FOR THE NEXT GENERATION OF HEALTH LEADERS

Find and Develop a Team of A-Players with Author Eric Herrenkohl

Eric Herrenkohl This Week in Health IT
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on email
Author Eric Herrenkohl joins me for a wide-ranging discussion on building a team of A-Players based on his book "How to Hire A-Players". We discuss the role of Recruiter in Chief, References in our litigious world, and Managing your own career if you are an A-Player. Hope you enjoy.

Episode Videos

Bill Russell:                   00:09                Welcome to this week and health it where we discuss the news information and emerging thought with leaders from across the health care industry. My name is Bill Russell, recovering healthcare CIO and creator of this week in health it a set of podcasts and videos dedicated to training and developing the next generation of health it leaders. Uh, today I have special guests, uh, a friend of mine and an author and an expert in the area of developing, finding and attracting a players and developing great teams. Uh, Eric Herrenkohl. And uh, and we’re going to have a little discussion by the pool. Hopefully. Hopefully you guys will enjoy it. I’m really focused in right now on this whole topic of uh, of identifying the best talent, developing them, training them, mentoring them, bringing them along. And I found a handful of people that I really respect and want to share their thoughts with you. So I really hope you enjoy this podcast is brought to you by health lyrics. Um, want to start your health it projects on the right track or I want to turn around a failing project. Let’s talk cause it health lyric.com to schedule your free consultation. And now here’s the show.

Bill Russell:                   01:12                So today’s guest is one of the four most famous people to graduate from Freedom high school. Had a at a friend of mine, the author of how to hire a players Eric Herrenkohl joins us today. And uh, I’m glad you’re here. I’ve really been focusing in on hiring top talent and building out great teams and it’s just great that you’re able to join me. Join me this week. Oh, this is awesome. So a top four, who are the top three most famous people you might ask? Well, Dwayne, the Rock Johnson has got to be number one far and away. So who’s number two? I asked you a number two has to be Danny Kim. Daniel Day Kim. Right? So he was on lost. He was on Hawaii, five o a number three has to be Todd Johnson, who of course you don’t know about three years younger than us was in the band, but he was the founder of health loop and he’s been on the show and he was the number one quote from last year’s show.

Bill Russell:                   02:08                Well there you go. Congratulations to Todd. Todd was a, I asked Todd, you know, what’s, what’s the most important thing for a project’s success in a health system? And he said, uh, conviction around a thesis and he said a lot of health systems lack that conviction around a thesis and therefore the projects end up meandering. And I thought, well there’s a freedom high school education

Eric Herrenkohl:            02:29                that absolutely good stuff.

Bill Russell:                   02:31                That was really good. So, uh, so Eric, as a little bit of introduction, obviously you wrote this book, how to hire a players available on Amazon out there for a while. You’ve been a have been an ra, an executive recruiter as well. Um, not necessarily within healthcare, but um, and uh, which, which I kind of like, cause we can talk more openly or openly. That’s probably the best way of saying it. And then, uh, and now you’ve sort of, you’re sort of doing the other side of it as well, your and much more so of your coming alongside a players and helping them to find great organizations.

Eric Herrenkohl:            03:08                I am right. And working on Career Strategy and career coaching and, uh, I, I’m really enjoying that piece.

Bill Russell:                   03:14                Other businesses as well. Well, that’s great. So let’s, I mean, let’s just start with the open ended question, which is, uh, you know, a John Wooden once said, you’re only as the team with the best players usually wins. We all know that. I mean, that’s just fundamentally we know if we’ve ever been on a team or if we ever managed a great team, we have great success. Um, you know, what, what differentiates the, the leaders that are able to build great teams versus maybe leaders that struggle to build great teams.

Eric Herrenkohl:            03:43                Yeah. You know, one of the things, so I wrote this book how to hire a players because every leader recognizes what you just said. You got to surround yourself with the best talent and the best talent wins. I’ll tell you what’s really interesting and you find doing executive search is, um, that they’re not that many places for an a player to work. And I’ve got a great story about this. I was early in my recruiting career and I, I had a, I was recruiting accountants like out of the Big Five accounting firms. And I presented a candidate to a number of different employers. And one of these, uh, employers was like a VP of finance. And I said, listen, you got to talk to this woman. She’s like, you know, passed CPA exam on the first sitting, she skyrocketed through PWC. You know, she’s, I mean, she’s amazing.

Eric Herrenkohl:            04:28                And he said, Eric, listen, I’ll talk to her, but you and I both know they’re not that many places for an a player to work. And it was my job at that point to argue with him. But that wasn’t true. But I hung up the phone, I thought to myself, you know what? This guy’s exactly right. And so one of the things I think that I would say as an outsider, an executive search consultant looking in is most, most organizations are average and most leaders are average at best. So if you have, um, a Scintilla or two of true leadership ability, recognize you have a tremendous competitive advantage, uh, and do the things that you do, I mean, Set a vision, you know, uh, hire really good people. Don’t micromanage them. We all know that. I mean, we’ve all read the books, right? This is not, this is not like this is top secret about what good leadership looks like. I’m just saying it doesn’t happen that much out there. And if you do that among other things, you’re creating an environment. You have two or three a players on your team. Guess what? The fourth, a player who sees who sees those two or three, it was like, I want to be a part of that team. That’s what people want. So it’s a big advantage.

