Category Archives: Leadership

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Become a Better Leader Today

Do you know the one thing you need to do to become a better leader?

Taking endless leadership “development” classes won’t do it. Reading the latest book on the subject won’t do it. Trying to be the buzzword of the day/month/year won’t do it.

The answer is actually quite simple. You just need to be yourself.

All of the ‘one size fits all’ approaches to leadership does not consider an individual’s innate and compensatory leadership qualities. We focus on leadership improvement using our proprietary 5-step Professional Leadership Process that teaches participants a personalized, continuously-improving process designed to be learned once and adaptable to almost any situation the leader or potential leader may encounter. It’s the last leadership course you should ever need.

We’ve been conducting these courses nationally both online and onsite over the past year to great reviews. We are now formally rolling out our online courses and expanding to international markets. The courses are available in the self-study format, with recorded lectures where participants work at their own pace and the cohort-driven, guided-study format, with live weekly lectures over 6 weeks.

Onsite courses are also available. Please contact us for pricing.

For a limited time, you can enroll in either the self-study or guided-study courses for 20% the regular cost. Each course includes personality and leadership assessments as well as follow up coaching. Start your journey today at improvemyleadership.com.


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How Leaders Prepare for Those “Go To The Wall” Moments

Every leader will be faced with needing their team members to go over and above what is normally required or even expected of them. Depending on the company or the industry, these moments could occur more frequently than desired. It could be as simple as asking someone to redo a report or analysis – for the third time, because new information that ‘might’ impact the outcome has become available. It could also be as difficult as asking someone to stay very late or work the weekend to help meet a deadline.

I call these “go to the wall” moments based on the action of a baseball centerfielder who upon seeing a deep flyball runs to the outfield wall to make the catch for his team. He realizes that he might hurt himself (and many have), but he believes that helping his team win the game is more important than his personal safety. Some players are known for their run saving catches (search Byron Buxton catches). A leader must inspire people to willingly want to ‘go to the wall’ for the team because they will have to someday. Good leadership will help them feel good about making that choice.

To prepare for these moments, a leader needs to build ‘credits’ or capital in their leadership account. Here are 4 ways to build this capital:

  1. Connect With Your People
  2. Build Trust
  3. Be Available
  4. Be Humble

Connecting With Your People. There are many ways to connect with your people, many of which most leaders don’t seem to take advantage of. The best leaders I’ve known make a regular habit of walking around or rounding to touch base with their constituents. The key is to interact with them in their workspace, not yours. A quick perusal of their area will provide clues as to what is important to them. This could be in the form of photographs, screensavers, action figures (I’ve worked with a lot of tech people in my career) or just the organization level of their office. All of these are clues as to who the person is.

Lead with a personal question to help establish a connection. This helps set the tone for the conversation and puts the person at ease since the subject is not work related. Asking them about their weekend, their family or the latest movie can be disarming starters. This is important because you never know how someone’s personal life will impact them at work. If they see that you are genuinely invested in them, they might be more willing to come to you with work problem they’ve identified early on or a request for time to take care of a personal matter.

Other ways to connect with your people include spending time with them over lunch, meeting for coffee, attending a professional or sporting event or volunteering together outside of work.

Building Trust. To build trust with your people, seek out and value their input into situations. None of us have all the answers and seeking help from the people who are directly involved in the situation is best for everyone. Seeking advice is only part of the solution. The leader has to be willing to follow the advice as appropriate. Constantly asking for an opinion and never following it will have a negative effect on trust and morale.

Also, don’t ask people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself – and show that you are willing to do it. This means working alongside them in the trenches when needed. If you ever want to destroy trust, ask someone to work late or over the weekend, then go home at 5:00. Even if you’re not working on the same project, stay with them and ask them if there is anything you can do to help out.

