You Don’t Have It Bad…Be Thankful

DX2 - ThanksgivingWhat a presumptuous title, huh? Speaking from personal experience and observation, I have found that no matter what circumstance you find yourself in currently, if you look around you, you can almost always find someone else who is going through an even more difficult circumstance.

Two Thanksgivings ago, I was not in a good place. I had just been diagnosed with cancer and had 3 major surgeries (the last being an emergency life-saving surgery) to remove 16 tumors, all within a 6 week period. That Thanksgiving, I was home, but I couldn’t walk from my bedroom to my living room because I was so weak. I had lost 50 lbs in a month’s time. I would eat 1 peanut butter cracker as my only food for an entire day. If anyone could feel down about their current circumstances, and be excused in most people’s minds, it would have been me. But one of the things that I felt was important was to focus on the needs of others during that time. It kept things in perspective for me. I wasn’t unique. I didn’t have the corner on illness or sickness. The world didn’t revolve around me and my situation.

It was frustrating because I would ask those who came to visit me about things in their life or how a mutual acquaintance of ours was doing, and more often than not, people would reply with, “Oh, well I can’t complain. I mean compared to you, my situation is nothing.” Those statements would break my heart. I wanted to help. I wanted to support others and encourage others, and by making that statement, they were robbing me of that opportunity.  Just because I had something going on my life didn’t mean that I stopped caring for others around me and the things that were important in theirs.

I would walk into my oncologist’s office and I would see the people in the treatment room…it was breathtaking the first time I saw that. You could see some receiving their chemo treatments that were old and frail and just looked completely defeated as they sat in their recliner with the IV pumping into them. You’d also see kids, so innocent with their whole life ahead of them, sitting there too and going through things that none of us as parents could ever imagine happening to someone so young. You’d see some with full heads of hair that you knew were just starting down this road, and others who looked like they have been on a very journey. Then I would look at myself in the mirror and I knew that I had nothing to complain about compared to what others were enduring.

This Thanksgiving, I am cancer free. Long gone are the days of eating 1 peanut butter cracker as my only source of food for a day. I will stuff myself until I feel like I will pop with all of the food that will be available to me. I’ll have no trouble walking from one room to another, I run 5K’s now. Life is good for me, but I’ll share the table with others who are hurting, in despair, and lonely. My path will cross with people who are going through secret circumstances that I could never imagine. I am blessed. And so are you.

If you are going through a tough situation currently, let me encourage you to stay positive and focus on others during this time. It’s amazing what serving others can do for your heart, and your circumstances.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Does Your CEO Know that You Just Cost the Company $300K????

CanYouAffordItRemember when you were young and just starting your adult life and you said that you wanted to get married, but you wanted to wait a while “until we can afford it”? Or when you were a newlywed and people started asking you what your plans were for having kids, and you answered with, “We’ve discussed it and we’re going to wait until we can afford it.”  In both of these situations, you most likely realized that if you waited until you could afford it, you would never get married or have kids…so you did it anyway.

Life has a way of imposing costs on you if you can afford it or not. Having a blow out going down the highway and having to replace a tire. The A/C going out in the middle of a hot Texas summer. An unexpected trip to the emergency room. Can you imagine sitting in the middle of a highway with a blown out tire…people coming up to ask if you need any help, and you reply with “No. I’m good. I’m just going to sit here until I can afford a new tire.”? Of course not. When things happen, we respond and do what we have to do if we like it or can afford it.

Now, go with me on this…

Companies have issues with recruiting the right people to join them. Not all companies, but a whole heap of them do! It is evident by high turnover rates, low production, and overpaying for the people you do have. You sometimes dismiss it by saying that it’s always been that way, but the question should be…Is this the way it has to be?

My job…my company…is to help organizations optimize their recruitment efforts in a way that turnover and recruitment costs are minimized. I do that through a thorough evaluation of that organization’s recruitment strategies, processes, technologies, metrics, people, social media, etc. and then make recommendations to streamline and make them more effective and efficient. I’ve done this over and over and over again with great success. I can have reduced turnover by 20-30%   on multiple occasions, and I’ve given multiple companies significant ROIs (some even into the millions). Yet, people tell me that they can’t afford my services (without even knowing what I charge…and let me assure you, it’s not much), and that they don’t have time (without even knowing how much time would need to be invested in solving major problems for them).

For those HR leaders who are saying that you can’t afford it, let me give you just a bit of information here to show that you can afford it.