Bill Russell:                   05:30                Yeah, it’s interesting. Uh, Toby cottage grove, former CEO of Cleveland Clinic essentially said something similar to that. Essentially, he was asking about career advice and he said, find the best organization to be a part of and just go join that organization. And I think part of that is you surrounded as a, let’s assume we’re all a players, as an a player and everyone listening to this is an a player, as an a player, you want to surround yourself with other a players. They help you to be better. They help you to think better and eventually it ends up being a great network of people that you can sort of fall back on and have conversations with them.

Eric Herrenkohl:            06:03                I totally agree with that. I’ll tell you the other thing. By and large people do what they see done. That’s true of kids. And it’s true of people in the workforce. So you tell me where somebody grew up professionally, and I’ll tell you by and large, the kind of leader that they are and the lessons that they learned, uh, and the people that they emulated. So if you can figure out how to get yourself into an organization around people who are worth emulating, even in ways that you’re not going to even appreciate, that’s going to pay off.

Bill Russell:                   06:30                Well, it’s interesting healthcare. We’re, uh, we’re becoming a consumer organization type of organization and we’re starting to hire people from outside. So if I were to hire somebody from Disney, what would that tell you about that person?

Eric Herrenkohl:            06:43                Well, I mean, you know what it would tell me about, I mean, Disney obviously has an amazing reputation. I will say the converse is also true, right? I mean, one of the lessons I learned, um, and was taught in executive search is, um, you really want us to try to stay away from being cynical, but you have to be highly skeptical. So, so one of the first things, if I was hiring somebody out of Disney was to make sure that the halo effect wasn’t in place. Right? Right. I’m not hiring walt. Right? Right. I’m hiring Jim Jones who has Disney on his resume. So maybe this guy’s a total knucklehead. Right. I think you do have to be very careful about that, but obviously there’s a whole level of kind of a guest orientation and customer service and all the other things that go along with Disney that you would expect that

Bill Russell:                   07:27                they had been in that culture. Hopefully they’ve absorbed some of that same thing with like say a southwest airlines has a great reputation and you would think that somebody who’s come through southwest airlines sorta has picked up some of the culture that’s there.

Eric Herrenkohl:            07:38                Ew, ew, ew. Who you would again. But again, and we know without going into too many details, I think partly southwest has an amazing reputation from the CEO it used to have. So you just have to make sure that you understand what’s going on in an organization today. And again, this is where the skeptical, not cynical kind of comes into play. Right. So

Bill Russell:                   07:56                That’s interesting. The, uh, so let’s assume, I think it’s the first one. We’ve talked about this before. I mean, the first thing is make sure you’re the best leader you can possibly be. You’re, you’re, you’re, you know, there’s sort of a layer that you are as a leader and rarely do you hire somebody that’s a better leader than you. So, so that’s, that’s the sort of the cap and what you’re going to hire. So anytime you can increase that, that’s can be better. Um, but let’s assume that you are a strong leader and you want to hire some great leaders. How do you, how do you go about doing it?

Eric Herrenkohl:            08:27                One of the things that I always talk about is the importance of being recruiter in chief and, um, to me, recruiter in chief. So here’s the story that goes along with that. I was giving a talk and number of years ago, um, at the engineer’s Club, St Louis, Missouri, I’m up on stage. And, um, there are, I’d say in the, in the room probably about 99 engineers, age 24 to 35, kind of seasoned youth and, and they’re yard work right now, which would be a, which would be par for the course. Last week

Bill Russell:                   08:59                I on a golf course and planes were flying overhead and stuff. So, uh, I’m sorry. So engineer’s though.

Eric Herrenkohl:            09:04                Yeah. So engineer’s Club, St Louis, Missouri, uh, ages maybe 24 to 35. I’ve got 99 engineers that fit that bill. And then one guy over here to my left, probably 55 polished professional, quietly holding court in his table of eight. And um, I’m nothing if not curious. So I made sure to make my way over to this guy afterward and a and introduced myself and I kind of was tinted around, but I wanted to figure out why he was there. And uh, he said, Eric, that’s very simple. I’m recruiter in chief from my business. And um, listen, there are a lot of things that going in get that go into being able to acquire top talent. But one of the things that I would say is to understand that if you’re the CEO or the leader of a business unit, on the one hand, you’re unbelievably busy.

Eric Herrenkohl:            09:49                You don’t have time to do all the recruiting. I mean that you have a team of people that does that. But you cannot delegate the responsibility to be kind of the face of your business. And I do think you have a responsibility to be out and about in the communities where talent is hanging out. Just meeting people, being available, shaking hands, knowing and being known. Because among other things we talked about modeling the importance of modeling. You’re modeling that to the leaders who work for you. You’ve got a whole organization that does that and I think you have the ability to attract a lot more talent. Yeah.

Bill Russell:                   10:19                So it’s interesting. Recruiter in chief that’s, um, that’s really, that’s a great concept. And I really took that to heart as a CIO for an organization of getting out there and maintaining my network. When I was at conferences, I was always looking for people that just gave a phenomenal presentation. Right. Make sure to make the introduction, make sure to know them. One of the things I did for my staff was, um, each one of them I sort of gave a part of their review every year and part of their, sort of their score for the year was on their ability to expand their network and to, um, and I mean, no offense against the executive recruiters, but, um, my first, my first bent would be to have my staff go, Hey, I’ve got five people available for the next job that’s coming available. Um, you know, it saves that money, but it also, uh, you know, generally speaking, they’re partially vetted.

