Let’s talk candidly about career management. 

talkMore than likely the professionals who should read this probably won’t read this.

I talk to a lot of people at conferences, airports and on the telephone.  Executives, especially those in healthcare, are troubled by tough economic times with less than robust job creation, continued high rates of unemployment and, in the case of healthcare, a daunting transformation as the federal government is forced to reduce payments to hospitals, doctors and other providers in order to reduce the escalating deficit and debt.  They are concerned with the instability.

Here is my candid advice for seasoned executives as well as early careerists and the people they supervise:

  • Be flexible
  • Get outside your comfort zone
  • Think outside of the box

Be flexible – Geographically.  Candidates must be willing to go where the jobs are.  If you want to be a senior leader, four to five job changes may be required.  Executives who limit themselves geographically – regardless of the reason – must be willing to accept the career consequences.

Get outside your comfort zone – Every executive, every employee, every candidate has strengths and weaknesses.  We all have things we like and things we don’t like to do.  We try to avoid those “don’t likes” at all costs.  However, in a tough, competitive market you have to deliver results, even when this means you have to do those things you would rather not do.  You cannot ignore something that is integral to meeting performance deliverables.  Get out of your comfort zone and do what has to be done before your boss asks you to leave and you fall into the unemployment pit.

Think outside the box – One of the challenges posed by the new economy is that fewer employees are asked to do more work.  Productivity is required.  Smart companies are looking for employees who are flexible, who are not afraid of change, and who welcome challenges with an eye for innovation.  This is especially true in the healthcare industry.  Executives and employees who can think outside the box and who relish change and innovation are becoming increasingly valuable for companies.

Here are some phrases and workplace behaviors to avoid: 

  • It’s not my job
  • We have always done it this way
  • I don’t like change (non-union)
  • I am not going to change (union)
  • I need a job so I can be a good provider but my family refuses to relocate
  • My boss is totally unrealistic
  • My boss is an idiot
  • I am not going to sacrifice time with my friends and/or family for my job
  • I am a nurse and I have worked here a long time, they can’t fire me
  • Some of the people I work with work too hard.  They are making the rest of us look bad
  • That patient doesn’t have insurance so it is OK to make them wait
  • I am tired.  There are things I’d rather do so I am not going to see any more patients today 

If you are someone who gets it, feel free to share this blog with someone who doesn’t.

© 2013 John Gregory Self