  • Research shows that it costs you 20% of someone’s salary each time and employee leaves your company. I personally think that is a little low, but we’ll use it anyway.
  • Let’s say that you lose 1 employee making $50,000. According to this research, it will cost you $10,000 to replace that employee. (recruiting costs, interview costs, training costs, lowered productivity, lost knowledge, overworked remaining staff, diminished morale, etc.) AND THAT’S IF YOU AREN’T USING AN AGENCY TO REPLACE THEM!
  • If your company lost 10 employees this year, that would be $100,000 spent to replace them. If your company were to lose 100 employees this year, that’s $1 million!
  • If I could do for you what I have done for others and drop that number by 30%, for the company that lost 10 employees – that’s a $30,000 savings. If you lost the 100 employees, I just gave you back $300,000.
  • AND, that’s a year over year savings! I can also assure you, I never charge anywhere near that kind of money!

Still think you can’t afford it? What if I told you that all I need from you is 8 hours (1 day) to gather information so I can prepare recommendations for your company? You can’t give up 1 day in order to save your company huge amounts of money? Does your CEO know that????

If you wait until you can “afford it,” that day is here. Contact me and let me explain to you how this works, how much it costs, and what you can expect. It’s worth it!

I Was Addicted to the Hokey Pokey, but I Turned Myself Around

hokey pokeyDo overs. We all want them from time to time. We find ourselves in regrettable situations and second guess the actions and thoughts that got us there in the first place, and then wish we could “turn myself around” and do it over again. Of course, there’s no guaranty that our do-over would be any better than our original action/decision – but we always assume so. Maybe it’s something so small as buying an item, then getting home and realizing that you really didn’t need it, or something as major as the roll-out of an entire new healthcare system for the United States of America and then after launching it saying, “Oops, my bad!”

As with all who are reading this, I have many instances in my life when I wish I would have done things different, said things a different way, worked a little bit longer, placed my attention and focus on something else. My intentions are sometimes misread when I try to help others. The expression on my face is sometimes misread as being upset. The tone in my voice or my mannerisms are sometimes misread as disappointment, when in reality, it’s just the passion that I have about something. Frank Luntz has a book called “Words that Work.” In it, he emphasizes over and over that it’s not what you say, it’s what they hear. That’s puts a completely different spin on how you communicate with someone, listening through their ears prior to verbalizing your statement. Man, I wish I had a lot of do-overs when it comes to how I said something!

I recently began my own consulting firm that focuses on recruitment optimization. There are several elements of the recruitment industry that I am very passionate about and love to do, and there are some elements of it that I’m not so crazy about. I decided that at this point in my career, I want to work alone and pour myself into those areas that I really enjoy. Things like recruitment strategies, processes, technologies, speaking at various events, and overall – just trying to solve recruitment problems for my clients. I love that stuff, and I’m pretty dang good at it too! I wish I had made that decision a little earlier because I enjoy this so much!

Of course, enjoying something and being passionate about it doesn’t pay the bills, so there’s the stress of developing all of my own new business. My track record is sound. I have a broad base of contacts. The webcasts that I lead for SHRM has given me people who could potentially become clients. So, much like the Hokey Pokey – not only is my right hand in, and my left hand in – I’m all in. I’m working hard each day to spread the word about DX2 Consulting, and the unique offerings that I have available. I’m not quite sure how wise it was to start a business in the 4th quarter of a year when that is typically the slowest quarter in this industry…but I did and here I am. I’m excited for the prospects of this business and looking forward to the coming days when I say to myself, “That’s definitely not a do-over decision!”


Want to Honor Vets…Here’s How

Ron MacKayA friend of mine, Ron MacKay, posted his perspective on Veteran’s Day. His perspective is unique because of his background. He recently retired from active military service in the US Army and began a civilian career. I came to know Ron about a year ago as our daughters are the same age and played basketball together. He’s a stand-up guy with a love for family, God, and country. I’ve enjoyed getting to know him and like to hear his stories and point of view on things because his perspective is so different than mine. We agree on many things, but the lens that he looks through is very different than mine, as I have no military background.

After reading his post this morning, I asked if I could share it on my blog so others could hear his point of view. He graciously agreed.