Bill Russell:                   11:11                I mean, you’ve listened to them speak, you’ve talked to some of their peers, you’ve sat down with them, you’ve met with them at three or four conferences, and you sort of have a feel for who they are and how they’re going to plug into the organization. So I mean that, that concept, um, that concept becomes key. What do you, what are you looking for? I mean, one of the phrases you gave me a long time ago, and I used it a thousand times, which is uh, you know, past performance is the best indicator of future results. Right? Um, and so, you know, is it, is it generally just a resume walk where you sort of get it Or? How do you get deeper into what their past performance is to make sure that you’re getting what you think you’re getting? Yeah, I mean,

Eric Herrenkohl:            11:51                no, I don’t, I don’t think there’s any silver bullet. First of all answer, one of the things that I will say is that I always ask this question when I’m speaking, I’ll stay, oh, so it’s 2019 in the United States of America, in the litigious society in which we work and live, how many of you believe that references and the, the value of a reference check is essentially dead dead. And I give people a lot of m and a and half the room at least will raise your hand. I totally disagree.

Bill Russell:                   12:19                There were, well because if you’re in a large organization, you’re coached that when you get that phone call, if you, even if you get that phone call just now there’s higher, right? Right. A couple other things. But if you get that phone call, the answer is, uh, you know, here’s our HR department and rank and serial number, right?

Eric Herrenkohl:            12:34                We don’t have to run down the whole reference thing. Cause your, your question was more about if you have your own staff engaged, here’s the point. This person has worked for somebody, right? This person that you’re going to thinking about interview and thinking about how they’ve worked in an organization, probably at this level, probably they’ve worked there 20 years out of 15 years. I Dunno. So somebody knows, some buddies know whether they were a rock star or a knucklehead, right? It’s, it’s a known. It’s just a question of whether you can tap into that. So the number one thing that we all look for, again, this is what do people say about this person? Now you can’t go on one person. Maybe one person may have a vendetta, you know, we know how this person is an opinion, right? And two person is interesting, but three people is, it starts to be a trend and five people is, it’s, I mean, it’s a done deal.

Eric Herrenkohl:            13:19                So I’m always looking for what people had to say. And by the way, it’s another part of the reason from a networking perspective that we want to know people because I may not actually be interested in hiring you. I may be as strict, no hiring Jim, but you know, Jim, so what do you have to say about Jim? That’s, that’s helpful feedback for me to know that there are other components of it. Um, I can talk about some of the, what I have found to be some of the kind of core characteristics of a cross a players across industries, if that’s of interest.

Bill Russell:                   13:46                Yeah, no, that’d be good. So let me just closing that theory out. One of the things you challenged me, I think almost a decade ago, you said, you know, ask for six references. And I thought because at the time everyone was asking for three references. Right. And it was interesting after I started asking for six references, a couple of things happened. One is the number of people I was network to bigger right out of the chute. And invariably when you talked to those six people, you find some good candidates, which is all since you’re very interesting. Um, but the other thing that happened is it’s hard for some people to put six. Isn’t that interesting? People together?

Eric Herrenkohl:            14:20                Isn’t that, isn’t that fascinating? Yeah. My, my analogy there is that some people are like clear mountain streams and other people are like the everglades clear mountain stream. I can see right down to the bottom of you, what you see is what you get. Everything I hear from you is what’s your references say? Everybody’s like, oh, Bill Russell, awesome guy. Tremendous, absolutely love bill, loved bill, loved bill, loved bill up other people. It’s like I’m interviewing you. I cannot really get a feel like you’ve obviously done some good things. She’d been a part of some good organizations. I can’t really get a feel for you. And then your references are kind of like all squarely in squishy that it’s your opaque. That makes me very nervous. Yeah. So I think, I think you’re absolutely onto something. And the references, by the way, the references ended up being a great source of candidates. That’s recruiting 101 I had the first search firm. You go to the word for it. That’s one of the things they teach you. So yeah.

Bill Russell:                   15:07                Well, and if you’re going to be the recruiter in chief, this is the kind of stuff you have to, you have to know and have to

Eric Herrenkohl:            15:11                you do. And again, I really want to emphasize, I understand that people who have seen their title, right, you’re not hired to be a recruiter, right? You got 150 other things to do and you know, but as a strategic advantage to really understand this, if nothing else, if you and your people really understand this process well enough to really be able to partner up with internal recruiting, right? And say, listen, here’s the job, this is what I’m looking for. Let’s have, let’s sit down and have a conversation. Internal recruiting has 35, 35 open job specs per person. Right. And you’re the basically your become a great client, figure out how to work with them, figure out how to make them work for you. And so that they, you become the person that they give the great candidates to. And then all the other roles of the other departments of the ones, they don’t pay attention to them.