A leader also builds trust by supporting their team. When the going gets tough, leaders don’t point fingers, they help figure out solutions to prevent problems from happening again. My people know they can trust me because I won’t throw them ‘under the bus’ when something goes wrong. As the leader, I am responsible for the team’s success and failures and that’s all anyone outside of the team sees. I may talk to a team member privately if there was an individual responsible for the problem, but publicly, as the leader, I take the responsibly for a failure of my team.

Being Available. After a leader has connected with their team and built trust with them, they have to make themselves available for open conversations, especially work related ones. A leader’s behavior and the type of relationship they have will dictate how often and how much their people will share, but leaders can position themselves in anticipation of this need. For instance, while they are rounding, they can end the conversation with a statement like, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help out.”

Words are meaningless though, if the leader’s behavior conflicts with what they say. If a person is invited to come talk to you, but the door to your office is always closed, that sends a conflicting message. If I’m alone in my office and not on a call, my door is usually open all of the way or at least part of the way as an indication that they can knock and reasonably expect me to tell them to come in.

Being Humble. Humility is a key attribute for any leader’s success and identified as one of the four innate qualities of leadership in my book, Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare. It was previously touched on in the building trust discussion on not asking your people to do something you wouldn’t do yourself. Another aspect of humility is how you ask people to ‘go to the wall.’ As a leader, we recognize that our people will do what they are asked to do, but we can soften the blow by also recognizing that the request is out of the ordinary and you appreciate them. Statements like, “I know this is a big ask, but could you get this completed by Monday morning?” are helpful. This changes the motivation of the person from one of doing something begrudgingly and only doing what is needed, to one of willingly doing whatever needs to be done and ‘going to the wall’ to make that catch.

The Final Touch
After the leader has done all they can to prepare for the ‘go to the wall’ moments, it is extremely important to thank the people involved and publicly give them recognition in front of the rest of the team or the organization. I’ve known leaders who have given out small tokens during their weekly team meetings, like Aces from a deck of cards, to people who have gone “over and above”. Also, be willing to accommodate them when that person needs to come in late or leave early for an appointment.

“Go to the wall” moments happen more often than people realize. If they are occurring every day, then they are no longer moments, but are just every day operations. Regardless, leaders need to prepare for these moments to help people willingly want to scale that wall and catch the flyball and not just let it go over their head for a home run for the other team.

What are some of your best ‘go to the wall’ stories? Please add them in the comments below.

#leadership  #leadeveryday #gotothewall


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3 Myths About Leadership – Your “Matrix” Moment

In the 1999 groundbreaking movie, “The Matrix”, Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) offers Neo (Keanu Reeves) a choice between a blue pill and a red pill. If Neo took the blue pill, he would wake up and continue believing whatever he wanted to believe about his life. If he took the red pill, he would stay and learn the truth about the Matrix.

This is your “Matrix” moment. It’s time for you to make a choice to either continue believing what you’ve been told about leadership or continue reading to learn some myths and truths about leadership.

When I began teaching graduate-level leadership courses 10-years ago, I noticed a disconnect between what is taught in academic settings versus non-academic ones and confusion about what is required to be a good leader? Like Neo in The Matrix, I knew there was something more and set out on a journey of research and self-discovery. My insights were published in 2017 in my book, Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare. Although it was healthcare focused, the findings apply to most industries. Here are some of the myths about leadership I’ve uncovered.

Myth #1. Leadership is a skill anyone can learn.

This is probably the biggest misnomer about leadership. People focus on improving their leadership skills when leadership is actually a process. If leadership was a skill, anyone with some basic knowledge of leadership could be taught to be an effective leader and that simply is not the case. Some people are destined to be good leaders and others are not.

We’ve all known people who could play a sport as good as some pro athletes or could sing better than some great performers or paint as well as some well-known artists. What separates these ‘amateurs’ from the professionals is they lack the improvement process and practice regimen to fully develop their talents. The same can be said about leadership. It is a process that a person must practice every day to reach their full potential as a leader. The more detailed Professional Leadership Process™ is described in my book, but in general, the process follows these steps:

Learn –> Practice –> Review –> Adjust

If you follow these steps, you will be well on your way to improving your leadership.