Here is a glimpse of his background:

  • 3 years as a Platoon Leader
  • Senior Manager (Heavy Ground Cavalry Troop Commander)
  • Senior Manager (Headquarters Cavalry Troop Commander)
  • Consultant, US Army National Guard
  • Associate Professor at The University of Texas Army ROTC
  • Senior Consultant and Mentor (Team Chief and Combat Advisor)
  • Vice President of Operations (Operations Officer, 6th Squadron 9th US Cavalry)
  • Chief of Staff (Squadron Executive Officer)
  • Vice President of Operations (Brigade Operations Officer)

Undoubtedly, when he offers suggestions regarding the military and how best to honor them, he has the expertise and knowledge to make a solid assessment. So, here is what he offered this Veteran’s Day morning…

“Today I’m remembering all of those who came before me and being grateful for those whom I had the opportunity to serve with. It was a pleasure to serve.

Here’s 10 things America can do besides say “thank you for your service” on Veterans Day:

Donate. The Wounded Warrior Project, USO, Welcome Back Veterans, and The Fischer House are all great organizations worthy of your charitable donations.

Get to know a Vet. We aren’t all crazy, we don’t all have PTSD, and we all just want to get back to normal and move on. Some of us want to tell our story, some of us don’t, and some if us need to tell our story. But you’ll never know unless you ask.

Hire a vet. They may not have the exact skill set you may be looking for, but the overwhelming majority are disciplined, hard working, obedient, trainable, and most likely grateful for the opportunity. A small investment in them will go a long way in generating a loyal, hard working employee.

Hire a military spouse. The demographic of Military Spouse is the most underestimated career pool there is. There is no measure to their adaptability.

Be a mentor to a vet. Even if you don’t hire one, help out with coaching, resume help, and networking. We wore the same thing to work every day, so we have some significant wardrobe challenges, and we never had to do salary negotiations, so any assistance is appreciated.

Learn how to respect the National Colors. Act like the National Anthem is not a nuisance or inconvenience to you. Remove your hat, eyes on the flag, hand over your heart, and don’t fidget. The text/Facebook post/tweet can wait for three minutes.

Vote. Get involved in government and demand accountability from your representatives. A whole bunch of people fought so you could get the government you deserve.

Visit a National Cemetery and reflect. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone there, they are all America’s children who sacrificed so you could enjoy life.

Instead of worshipping a Kardashian, Bieber, Cyrus, Brady, Kobe, A Rod, Gosselin, Tupac, or any “Real Housewife” of whatever town, check out William Swenson, Jacklyn Harrell Lucas, Maurice “Footsie” Britt, James L. Stone, Bruce Crandall, Randy Shugart, Gary Gordon, Leroy Petry, and Clinton J. Romesha. Google it. These men are REAL heroes and their actions are worthy of your attention and respect.

That’s it- not too hard, right? Enjoy the day, and take some time to reflect.”

Thanks for your service Ron. We appreciate the many years that you committed your life, and the sacrifices that your family made, on behalf of the American people.

The Undeniable, Uncontridictable, Unquestionable Importance of Being YOUnique

Unique-SEO-Companies1“Fit in. Blend in. Be normal.” No, I’m not giving advice on how to survive middle school and high school. These are the things that the business world largely expects from the minions who clock in and out each day.  Notice I said that this is what they EXPECT, but what they SAY is the opposite. They say they want to be cutting edge, creative, the first of their kind, innovators – but when it comes down to it, those things scare business leaders to death. The fear of the unknown. Will it be accepted? Will anyone buy it? Should we give up a known thing to begin a new thing?

Let me start by saying that I have always been one that can tolerate the status quo, but it just doesn’t taste very good to me. No matter how successful something is, I always believe there is a way to get just a little bit more out of it.  For this reason, I think I have done some of my best work when I have been a one man show and was creating something from nothing. I’ve been in that scenario quite a few times over my career. I was a Youth Minister at churches for many years and the ones that I was drawn to were the churches that didn’t have any teenagers attending but wanted them. So, I would go in and get things started that no other church in town offered and work really hard for a couple of years. At the end of two years, the church would have pretty large group of teenagers attending regularly, and then I would leave and go start all over somewhere else. When I moved into the business world, I started my own graphic design company and I targeted places that weren’t known for having a “cool factor” to their brand…and I was able to make it cool.

Then I entered the world of recruiting. What I found intrigued me. I asked a LOT of questions early on, and I still do, so I can understand overall strategies and processes of an individual or an organization. What I found was that so many recruiters do the things that they do because it was the way they were taught and they haven’t varied from it much at all over time. Some of the tools they use to accomplish those things have certainly changed, but the strategy and mindset behind them never changed.  In a highly competitive role of recruiter, either agency or corporate, you would think that they would be open to doing things that would help them be better, faster, and more productive…but no.