Bill Russell:                   15:57                This is what happens, whether it’s podcasts, it’s where it gets my mind going. So talk to me about the job description because it’s interesting to me. You know, I’ve, I’ve seen a lot of um, you know, the executive search, uh, bios, not bios, executive search, what are the, what do you call job Spec? Yeah. The job SPEC for em. And uh, and I read some of them, I’m going, that’s not what you want. I understand how they got there. It was like, it was like job Spec by committee and everybody Sorta just put their thing in. And I’m like, if it, if you hire that person, you’re not going to be happy. It’s my first thought and it. But the other challenging thing is you get the phone call and they say, hey, um, yeah, they’d like to talk to you. Your, your resume is really interesting to them and whatever. Who Do you show up as? I mean, you know, it’s like, okay, you’re trying to hire a tactical CIO who strategic, who’s looking at it going, all right, so if I’m to strategic, the tactical people are going to go, well, you know, he, he really doesn’t understand the blocking tackling of the job. If you’re too tactical, the strategic people are going to go, well, he doesn’t understand the trends are going on to industry.

Eric Herrenkohl:            16:58                Right, right. Yeah, no, absolutely. Well, one of the things that’s happening in that situation is you’ve got, you know, uh, one hiring manager, but you have three or four at least really significant influencers and the decision and they all want to hire different people. No, no. That’s literally what’s happening there. You know, uh, one of the things I will say about a really good executive search, uh, you know, outside executive search consultant is coming in upfront, upstream and getting everybody on the same page as much as there is able to say, listen, you, you know, you can’t, this person doesn’t exist, right? You’re, you’re hiring a healthcare CIO and you want all of these things and the, you know, the base comp is whatever it is. First of all, this person doesn’t exist. And if you could find them, you know, they wouldn’t work for you, you’d worked for them.

Eric Herrenkohl:            17:40                So, so that, I mean, that’s partly when you see a job spec like that it’s reflecting the fact that the organs, the decision makers within the organization have not really on the same page and the role of the, uh, executive search firm. Even though I understand this would be hard, I just thinking of the organizations I’ve been a part of this, this would be hard, but it’s really almost to get everybody in the same room and go, okay, here’s what you’ve described. Let me, let me tell you what you’ve described in terms of the person and have them sort of fine tune it and prioritization, prioritization. Would you take all these things? Yeah, but, but let’s, let’s stack rank. I’m going to figure out what are the things that you absolutely, positively must have. That’s very, I mean, you know, again kind of pull the curtain a little bit on executive search.

Eric Herrenkohl:            18:21                That’s very important in terms of getting deals closed, right? Because if you can’t get people up front to agree on what the priorities are, then when you get down stream and everybody’s like, wow, I don’t know, you know, cause this guy, you know, each granola on Thursday mornings and I’m not in favor of that. You’re like, hey listen, we agree the priorities were not the Granola, it was these other things. And so you know, that’s how we’re going to actually get the deal done.

Bill Russell:                   18:40                So it’s working with things like the search. And then we’re going to flip the page here in a minute because I want to talk about the a players in the audience who are saying, okay, how do I manage my career? And I want to come back to that. Um, but I think one of the important things to remember is executive search firms from war don’t work for the candidate.

Bill Russell:                   18:59                They work for the firm. And we hear this all the time that people go, I just remember they, you know, they really work for them. That’s who pays them. That’s right. But what does that, what does it mean to the candidate? I mean that they, um, they’re really more focused on the, the, the client they should be focusing on.

Eric Herrenkohl:            19:16                You know, and you and I were talking about this offline. I think it’s really important to understand. I believe that you can take any job, position, any position, and, and uh, draw in a pyramid at the foundation of the pyramid is the fundamental requirements of the job. Like you better be able to do this, otherwise you’re going to get fired and fired quick. And then the top of the pyramid are the differentiators. The thing that really make you stand out as an a player.

Eric Herrenkohl:            19:39                So if you’re an executive search consultant, the foundation of the pyramid, you’re a broker, you’re brokering stocks, you’re brokering pork bellies, you’re brokering people. It doesn’t matter. You’re a broker, you’re a deal maker. That’s what the job is. There’s nothing wrong with it. So executive search consultants are not, you know, they’re not nurses, they’re not social workers. They’re not, I’m not, I’m not glorifying this. I’m just stating the fact they’re not really interested by in large in helping people. They’re interested in doing deals. So by and large executive search consultants are like, hey listen, don’t call me. I’ll call you. I, you know, I figure I get a particular position open and uh, I’m going to start working my target list and calling the people that I think can help me. And then the only caveat to that is if you’re a c, if you’re a c level person or a VP, VP level person, and I think you can or will generate business for me down the road, you’ll hire me to run searches, then I may put you at the top of my list. I mean, it is what it is.

Bill Russell:                   20:32                That’s why I appreciate having you on and not necessarily somebody who’s working health care right now cause they put B, they’d be concerned about saying it, but they’re there. There’s certain sense of which I’ve experienced that you, you can see it in the industry of people really do the, uh, the search firms

Bill Russell:                   20:49                when you call them and they don’t have a job per se, they’ll essentially say, hey, it’s great talking to you. Those kinds of things. Great. Catching up. Um, but it is almost a, we’ll call you when something pops up.

Eric Herrenkohl:            20:59                And by the way, the person that you’re calling the, the senior level person at that firm has 40, 50 open jobs at any one time. Really? Oh yeah. Yeah. They, they’re, they are, they are the, the, the front people of their own organization. Right. And they get incredible amount of stuff going on. And by the way, they know when they decide, if they decide to call you, are you going to take their call? Yeah. Cause then you’re going to take their call because they have a job. All right, there we go.