Myth #2. A person must be ‘X’ to be a good leader.

In this statement, ‘X’ represents the term of the day/month/year. There are so many words people have used to describe what a good leader needs to be, it has become confusing. On one post, someone asked people to list a word that best describes leadership. In just a weekend, there were over 1,000 words people listed. Although some of the words were duplicated or similar, it proves that opinions vary widely as to what leadership is. The bottom line is that none of it really matters because the only thing a leader can be is them self. You cannot lead like me. I cannot lead like you. A leader must know who they are, know who their people are and develop a leadership approach that works for them.

Leadership is not one thing, it’s many things. That is why a personalized, continuously-improving leadership process is needed.

Myth #3. The only way to become a better leader is by taking more classes or reading more books.

At a recent conference, I had someone remark how the leadership books in the resource area were all about the same. I’m not surprised by this because if you read enough books or take enough classes, you’ll come to the same conclusion. That is why we teach a personalized, continuously-improving approach to leadership in my classes and in my book. It is designed to be learned once and improved over time with regular reflection and coaching. It’s not about more classes or books, it’s about self-reflection, regular feedback and adapting your leadership approach to given situations.

Now that you are armed with the truth about leadership, what will you do with it? Will you continue on your current path or will you embrace the process and prepare every day for the agents seeking to derail your leadership improvement? “Where you go from here is a choice that is up to you,” Neo (paraphrased).


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50 African American Leaders in Healthcare to Know

The best healthcare delivery requires leadership from diverse backgrounds and experiences. This list highlights African Americans who have taken on leadership roles across the country at hospitals and health systems as well as in national organizations. Both established and emerging leaders are featured on this list. These individuals influence how their organizations approach healthcare delivery, develop healthcare policy and advocate for the next generation of leaders.

Becker’s Hospital Review accepted recommendations and conducted internal research to develop this list. Individuals cannot pay for inclusion on this list, which appears in alphabetical order.

Bryan Bennett. Executive Director and Founder of the Healthcare Center of Excellence. Mr. Bennett is executive director and founder of the Healthcare Center of Excellence, a research and consulting organization that aims to help healthcare organizations implement and manage technology, processes and human resources. He also writes on big data and health technology transformation for the HIMSS Future Care website. In addition to his work with the Healthcare Center of Excellence, Mr. Bennett is an adjunct professor for Chicago-based Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies and teaches consumer behavior for West Virginia University’s Integrated Marketing Communications graduate program.

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What Are Your Leadership Influences?

Category : Leadership

How do you adapt if they fall out of equilibrium once you identify them? Find out in this webinar January 31, 2018.

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Only 4 Days Left before “Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders” Webinar

Category : Leadership

There are only 4 days left before the webinar, “Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders”. It’s important for your careers and your sanity. Sign up today using the link below. Our subscribers can still receive $10 off with the coupon code ‘web180101’.

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  • Webinar - Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders (1/23/18)

    Webinar - Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders (1/23/18)

    $50.00
    In this webinar, you will learn how to distinguish between leaders who practice a leadership process from pretenders who don’t. Once you know the difference, you will be able to:

    Better assess your career opportunities, if you work for a pretender;
    Better protect your career, if your peer is a pretender;
    Better hire and promote people who are real leaders
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    Webinar - Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders (1/23/18)

    Webinar - Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders (1/23/18)

    In this webinar, you will learn how to distinguish between leaders who practice a leadership process from pretenders who don’t. Once you know the difference, you will be able to:

    Better assess your career opportunities, if you work for a pretender;
    Better protect your career, if your peer is a pretender;
    Better hire and promote people who are real leaders
    $50.00

    Webinar - Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders (1/23/18)

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“Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders” Webinar is One Week Away

Category : Leadership

Only one week away from our webinar “Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders” hosted by J. Bryan Bennett, MBA, CPA, LSSGB. It takes place next Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 1:00pm CST. Click on the link below to register. If you register before midnight 1/17/18 you will receive $10 off the cost of the webinar. In the webinar, you’ll learn some of the things I’ve learned from interviews and observing great leaders such at Chris Van Gorder, FACHE, Toby Cosgrove, Nancy Schlichting, John Couris and Scott Becker.

