June 26, 2019

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Big Picture Interviews

Recruiting, Fostering and Retaining Innovative Leadership


Exclusive IACPR Innovation Panel Interview with Dr. Linda Pittenger

Premiers on March 27 2013
Linda Pittenger Talent Acquisition Channel Interview on TotalPicture RadioLinda Pittenger

Companies that create a culture of risk, change and creative thinking help spur innovation - and build an environment of collaboration and questioning that can provide critical insights into consumer needs and different ways to solve market challenges.

"I think in the past 20 years we've seen what technology has done and the play that it has had in our organizations in so many ways. So you know it led to outsourcing. It led to globalization. It led to us thinking how do we run technology keeping the strategic pieces and outsourcing the transactional pieces. So it's really changed the organization and I want your listeners to understand that the role of big data will disrupt all of that again and it will disrupt all we know about organizations."

Our guest today on this Big Picture Channel podcast from the IACPR Global Conference is Dr. Linda Pittenger. Her career has included everything from start-ups to large corporations - she served as Managing Director at Lehman Brothers, and Vice President, HR for AT&T's Network Services Division. Her current roles include principal of the Pittenger Group and Associate Professor of Leadership, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Linda is recognized as the leading industry expert and thought leader on IT human capital. At IACPR, she participated in a panel discussion moderated by Eileen Finn titled Recruiting, Fostering and Retaining Innovative Leadership. Other panelists included Deborah Arcoleo, Director, Global Innovation Center of Excellence, The Hershey Company; Mary Beth Robles, Vice President, Innovation Capabilities and Knowledge Systems, Colgate-Palmolive; and Terri Zandhuis, Vice President, Human Resources, eBay.

Recruiting, Fostering and Retaining Innovative Leadership. Linda Pittenger, IACPR Conference TotalPicture Radio Transcript

Today's Big Picture Channel podcast featuring Linda Pittenger from the International Association for Corporate and Professional Recruitment Global Spring Conference in Philadelphia is brought to you by Jobs in Pods the only podcast where real employers, leading recruiters and staffing agencies talk about their jobs and tell you how to get them. Are the job openings you're posting on your career portal and job boards DELIVERING the quality candidates you want to hire? What if your job ads could tell a story? Describe the culture of your company? What if that job opening could have a real voice? With Jobs in Pods, you can. Visit JobsinPods.com and have a listen to our jobcasts with real employees at companies as diverse as GE, GEICO, RockTenn and Intel. If you would like a free demo of jobs in pods call 203-293-7003 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it - mention TotalPicture Radio and we'll give you a 20% discount on your first jobcast.

Hi this is Peter Clayton. Our guest today on this Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast from the IACPR Global Conference is Dr. Linda Pittenger. Her career has included everything from start ups to large corporations. She's served as managing director at Lehman Brother and vice president HR for AT&T's Network Services Division and her current roles include principal of the Pittenger Group and Associate Professor of Leadership Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Linda is recognized as the leading industry expert and thought leader on IT human capital. At IACPR she participated in a panel titled Recruiting, Fostering and Retaining Innovative Leadership.

Linda, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.

Linda: Well I'm really, really happy to be with you today, Peter.

Peter: Two part question for you here. Your takeaways from the conference and what are the big issues facing HR and recruiting leaders in 2013 regarding recruiting, fostering and retaining innovative leadership?

Linda: One of the big takeaways that I had from the conference was that I sensed that people realized that things need to change in terms of the way things are done in HR and recruiting. What I didn't sense was a lot of direction in doing that. So kind of on a high level of thinking I think people know there's some kind of elephant in the room but they don't know what to do it with it. So that was a high level takeaway from the conference. But in terms of the big issues I think HR really... they talked about for a decade, about being more strategic and I believe they still pretty much function in a transactional mode because the processes within HR have not changed much in the past decade but the demographics of the organization has changed.

So you have a global workforce. You have three generations in the work force and they all require various needs yet HR continues to run themselves in the processes within the organization as a one size fits all process if you will and that's not going to work and then secondly I think HR needs to be more externally focused. I don't believe that bringing the knowledge about the external environment relative to population inside the universities, talent development to etcetera to CIOs, CEOs that they're supporting.