Bill Russell:                   21:25                That is how it works. So let’s, let’s talk to her. You said how to hire you a players. I guess your next book will be, uh, what to do if you are an a player. Like you’ve, you’ve just found out you’re an a player. Now what, um, because you know, for, for a players it’s, it is hard to find those, those right companies to work for and more specifically the right leaders to work for. I agree. Um, so I mean, where do you start with them?

Eric Herrenkohl:            21:48                Yeah. Well one of the things I think is very interesting about interviewing is a, it’s a skill, like any other skill and you get better at it the more you practice. So the people who are out looking every three to three and a half years, right? Moving organization and you know, hopping, hopping, hopping. I mean they actually, if they’re fairly astute, can get pretty good at interviewing. What you’ll often find with really top people is they’re kind of heads down. You know that they’re not playing a lot. They’re not playing games, they’re moving the ball forward, they’re having a lot of wins at work, they’re getting recognized, getting promoted. But the thing we all have to recognize is sooner or later we’re all getting fired. You’re getting fired. I’m getting fried. We’re all getting fired. And well, that’s not, and there’s a lot of reasons.

Eric Herrenkohl:            22:27                There are a lot of reasons why. I’m not saying it’s going to be a performance issue, but you’re going to get fired. And the higher you climb up that organizational chart, guess what? The closer you are to getting fired. So listen, that’s very unpleasant. Nobody likes to live with that kind of reality. But if you live with that, you let that sink in for a moment and take some time and reflect upon it. It should change your behavior. And that’s what I’m talking about in terms of how the starting point, I think of how a players need to go about thinking about taking control of their own careers.

Bill Russell:                   22:56                Um, should change behaviors but not change behaviors in the way of I need to hold onto this job I’d had for dear life. It changes your behavior in terms of understanding. I probably will interview a couple of times before I retire and be moving jobs. Maybe not every three years, but every six years, every eight years or something.

Eric Herrenkohl:            23:15                What effect do you want to know? One, here’s one very tangible thing. It can change on your monthly calendar. There’s some meeting that you didn’t take or some association or group that you didn’t attend or some talk that you didn’t give that if you really own the fact that you’re going to get fired, you would have taken it right. Because you need to keep because you got to stay out there, you know? Um, listen, the vast majority of the population does not like to sell, right? Yeah. And isn’t good at it. And this is what we’re talking about. It’s a sales process. People are, you know, they have an aversion to that, but that’s what we’re talking about. You gotta be out there not selling, selling. You just gotta be out there and it’s senior level people. I think this is the other thing too.

Eric Herrenkohl:            23:56                Please do not tell me that some like, and I’m going to be blunt here, some out of work group of executives is having a networking group and that you’re attending that and that checks the box that no it doesn’t. And networking with a bunch of people don’t have a job, does not count as networking. Networking with people who run, organizations who run businesses who sit on boards, that counts as networking. And again, just don’t fool yourself because I’d rather have you spend figure out how to spend some time with one organization like that. Then 10 organizations of mid level people or people who aren’t employed, it’s a lot more valuable.

Bill Russell:                   24:27                So, uh, speaking, networking. Um, so you’re coaching now these a players on how to write, I mean, what, what are some other things you talked

Eric Herrenkohl:            24:36                speaking, networking, sitting on boards. It’s all this stuff. Again, this is not rocket science. It’s, and it’s not a secret, it’s not a secret, but it’s more, but you know, it’s one of those things like, it’s fine that it’s not a secret, it’s just that nobody does it. Not Nobody, but you know, there are a lot of people, the vast majority of people don’t do this stuff and don’t really know how, how, what’s the, how, like how would you go about sitting on a board? How would you go about getting that kind of access?

Bill Russell:                   25:03                Fierce CIO or even an executive within an it organization? Within healthcare, there are people who want you to speak. Yeah. And it’s just a matter of, uh, you know, tapping into those groups, uh, writing a proposal for chime or for hymns or something to that effect. They’ll have you speak.

Eric Herrenkohl:            25:20                And that, that point for most people, the thing to keep a focus on, just make a contribution. I’m not asking you to be a used car salesman, right. Just make a contribution. Like what do you have to contribute to this group, to these leaders do that and do that on a regular basis. You won’t do it once a quarter do it once a quarter, I don’t really care. But if you’re doing that kind of stuff, you are really differentiating yourself from the vast majority of people who are just inside the box of their current job.

Bill Russell:                   25:47                Right. Yeah. It’s amazing. When we started this podcast, there was just like nobody around and then we had the yard guy and now we have some other work

Eric Herrenkohl:            25:55                going all I can tell you right now as you’ve done 90 of these, but I think we’ve found the third one you’re going to edit

Bill Russell:                   26:02                probably. Um, all right. So we’re talking about a players and a player’s getting out there. Um, so it, it really is nurturing your own career. I mean, you have to, you have to own it and understand it. Get out there and, and you’re not even talking about you definitely not talking about selling because most of these places, all you’re doing is getting out and talking about the good work that you’ve already done, right? It’s like, you know, I, I could talk about cloud computing for the next three hours and uh, and it would be a value to someone and it would connect me with some people and I’m giving back to the industry as I sort of do that.