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New Leadership Webinar Series

Category : Leadership

CLASS FULL! Those words are music to my ears. We are very excited that the Professional Leadership Training Pilot class is completely full. We want to thank all of those who registered for the course and those who inquired about it but didn’t register because the class was either full or it was just not the right timing for them.

Because of this enthusiasm, we have decided to launch a Leadership Webinar Series that will address many of the leadership issues people have discussed with us. The series will kick-off this month with 2 sessions:

  • Separating Real Leaders from Pretenders, Tue, Jan. 23 at 1:00PM CST
  • Understanding & Managing Your Leadership Influences, Wed, Jan. 31 at 1:00PM CST

Beginning in February, all future webinars will take place on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at 1:00PM CST.

The investment for each webinar is $50. The first 10 people to register for either of these webinars using the coupon code on the site (healthcarecoe.org/webinars) will received a $10 discount.

Participants will also be entered in a drawing to win copies of my book “Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare” and receive discount codes for future webinars, training courses and one-on-one coaching sessions.

Make the choice to become a better leader today! healthcarecoe.org/webinars


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3 Questions with J. Bryan Bennett for the Becker’s 9th Annual Meeting

On April 14th, I will give a presentation on “The Personalized Leadership Journey” at Becker’s Hospital Review’s 9th Annual Meeting. Other speakers on the agenda include: Bernard Tyson (CEO of Kaiser Permanente), Teri Fontenot (CEO of Women’s Hospital), Dr. John Noseworthy (CEO of Mayo Clinic), Lloyd Dean (CEO of Dignity Health) and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

My presentation will discuss how ‘pundits’ will use hundreds of words to describe what it takes to be a leader when the truth of the matter is that all that is really needed to be a good leader is to be them self. This personalized approach to leadership is detailed in my book Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare.

As part of an ongoing series, Becker’s is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 11-14, 2018 in Chicago.

READ THE INTERVIEW ON BECKER’S and see why I consider Chris Van Gorder and John Couris  special leaders.


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3 Questions with J. Bryan Bennett for the Becker’s 9th Annual Meeting

On April 14th, I will give a presentation on “The Personalized Leadership Journey” at Becker’s Hospital Review’s 9th Annual Meeting. Other speakers on the agenda include: Bernard Tyson (CEO of Kaiser Permanente), Teri Fontenot (CEO of Women’s Hospital), Dr. John Noseworthy (CEO of Mayo Clinic), Lloyd Dean (CEO of Dignity Health) and former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

My presentation will discuss how ‘pundits’ will use hundreds of words to describe what it takes to be a leader when the truth of the matter is that all that is really needed to be a good leader is to be them self. This personalized approach to leadership is detailed in my book Prescribing Leadership in Healthcare.

As part of an ongoing series, Becker’s is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference, which will take place April 11-14, 2018 in Chicago.

READ THE INTERVIEW ON BECKER’S and see why I consider Chris Van Gorder and John Couris  special leaders.


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Upcoming Speaking Events

AHIMA CSA Leadership Symposium
Impacting Leadership in Healthcare
Chicago, IL
July 13, 2018

Becker’s Hospital Review 4th Annual Health IT + Revenue Cycle Conference
Population Health {Panel}

Diversity in the Boardroom {Panel}
Hyatt Regency, Chicago
September 19-22, 2018

ACHE-SETC 6th Annual Leadership Conference
Leadership Development for Developing Leaders {Panel}

5 Steps to Improving Healthcare Leadership {Presentation}
Texas Woman’s University – Texas Medical Center
Houston, TX
October 10, 2018

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