In terms of recruiters, again, I think they also need to be more strategic because there are so many of them and they need to differentiate themselves and one way to do that is to consult on roles that are coming up, advise clients on trends, new positions. So that's on the client side and then on recruiting the talent they're all fighting for the same small group of leaders so they need to differentiate themselves for the long term and one of the ways to do that is through relationships.

I know when I was out there as a C-level and the recruiters were calling me I finally actually took a position being placed by a recruiter and as soon as the position was sold and I started work and that 6 months of by end that person got paid I never heard from them again. So I think on the talent side the recruiters need to really pay attention to working that network of talent because there isn't a lot of talent and that talent can work with whoever they want.

Peter: I think that's a really interesting perspective regarding recruiters becoming consultants instead of just doing transactional business.

Linda: Right because they're not differentiating themselves and if I'm a C-level I want to get more value out of the person I'm paying a lot of money to.

Peter: We recently published an interview with Susan Blackburn, a senior executive who spoke at the conference who was speaking directly to this issue. A number of the recruiters that were contacting her when she was in transition were just transactional. They really weren't trying to establish a relationship.

Linda: That's exactly right. That's spot on. Exactly right. So they need to create relationships with the few really good talent available but they also need to provide value to the client meaning the corporate client. So they have two relationships to nurture and frankly I don't think they're doing either of them very well. There are some exceptions but talking in the vast majority of these recruiters everybody's just another résumé or CV that they can use or leverage and that's not the way to do business.

Peter: One of the interesting and somewhat counter intuitive pieces of advice you gave the recruiters at IACPR hire for behavior, train for skills. Can you explain this to us because most of, especially people who are hired for IT roles their skills and certifications are the first things that a recruiter is going to look at?

Linda: Yeah. No. Exactly. Well there's been two... well actually three decades of research on emotional intelligence and fit within jobs and so behaviors are hard to identify and hard to develop in people and the way to find behaviors in an interview is when you interview for the more recent the behavior is performed the more likely it's going to happen again because past behavior predicts future behavior.

So it's easy to identify skills. Do you have C++ or not right? But it's hard to identify are you achievement oriented or not. It's also easy to train someone in C++ and so when you're placing people unless you need an immediate skill at very fine depth in those cases I would hire a contractor get the work done and have the contractor leave. But for your full time work force I would hire those people that contribute the most from a behavioral perspective and then send them to C++ school and let them learn the skills. In the long run you're going to get more out of these people. They're going to be more loyal. They're going to have higher productivity. They're going to collaborate more and I have some very, very big clients that have completely changed the way they hire to screen for behaviors first and then skills but the majority of companies still don't do that.

Peter: Speaking about technical professionals, your background includes significant responsibilities for the care and feeding, recruiting and retention of IT professionals. How do these folks in IT differ from other professionals within an organization with issues related to HR and recruiting?

Linda: This goes back to the HR leaders doing a one size fits all approach. IT professionals, it has been proven, I've been doing this for up to 20 years, that they're driven by different things. One obvious fact is that what works for the organization doesn't work in IT is engagement; so only 22% of IT professionals are engaged in the organization, that IT professionals have the lowest level of engagement of any group within an enterprise. You have to question well why does that happen?

Well that's fine. There's research that will tell you that. I've actually done research on that and they need vision and compassion and if they get vision and compassion they will become very engaged but how often do you see IT professionals sitting down with the leaders of the organization talking about where is this business going and having compassion with those people on IT? They're usually treated as "those IT people" right?

Peter: Right.

Linda: And actually they're very sensitive. They're very creative people. The best technologists have degrees not in computer science but in music, in art. I remember when I was at Gartner the chief analyst had a degree in music because that's the part of the brain that works the same way as IT works. So these are very, very creative people that are typically put in boxes. What's also important to them is professional development.

So they want to attend that conference. They want to get reskilled whereas a manager, they don't care about that much about it. Once in a while they'd like to go to a conference but to IT professionals these are very very important and this is what engages them yet companies have cut their training budgets, don't send their IT professionals to conferences and again these are our drivers.

And then finally titles. So a lot of organizations have cut out levels to flatten the organization so there's fewer titles. Well that's great. You can have corporate titles but I also believe you should have IT titles in addition to the corporate titles. So someone coming into the organization might be a junior programmer and in six months they become an associate programmer and in another six months they become a programmer.