There a couple of reasons that this bothers me:

  1. Their priority is their process and not the person. See, we have this evolving and transitioning workforce. The new generation workforce doesn’t operate in the same way that previous generations did. Let me ask you: How has the internet reshaped how business is done? Obviously it has changed it in dramatic and extraordinary ways! So why is it when we look at the first generation to grow up with the internet accessible to them every day of their lives, we think they will communicate, research, evaluate, problem solve, and approach business the same ways that their grandparents did? The way recruiting needs to be done looks dramatically different than it did 5-10-15-20 years ago BECAUSE THE PEOPLE that we are trying to influence require / demand it. Each company is unique and has its own unique story to tell. There is no “one size fits most” approach to recruiting. Your company needs to focus on making your recruitment efforts uniquely YOU. Stand apart from your competitors.
  2. Warning: This is totally selfish! I have my own consulting firm ( that helps organizations improve recruitment effectiveness and efficiency through innovative recruitment strategies, processes, technologies, social media, team structures, etc. Those of you who are responsible for the overall Talent Acquisition function at your company, when you have the approach that “this is the way we’ve always done it and it’s still okay,” it makes it really hard for me to provide for my family 🙂 Seriously, I have partnered with companies and introduced new strategies, processes, etc. and the result was reduction in turnover by 20-30% annually and the ability to generate pipelines of candidates for their open positions. In other words, I saved them enough money that paying my fees were not an issue. Could it be possible that you have room for improvement as well?

As a business owner, I have purposefully designed offerings for my clients that are unique. There are so many consultants available for just about everything imaginable, so I wanted to make sure that I stood apart from them by offering much needed and highly valuable services that others haven’t even considered. Things like:

  • Generational Training – Most organizations have a multi-generational workforce and are struggling to get co-workers to work as a team. This is because of learning styles, leadership styles, expectations, and the world they have experienced around them as they grew up. In this training we bring to light those differences and help people realize why they don’t see things from the same point of view and how to work through those differences. They’ll also discover areas where they have things in common. The goal is to bring everyone together into a team concept where they can utilize their unique perspectives, experience, and talents for the ultimate benefit of the organization.
  • Recruitment Process Evaluation – A thorough evaluation of an organization’s current recruitment strategies, processes, technologies, spending, team, social media efforts, and metrics. This typically requires a full day spent with your key players to gather information, then detailed short term and long term recommendations are provided that will improve the organizations efforts. Most organizations like to start a consultancy arrangement through this effort as is requires little time and resource commitment. This is a stand alone service, meaning you are not committing to anything long term by having the Recruitment Process Evaluation done.
  • Interview Training – Many organizations promote people into management roles who have been top performers in previous roles, but they do not take the time to train these new managers in proper and legal interview techniques, and how to evaluate one candidate vs another in order to make the best hiring decision. Seasoned recruiters also appreciate ideas regarding current interview techniques and ideas to improve their effectiveness. This training provides you with written, classroom, and role play training so your management can feel confident in their abilities to conduct solid interviews.
  • Retention Evaluation – With this new generation workforce coming into a place of dominance today, some have made changes to their recruitment processes to get them in the door but haven’t addresses management styles and the culture within the company to focus on retention. Look, it doesn’t do you any good to get them in the front door if they run for the back door shortly after arriving. It costs your company dearly in money, resources, and damages your brand.

I even led a webcast a week ago where I introduced, what I believe, is a more effective alternative to RPO (Recruitment Process Outsourcing) called IRM – Integrated Recruitment Model. It’s a blended model that has a mix of corporate recruiting and agency recruiting, but set up in such a way where both sides work together using their unique strengths to make the process run as efficiently as possible. You can find out more if you are interested at a group page on LinkedIn by clicking here.

Will my unique approaches work? I believe they will, but I’m just getting started and, quite honestly, I can’t afford for this to be a long running experiment…hahaha! It better work!

My encouragement to you – no matter what your role, what industry you work in, or what geographic location – do what you do just a little bit better than everyone else. Never stop looking for areas of improvement and pursue them. When you go pitch your ideas for improvement and you are met with resistance by those who are still doing things the same way they did 20 years ago, you’ll have to evaluate how much of an issue it is for you personally. For me, I have to keep pressing towards the next greatest thing, and when I get there, I’ll have to find a way to make it uniquely mine and immediately look for ways to make it even better. It’s what makes me…me.