Eric Herrenkohl:            26:35                That’s awesome. Let me toss out one other thing that I just, as I’m thinking about the executives that I coach right now on career strategy and we’ll do a resume review, um, you know, which I’ll do for free and walk people through. Here’s another thing to really keep in mind that very few people are really good at, which is, uh, dollarizing your accomplishments dollarize dollarizing your accomplishments. Meaning this is what you’ve done. What was the financial impact, the business of doing it. What were the revenues generated? What were the costs saved? How do you quantify what you did? And the, when you, uh, when you can do that, you have the ingredients to tell. Amazing story. You have those call me, I’ll help you tell a great story. You don’t have those is you’ve got to do a lot of work until you have a great story to tell. If you talk to a great chef, it doesn’t matter what the cuisine and say, what’s the key to an amazing meal. They’ll all say the exact same thing. Just the best ingredients, the best ingredients of a phenomenal resume are quantified accomplishments. And if you are thinking about that now in light of the fact that you’re going to get fired, you know, keeping track of it somehow taking notes if you will, keeping your own resume updated. I mean, it may sound like a little bit of a morbid effort, but there’s gonna come a day when you’re going to be really glad you did.

Bill Russell:                   27:50                So. Um, so monetizing your accomplishments as you’re doing a resume walk. What are resume killers? What a resume. I Dunno, like just things that make them stand out.

Eric Herrenkohl:            28:02                Well, there are fundamental things. I mean when people, when people are job hopping, hop, hop, hop and there’s no rationale for why. I mean again this is, this is this top secret. This is not top secret but that there is a question. If you see people do a decline in title and there is no good reason why, um, or I can’t help you to explain why, then that is uh, you know, a potential issue. Um, but those would be the biggest things I think. I think there are also a lot of reasons why good people end up having, almost everybody has some kind of anomaly on their resume, some kind of move that looks you just like, I don’t really get that. It’s not necessarily a killer. Um, but we just had, we have to be able to understand the story and you have got to be able to tell the story. Your resume basically is meant to represent you or your linkedin profile when you’re not in the room. But as soon as you’re in the room, literally or figuratively, if in as soon as I got you on the phone or a Skype interview or in person, then you got to take over and you’ve got to know how to tell that story in a way that’s persuasive.

Bill Russell:                   29:01                The, uh, we had a executive coach on a couple of weeks ago and how important it is, is having, I dunno, sort of, uh, a career board of directors or some people that you could sort of bounce things off of. Like I’m thinking of going to construction. I mean it, does that become important for people depending on the level they’re at? I think, I think definitely,

Eric Herrenkohl:            29:21                I think there’s a lot, a lot of value to that, first of all, it makes life better mean cause we also call those people friends. Friends. Exactly. But you know, so I mean, one, it makes life better, but I do think, um, it’s hard, you know, when it’s you, when you’re on the hot seat or, or Korn ferry’s calling, you know if the emotions and the, you know, you need objective people who are not actually kind of, they’re not in the line of fire and they’re the ones who are able to kind of give you some perspective. Yeah.

Bill Russell:                   29:50                I mean, what do you say to the person that you just said, you know, that that job title, um, when you take a step down, I mean, what’s your coaching to somebody who’s, who’s looking at that right now? I mean, there’s clearly some instances where people look at it and go, look, my kids in college, I’ve got to make the, you know, I’ve got, I mean, there’s stories around this that sorta makes sense. Um, but you also understand that this could have ramifications going forward. I mean, what, what do you, how do you coach those people?

Eric Herrenkohl:            30:17                Well, first of all, in, in that kind of situation, if there truly is a family issue, there’s a, and listen that whole thing, like my daughter is a sophomore in high school, I cannot relocate for three years. If you’re an executive search consultant, you’re here that 20 times a day. It’s very, very common. Things have really changed in, in the u s at least where, you know, 40 years ago, 50 years ago, people were just popping their families up and just go in anywhere. That’s, that has changed. So I think that that in and of itself could be a very reasonable, uh, thing. Um, and then I think it’s a question around saying, um, you know, are you still moving the ball forward and are you still really making an impact and having a difference? And Are you maintaining your unit, your network? I mean, you’re doing all the things to understand that you may not see, you’re probably not going to stay there forever. So what’s going to be next? Beyond that,

Bill Russell:                   31:04                I mean, do you see people at a certain age within their career start to really shift their priorities? And think about things a little differently. I mean, let’s, so you know, 30 to 30 to 40, you’re, you’re still drive and you’re driving pretty hard. 40 to 50, you might still be driving hard, 50 to 60, maybe not driving as hard and you know, 60 on maybe looking for something that’s a little less, I mean, it’s, yeah,

Eric Herrenkohl:            31:30                I, yeah, I mean by and large. Now again, I will say that I think people who are, uh, you know, if somebody wants to be, uh, you know, is a c level person and they want to maintain that, some of those folks are just drive and drive and drive it. And that’s, so that’s what it’s going to take until they’re 80. But yeah, I mean, generally I would, I would genuinely agree with that. I think one of the things that we’re really just starting to see now is the fact that, you know, this whole picture of retiring at even 65, I think the baby boom is going to be the first generation that’s going to be as usual say, I’m not doing that. And, and you know, with, uh, we, we’re talking to healthcare executives here. Me, if healthcare continues to get better and better and people’s lives continue to extend, I think we’re, we’re looking in some, some uncharted territory in terms of what people are going to do in their work lives and their seventies in their eighties. I Dunno. You know, so

Bill Russell:                   32:19                that’s kind of interesting. I mean, my, uh, my father retire when he’s 58. My father in law retired when he was 59 and w I can’t imagine it. Right. I mean, I see. I just can’t even imagine that exact. All right, let’s go to the other spectrum. Let’s talk about millennials. I want to hire some, you know, potential a players. They’re not able, I mean, they’re, they graduated from college, they have a pretty decent resume there. Uh, you know, it doesn’t neat internships and that kind of stuff. But how do you identify the millennial a player?

