it is amazing how many people dig in their heels when presented with the possibility.

Many years ago, in the mid-1980s to be more precise,  I was a senior executive for Hermann Affiliated Hospital Systems, a network of more than 40  community hospitals in Texas and Louisiana.  Some — 25 — were managed and the balance participated in shared services.  One part of our mission was to provide education to our members, from board seminars to programs about the future of healthcare.

In the early 1980s we invited a couple of senior executives from Owens & Minor, one of Hermann’s primary vendors of medical supplies, to make a presentation to 20 or 30 of our affiliated hospital CEOs.  We also invited some members of the senior leadership team at the flagship hospital to join the session which was held in conjunction with the Texas Hospital Association.  The Owens & Minor presentation was a blend of information regarding new technology about to be introduced, as well as some futuristic projections.  It was an excellent session — with great give and take — until they got around to the futuristic presentations.  That is when the train left the rails.

The Vice President of marketing — his name today escapes me — began to talk about some futuristic innovations they believed would transform the current supply chain management/charge capture system and, by the way, could enhance patient safety.  As the Owens & Minor executives began to outline their vision, the pushback was almost immediate.  This rejection of their ideas did not come from the rural hospital CEOs — maybe they were just being polite — but rather from the big city executives from our flagship/sponsoring hospital who apparently thought they knew better.  

What futuristic change drew such consternation from the know-it-alls? The Owens & Minor executives were predicting that hospitals would begin using special scanners and computer code strips to captures charges, manage inventory and protect patients.

No way, our knowledgeable big city hospital leaders exclaimed.  What are you guys smoking?  This is the silliest idea we have ever heard of.  What futuristic technology sparked this uproar?  Computer scanners and bar codes. That will never happen!.  Yeah, right.

Last week I had a routine outpatient diagnostic procedure — some people call it “THE Procedure.”  Throughout the process, nurses and other care givers scanned the bar code on my wrist band to be sure that I was the right person to suffer the indignity that was about to come, and that I was getting the right drugs.  On this day in 2018, scanning a bar code was just part of their everyday routine.  

Why would anyone be threatened by a bar code and computer scanner?

Today  in healthcare we are looking at extraordinary new technologies as well as potential new business models that many of us thought would ever happen. But change today seems to be moving at a pretty rapid clip.

  As industry giants Amazon and Wal-Mart ponder getting into the healthcare business by acquiring primary care practices and insurance companies, this unlikely change could be transformational.  These giants of business believe they can strip out much of the overhead bureaucracy that adds so much cost to our current business model.  They believe, apparently they can do it better for less. There are more than a few hospital executives digging in their heels.  

Before you stake too much of your career capital on ridiculing this kind of change that seems so improbable today, take pause and think:  bar codes.


Join John for his video blog this Saturday morning on his YouTube channel. The channel contains dozens of videos on career management.

© 2018 John Gregory Self

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18 April, 2018 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Interviewing Skills
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The Importance of Selling the ‘WHY’ We Do What We Do

Posted April 18th, 2018 | Author: John G. Self

Many job candidates are eliminated at two critical choke points in the executive search process:

  1. The resume review, and
  2. The face-to-face interview. We will zero on the latter in today’s podcast.

Here is the problem. Most candidates tend to talk and talk about what they do, and how they do it. But they fall short in emphasizing the WHY. Why they do what they do. Herein is where the passion and the memorable part of the interview lives.

© 2018 John Gregory Self

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17 April, 2018 Posted by John G. Self Posted in Career Management, Career Transition/Outplacement, Interviewing Skills
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The Unanswered Interview Question

Posted April 17th, 2018 | Author: John G. Self

Why do you do what you do?

That question is central to understanding leadership.  When my team is conducting an executive search we all know what the candidates do but very few recruiters ask why they do it, and that is a shame. 

Simon Sinek, a British-American author and marketing consultant, discussed this idea at a TEDx Puget Sound event several years ago. I remember watching it when it first came out but recently stumbled over it again during an idea surfing session. The first time, I remember, I thought it was an interesting concept.  This time, it was idea whose time had come for me.  Right between the eyes.

You see, I have been looking for some idea or concept that would help me understand why so few executive job applicants excel in their interviews.  It is frustrating, most recruiters will agree.  People come to the table, they present well, they have worked in some impressive organizations, and they speak reasonably well.  But more often than not, something is missing.  Many are superbly “corporate” but fall short in leaving me convinced that they are the one. There is no emotional explanation as to why I would want to follow them.

What Mr. Sinek posits in his Golden Circle theory is that people do not make a buying decision based on what a person does or even how they do it.  They buy a product, an idea, or into an individual because they identify with the WHY they do what they do.

Why do you do what you do? Think about it.  It could make the difference in your next interview.


Career Transitions is the outplacement practice of JohnGSelf + Partners.  Mr. Self is a recognized thought leader on career management and interviewing skills.  He recently taught the course for the American College of Healthcare Executives annual Congress in Chicago.  Clients say his effectiveness stems from his passion for helping people excel in their careers and his commitment to help executives more effectively communicate their value to prospective employers.

For more information on how Career Transitions can help you navigate your next career change, email John at CareerTransitions@JohnGSelf.Com

© 2018 John Gregory Self

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