All posts by Michael Britton


Appropriate Behavior after Separation

Don’t pick up that phone yet!

When you first learn of your separation, your first instinct may be to hit your network, send out resume and race into your job search with a full head of steam.  After all, you didn’t get to this point of your career by just waiting for things to happen.  However, you don’t want to burn out a good contact before you have taken the time to adjust to the new situation and conscientiously develop your career plan.  Start by taking some time to insulate yourself from the outside world. Be kind to yourself and those close to you.  Don’t seek immediate solutions to problems.  Don’t worry about contacting executive recruiters just yet. Save your network until you are in a better emotional state. While it is tempting to dust off your resume and email it right away, take some time to do this right.  Don’t call friends and colleagues back at work.  Above everything else, don’t say negative things about your former employer – either in person, on the phone or online.  Now is the time to manage your stress and to begin thinking of your future.  Some things you should begin doing include:


Start with the Right Mindset

You need to remain positive and motivated throughout your entire job search.  Nothing worth achieving was ever accomplished without hard work and some degree of challenge – this is no different.  You have to believe in yourself, believe that you can add value and contribute to your next employer, and believe that you will succeed.


Keys to a Successful Mindset:

  • Accept that this process – your career, your job search success – is your responsibility, no one else’s.
  • If you hold any grudge against your last employer, let it go – those negative feelings are poisoning you.
  • Associate only with positive people…negative people, those that complain and blame others for their problems, will only suck the energy out of you, whereas positive people will keep you motivated.
  • Accept the fact that you may face some challenges or disappointments along the way, and prepare for them…if they don’t happen, terrific; but if they do, you’ll be prepared and they won’t derail you.
  • Use whatever positive support is available to you – spouse, friends, clergy, whomever.

Social interactions. Talking with others at work provided a needed emotional outlet.  It was safe to share a complaint or disappointment, express anger or celebrate a business milestone with colleagues.  With this outlet gone, you must identify new ones.  Find a support group that allows you to verbalize your emotional reactions to events.  Consider talking with a mentor, friend, family member or therapist.

An identity.   Many people gain their personal identities from their jobs.  For them, losing a title is disorienting and depressing.  But your identity hasn’t changed because of your job loss.  You still have the same talent, wisdom and experience.  You just don’t own the title on your old business card.

Refocus yourself and reframe your identity by evaluating who you are.  You may have been called a healthcare executive, but that’s not who you are.  You’re you, and that hasn’t changed.  You have the same laugh, values and beliefs, family and relationships.  You aren’t your work, but you do work as who you are.  Your work now is job hunting and it requires discipline and focus.


Coping During Your Transition

Imagine you’ve been kidnapped and taken for a harrowing ride that ends when you’re dumped in a remote area miles from anywhere. You’re frightened and panic as you realize you don’t know which way to go. You’re confused and your self-confidence begins to wane.

Losing a job can be just as frightening and lonely since your career stability, financial security and professional self-image are suddenly stripped away. A job provides most people with their core network of relationships. It is the ongoing social context in which most of us live our lives. When you lose your job, relationships disappear with many of your closest contacts avoiding you when the bad news is broken to them. Life feels flatter, thinner. You feel alone. Continue reading Coping During Your Transition


Establishing Your Home Office

To be effective in your job search, you need the proper space.  Think of it as establishing your new corporate headquarters, only this executive office is located in your home.  At least the commute is short!  Ideally, your home office should be located away from the main stream of the other household activities.  Privacy is essential for both concentration and professional telephone conversations; after all, a noisy dog or children in the background can destroy an effective call or interview.  Additionally, by separating your office from the rest of the house, you can “close the office” at the end of the day to allow you to enjoy the time with your family, pets, or significant others. Continue reading Establishing Your Home Office


Working Effectively with Search Firms

There is a high probability that your next position will be obtained as a result of your working with a retained search firm. In the placement industry, there are two kinds of “head hunters” or recruitment agencies: contingency & retained. The difference lies in how they’re paid. The contingency firms earn a percentage of the candidates first year salary, which the employers pay if and only if they hire the candidate. By comparison, retained firms are paid a flat fee that covers their time and efforts regardless of whether their presented candidates are hired or not.  Generally speaking, the healthcare industry and hospitals in particular favor the retained firms. Continue reading Working Effectively with Search Firms


Outplacement: Creating a Job Search Strategy

It is no secret that job hunting can be one of the most stressful events in life. There is no way around this, however, good preparation and focus will help ease the pressure associated with job hunting.

Here are a few words of wisdom that may help…

You are not alone…At any one time, there are millions of people who are unemployed and looking for work or those who are employed and are looking for other opportunities.

Continue reading Outplacement: Creating a Job Search Strategy


5 Leadership Lessons Learned From a Navy Seal and What They Mean For you

Leaders—true leaders—aren’t average people. The average person doesn’t choose to swim upstream while others swiftly float downstream, or zig when others zag. But having the courage, character and confidence to enter into the abysmal unknown and create value—personally organizationally –for others is exactly what defines them as leaders. Continue reading 5 Leadership Lessons Learned From a Navy Seal and What They Mean For you


Being a Fast-Paced, Great Leader:

Is there a correlation between speed and perceived leadership effectiveness? In a word, yes! Studies have shown that colleagues perceive their leaders as being extremely effective when they also view the leader as being fast-paced. Studies also found that top leaders who were judged particularly fast but not exceptionally effective were still judged to be highly effective. What makes a leader both fast and good? Based on 360-degree feedback, five factors set fast/effective leaders apart from leaders who are slow or who move quickly but stumble: Continue reading Being a Fast-Paced, Great Leader:


Leadership with Les Donahue

Recently, I had a very moving and insightful conversation with Les Donahue, former CEO of Piedmont Atlanta Hospital in Atlanta, GA. We discussed what it took for leaders to be successful. Les provided insights from his experiences as a CEO that might surprise you. While leadership is difficult to grasp and defined in many ways, Donahue looked through a wider lens at leadership. It begins with one’s self. Continue reading Leadership with Les Donahue


Body Language

Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success. Continue reading Body Language


What do you look for in a Retained Search Partner

  1. Does your search consultant personally conduct the search assignment(s)?  This is the highest probability of success for search work.  What is the success rate for the firm over the last 5 years?  The amount of information that you receive on potential candidates is significant.  Who personally is conducting the search for potential candidates for you the client?   How quickly are search assignments being completed? What are the performance metrics? 
  2. Does the search firm Continue reading What do you look for in a Retained Search Partner

Outplacement News – 8/14/2015

Congratulations to Joanie Jeannette on her new position at Vanderbilt Medical Center as Associate Nursing Director, Internal Medicine/Inpatient and Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Units….continued success to you.

“Leadership: Today’s True Test”

It was great catching up with old acquaintances’ and making new friendships at the 2015 Quality & Equity Roadmap conference in San Francisco.  As I reflect back, it has become abundantly clear that more proactive leadership is needed  to make a difference in building a balanced and culturally diverse workplace.  As we all know, the problem isn’t going away as a huge leadership void is looming large on the horizon.  Some 75 million U.S. workers will retire soon.  The talent to replace them will be chosen from the next generation of only 45 million workers.  Continue reading Outplacement News – 8/14/2015