Eric Herrenkohl:            32:48                Well, one of the things that I don’t pretend to be the demography expert, but I think millennial is now technically, you know, no younger than like 26, 25 something like, Oh really? Yeah, yeah, yeah. So if you, you know, you, you start looking at and it changes. I mean anybody who has kids knows, right? I mean the changes generate year by year generation by generation. Well, the one thing that I will say, and I say I think I think about this as a parent is like, listen, if you can raise a kid with any level of work ethic, somebody who has had to like actually pay their own bills and make their own way to any degree or extent you were giving that kid an unbelievable advantage because nobody’s doing it, at least in the circles that likely, you know, your listeners are moving in. I mean, it’s just not, um, so I’m sorry, it was, it was a question about how do you hire those

Bill Russell:                   33:34                people I had, how do you, how do you identify them? So I want to, I mean it’s, it’s interesting the way you describe it. It’s like if I know their parents, that’s maybe a good indicator of, of uh, you know, of who they, not always, but I don’t know what the indicator is. When, you know, you sort of look at, I, I guess you could look at it just seeing what you look into normal resume. You say, oh, they had an internship at, you know, at m and m Mars. They had an internship at, you know, these are all progressing. Uh, they took a a role right out of college. That’s, you know, there’s pretty challenging. They seem to have gotten promotions. We’re still looking at it the same way. Right.

Eric Herrenkohl:            34:10                Well that’s a good question. Let me, let me flip it around a little bit and say this, let’s come back to the initial premise of what we were talking about. If you’re actually a leader and you know what that means, you know how not only to select people but to invest in them and develop them. One of the things that I would say that is a principle that it cuts across age groups is a players are attracted by high standards. My quiet, my story on this is a friend of mine, you know, my friend mark, from Michigan, who’s gone to be a really a highly effective executive and he was getting recruited from one big job too. We need even bigger job at another company. And this new company wanted him to go through two days of offsite testing with like an io psychology from, which is fairly standard at those kinds of levels.

Eric Herrenkohl:            34:58                But it must’ve been new to this company because the HR person that the new company apologize to my friend mark, she’s like, Hey, I’m really sorry that we’re asking you to take all this time. And Mark is like, are you kidding me? Don’t apologize. I think it’s awesome. Why? Cause he, he literally said, he said to me, it shows that you’re serious about hiring a players and he, you know, his in his, he’s, he’s wonderful, but you know, he, he’s, he’s not, he’s not the most humble person I know he in. Nor should he be. He’s good. He’s like, hey listen, cause I’m good and I want to work with other good people. And so, um, those kinds of high standards are really important. Here’s my point. Relative to your hiring somebody a year or two out of college, don’t back down to your standards and be willing to care about people.

Eric Herrenkohl:            35:37                Invest in them, Mentor them, guide them because they’re very few people who were willing to do that. But say right up front, this is the job. It’s, it’s this, it’s this, this, this, this, this, this. If you’re not up, no problem. I’m glad to help you make some connections with some other organizations where you might be a better fit because the rock stars are like, I’m coming right at you, man. I mean, I can do that. They’re not getting that. That’s part of what we’re looking for. Right. But I don’t think, I actually don’t think that that is defined to just one age group, so we don’t have to lower the bar. In fact, that would don’t lower, don’t lower the bar, don’t lower the bar. You think about yourself, you don’t want to work for any organization is lowering the bar and you’re like, dude, why you’re hiring me to help raise the bar? You know, that’s what we’re doing here.

Bill Russell:                   36:19                So let’s talk about investing in mentoring. So this is a topic that comes up a fair amount and uh, it, it still strikes me when I hear people talking about succession planning that a CIO’s are starting to gray out. That’s our new, um, I don’t know why it took us so long to recognize the source, but if you look around the room of Cio, as you see a lot of gray, uh, gray hair, not only gray hair, but gray hair who is close to retirement, right? Um, and then invariably I’ll ask about succession planning and they go, well, that’s not really my job. I’m like, I’m not sure. First of all, I’m not sure I agree with that. And I tell them, I’m not sure I agree with that. It would be, I think your organization would appreciate if they’d like the work that you were doing. It appreciate the fact that for the last three or four years you have been investing in mentoring and training the next person who’s going to step in there. So that was a big lead up to just asking the same question I asked before, which is what’s, what’s the best way to invest and mentor, uh, somebody, when you identify the, the talent to maybe go to the next level.

