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Health Care or Human Care Reform? It never was about Compliance! A CEO’s Reminder.

health-care-human-rightI was recently on an HR Internet radio show and was asked what’s the difference between European and American Human Resources?

My answer was I spent my time when in Europe focusing on building strong operational companies, indeed having responsibilities from time to time to run functions outside of Human Resources, while at the same developing my business strengths.

What I saw when I came to the USA was a focus by many HR folks on benefits’ and compliance.

The problem was they were managing and not leading the changes that supported business performance.

I am not sure much has changed over the last 10 years.

I am not suggesting that the “American focus” is not important.

What I am saying is that this focus is hardly ever taken to a strategic business level and so I think HR gets the perception they work on.

Lets face it I have rarely seen (if ever) a business strategy based on providing “supportive compliance.”

I was also asked by one organization why am I so involved in the financials of the business? My answer was that’s how I can save peoples jobs. I know that was an answer they did not expect from “Human Resources.”

I know my approach works, in 7 years as a chief human resources officer in a hospital we never had to lay anyone off! We were the only hospital out of a 45-hospital system that achieved this.

The hospital was also in the top decile of engagement, lowest cost and paid out bonuses for the first time in 35 years!

Many people are now focusing on Health Care Reform. Perhaps coming from Europe and nationalized healthcare that provides me a different lens.

What I do say is that Human Care Reform is a good thing if it means a leveling of the benefits playing field and a new strategic way to look at how business recruits their talent. And that people have to worry less about how they pay for a fundamental human “care package.”

I would rather have a conversation with employees about how to maximize potential, I can do a lot about that, then for us to have a conversation, I can do little about, regarding how worried they are about paying for their family’s health care, and having to work three jobs to pay for it.

It has never been about reform or compliance it never was, it has always been about how we inspire our employees. How we treat them as people. A great leader knows that!

Lets focus on what we need to do for our business that way we will keep more people in jobs have less business failures and influence a great quality of life.

Business is built on overcoming constraints and creating something special for its customers and its employees.





Is Tradition a good thing for business? The role of Human Resources.

The role of Human Resources is to create new traditions.

The number of times that I talk to business colleagues’ about the dichotomy of tradition versus future thinking is countless.

What to do with that conversation is the nectar of business performance.

Can you have both? Only if Tradition meets the following.

  1. Tradition must be of value to what you are doing.
  2. Tradition must not stop or hinder your progress.
  3. Tradition must keep up with the changing times.
  4. Tradition must not be used as a stick called” if it is not broke don’t fix it” or “we have always done that this way.”
  5. Tradition must not overpower progressive policies, protocols and practices.
  6. Tradition must be ingrained with creative and energetic “new” thinking.

The role of human resources

  1. Is to know the difference.
  2. To have the courage to implement the difference when it is required.
  3. To stand out from the crowd as a leader that understands the reasons for stepping from one to the other before many others are on board.
  4. To anticipate when the difference has to be applied.

To know all of the above and know that it is the role of human resources to create new traditions

picture courtesy of

HR the real role: to be a Rag-picker of people’s dreams!

Thanks to a colleague of mine who gave me a fascinating book to read. Og Mandino calls it “The Greatest Miracle in the world”.

It struck me how far away the HR function has removed itself from being the developmental  “heart and soul” champion and leader of an organization.

I am tough on my profession, rightly so when all I continue to get is: hire-fire-policies and procedures.

This is so much CRAP: Communities Resist Administrative Procrastination.

In my recent article The Rubber Band Theory of Leadership ™ HRMexplorer Blogs | URL:

I made the point that when there are no boxes and the rubber band has stretched beyond return the human mind has an infinite capacity to unchain itself from being the “prisoner of sameness”.

On reading this book the message is so clear. “There is a miracle in all of us”. The role of HR and indeed all leaders is to release the minds of those we interact with. In business off course they are our employees, but it goes for everything we do.

We all become prisoners of who we are and not who we can be and that provides a life of “Stuckness”.

We give off the impression “of rooms we have lived in and not doors that we can open”.

We give of the aura that what we have done is all that there is to us.

The book so eloquently speaks to our sometimes feeling like playing God but the author quickly sweeps us to the fact that God plays man and all that God has achieved by way of miracles is through the words and work of man. So we need to use the gift!

When I was reading the enlightened words of Mandino it struck me as it often does that if bringing people back from the “dead”  – those mentally exhausted with little or no hope is not what WE do as Hr professionals’ nay all leaders of people then all is for naught!

We need to be rag-pickers of human souls!

There are too many instances of disciplinary or corrective action plans. Lets get rid of that thinking because what we need to do is got those who are in “trouble’ to help us solve what all to often is a “system problem!” The mindset that goes with traditional thinking is that we look to “fix people” WRONG!

As James Allen states in his book “As a man thinkith!” we are and behave”… Negative thoughts beget negative actions. GIGO (garbage in garbage out).

Think about when planting your garden: we nurture and fertilize that soil. Harvest minds and we will reap empowered people.

“Many people have become what they think.” And in Allen’s words as a man makeith in his heart so does he do and is known”.

Much of the work we need to do as leaders of people is to unbridle the cobwebs of uncertainty and allow people the courage to be what they can dream to be and beyond.

Thanks Lou for passing on a miracle to me.

The definition of a Rag-picker :


The real role of HR folks – A CEO’s Checklist

 1. Influence and develop the business strategy

2. Make the Business success

3. Make the people a success

4. Develop people and the processes

5. You are business first

6. Understand that you need to be able to connect the business dots

7. Understand that you role is to uncomplicate the business world for all around you

8. Understand that your job is to give your knowledge away

9. Remember that the reason you got into HR was to create and develop and build the business and the people

10. Remember that leadership was never about you

Always remember you are business first and people first in that order.

Always remember there is no mission without margin

Always remember that your job is to build a business all else will follow.

Always remember to speak business and not techie HR.

And always always remember understanding people is always more important than polices and procedures. Those are givens.

You will never be great in what you do until you lead greatness in others.



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