Eric Herrenkohl:            37:20                Yeah. Well let’s, let’s ask the question before the question, which is why are people not doing succession planning? Because I think we both know there’s no lack of articles out there on the importance of it. You’ll want to know why. Because people are afraid to deal with the fact that they’re going to get fired, meaning age is going to fire them. You know, in these big organizations. I mean, you know, you know better than I, he’s big organizations, a very political, they’re very tough. You have a c in your title. This is not by accident. You worked your butt off to get there. And guess what, you know, there are 10 people who want your title. You want your job, you don’t, you’re not gonna, you’re not, it’s this game of Thrones. You know, you’re not looking to develop the next Im not sure its that cutthroat. But I said, sure. All I’m saying, all I’m saying is that people at this time,

Bill Russell:                   38:05                for those of us who lived through the GE succession planning thing, that we would, that was literally game of Thrones

Eric Herrenkohl:            38:10                or any other, I mean, you know, we all have, we both, we all have, we all have stories about early on in our careers, when you kind of first ran into that, you’re like, holy kidding me. Here’s my point. People don’t do it because they don’t want successors. They’re like, I don’t want, why would I, if I, I dunno, maybe I’m not ready to retire in a year. Maybe I want to hold on for three to five, you know, maybe I, uh, maybe I took a second mortgage out on the house and I need, I’m just saying as a result, I want to make it easy for them to fire you. Is that what you’re saying is exactly right, because you know what, all I’m saying, I’m not saying it’s the only factor, but here’s my point. The the leaders who will genuinely do that, those are those people actually are few and far between.

Eric Herrenkohl:            38:49                So if you’re that guy, if you’re that Gal, who is that person, then be that person. Because if you have that competence and being like, listen, if you want to fire me, fire me because I’m doing a great job here and I want to continue to do a great job here, but you fire me, I’ll go do a great job for the company down the road. I mean, that’s what the best people have. That confidence. If you have that confidence, then you can turn that into your organization and develop great people. And guess what those people want? They want to be developed. They want to be mentored and coached.

Bill Russell:                   39:14                Yeah, and I think the thing that goes along with that is when that kind of leader goes to the competitor down the street, a whole bunch of people go, Hey, remember me when you get there?

Eric Herrenkohl:            39:25                Well that’s, it’s one of the things that I always look for in executive search when I’m talking to potential candidates. And I always try to get a feel for that. Who’s followed you? Who’s? And it again, it doesn’t happen all that much, but when I find somebody who’s humble, I mean it has the other characteristics I’m looking for. I find somebody who was like, well, yeah, you know, this guy, we’re for me here. And she worked for me there and I’m always like, that doesn’t, it’s not definitive, but it’s really helpful.

Bill Russell:                   39:53                Yeah. And we had, uh, our friend Bob Perkins on a couple of weeks ago and one of the things he likes to say is the definition of leader is you have followers. So one of his followers, and he’s right, they will follow them and they’ll follow them to another organization and they will follow them. Uh, you know, wherever they end up, even if that’s in a different geography. So,

Eric Herrenkohl:            40:12                and then let me just, let me, let’s just take it a riff of that fun moment because I have seen this firsthand in, in executive search, that person has to be very, very careful about where do they go to work next because most organizations can’t handle them. They can’t. And recruiting is a seduction process. It is. You’re testing my editing.

Eric Herrenkohl:            40:37                Oh, I don’t, don’t worry. I’m not going to cross the line here man. I’m going to walk up to the line. No, it recruiting is a seduction process and anybody who’s done it knows people love to close the deal. They love to get people bought in. But then you know, it’s like marriage. You’re going to be, you know, you’re married a long time. What’s actually,

Eric Herrenkohl:            40:52                what’s it actually going to be like to be in a relationship if somebody is able to really uh, bring followers, bring people th th th that that tells you something about who they are. They better be working for somebody who is confident enough and secure enough to have that around. And I have been in situations, unfortunate situations as a search consultant where I brought somebody in who was, who was that? And the organization just couldn’t handle themm and they wouldn’t tell us. They wouldn’t admit that and nobody will ever admit it, but they really couldn’t handle them. And so that person particularly has to be very careful about where they go next.

Bill Russell:                   41:24                And then the organization rejects them as sort of a foreign or organism.

Eric Herrenkohl:            41:29                It’s an organ rejection and mix up a thousand reasons why it didn’t work out. And none of which are about the organization. By the way. It’s all about that guy was, it didn’t work. It wasn’t a good fit. It wasn’t, this wasn’t, that wasn’t anything about you guys, right? No, no, no. Couldn’t do that.

Bill Russell:                   41:45                You don’t really get to have that conversation to you.

Eric Herrenkohl:            41:48                Well, I mean, you know, they’re the client, they get to make the decisions, but I’m just saying, you know.

Bill Russell:                   41:55                Yeah. That’s interesting. Well, Eric is a, is there a way for people to follow you? You’re not a huge social media fan, but

Eric Herrenkohl:            42:03                I mean, you know what, uh, I mean, uh, I’m, I don’t know linkedin. That’s actually a good way to find me. It’s a h e r r e N K O H L. Um, that’s, that’s one good way. Yeah.

Bill Russell:                   42:13                Yeah. And the other easy way to follow you or find you as, uh, uh, how to hire a players on Amazon, uh, finding the top people for your team even if you don’t have a recruiting department. So, uh, I appreciate you coming on the show as always. A good time. Awesome. Appreciate it. Great seeing you.

Bill Russell:                   42:29                I always appreciated my time with Eric. He’s so insightful and has such a great perspective and I appreciate him even pulling back the curtain a little bit and showing us what’s going on behind the scenes of the, uh, of the process. So, um, hope you enjoyed this show’s production and this week in health it for more great content. You could check out the website at this week in health it.com or the youtube channel @thisweekinhealthit.com/video is easiest way to get there. Thanks for listening. That’s all for now.

Recent Episodes