All the while they might still have the same corporate title. You need to nurture these people with titles because that's what they really, really enjoy and they also enjoy the ability to be labeled something like a distinguished member of technical staff or a fellow, and in the typical HR titles, none of that suits the IT organization.

Peter: I think that's a really interesting perspective and both of us in our background have AT&T and for a number of years I was producing films for AT&T, Bell Labs and AT&T Labs for their fellows program who were recognizing the people who are actually providing the cash to AT&T; the people who have invented 800. I mean that was an invention.

Linda: That's exactly right but unfortunately even today in today's environment, AT&T is cutting their Bell Labs budgets over and over again. It's now seen as an expense. In its heyday nobody touched the laboratories ability to care, nurture and motivate technology professionals. They're second to none. There's no one who could touch them. They were so ahead of themselves but I still think that model works very well now and some companies are trying to emulate that. So there is promise but to me that's what provides the thought leadership for us in America are laboratories like Bell Labs.

Peter: You actively consult with CEOs and CIOs of global 100 companies. Linda, what's on the minds of the C-suite these days especially as it relates to HR and recruiting issues?

Linda: The C-suite I think they're looking for strategic partners from HR but I believe they're rarely getting them. A lot of them will come in. They'll say "Linda, I need a Chief HR Officer. How much do I pay?" And my answer to them is "Who do you want?" So you can pay $80,000 or $5 million. What are you looking for? How do you view HR as part of your business and what it can do for you?" And once I get them through that conversation then they start saying "Oh yeah. You know what? I need to change this job. I need to pay more. I need to get the right person in."

So it's really back to what's the role of HR in that enterprise and does the C-level see it as a tactical function that's a pain and something they had to deal with or do they see it as something that can be an enabler of their business and that differentiates who they hire. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of HR professionals that are highly skilled at being that strategic partner. But C-suite folks, you're looking for advice on what should my structure be. Help me nurture the culture that I need to achieve my business goal. What are the emerging roles out there? What are the emerging trends like big data?

These HR partners, I got the sense when I was talking about big data the other day at the conference they were going "Wow. I better read about this." Well this has been going on now in the head lines for over a year. So where are those people and why aren't they supporting their C-levels on "Hey this is going to be a differentiator in business?" Not only do we need to hire the right technology people. We need to hire the right managers and guess what folks? There's not going to be enough around.

So we need to deploy some strategic ideas around how to recruit and retain these people but I don't get a big sense of that happening and then finally I think HR's management silos still. So the compensation guy or gal doesn't talk to the performance management guy or gal. Everything's managed. Talent management separated from compensation. They're all managing their own. There's a director for each of these processes and to me the best HR organizations are those that integrate those processes. So what you want to manage performance for aligns with how you pay for performance and a lot of times the two don't meet.

Peter: I know you're writing a book on big data, a topic on the agenda of many HR and recruiting conferences and certainly discussed by HR leaders and recruiters, something that really got my interest at the IACPR is when you were talking about the staggering number of unfilled data jobs and data management jobs that currently exist and that this is going to become really disruptive to corporations who aren't able to bring in these types of skills into their companies.

Linda: Absolutely. So what's happened is technology has enabled to, at a low cost and with fairly excellent sophistication, take raw data and have it answer questions for us. Without getting too technical I'll kind of leave it like that. And so there are many companies that are realizing this and they are setting themselves up to really ask the strategic questions that big data can answer and in many cases this can change your entire business. It can triple your revenues, quadruple your revenues, decrease your cost - I mean there is just so much value that big data can do for a company.

The problem is because the technology happens so fast there aren't enough people, i.e., data scientist that can analyze this raw data that have the brain power to create the algorithms that will give the answers to the companies and even the universities, I helped start the first business intelligence and analogs program in the north east. There's very few of those out there and they're just in the process of starting to graduate their people this May.

So the number of people coming out of programs will not even touch the need and McKenzie quotes there'll be 190,000 unfilled data scientist positions or data analytics positions by 2018 and a half million gap of managers who will manage big data organizations. So some of the companies for example Deloitte has created a relationship with the university where they're training their people on certifying them rather than giving them degrees and I think that's an excellent approach.

So they're taking current employees and skilling them on big data. But these companies, the bottom line is these companies that don't play will be left behind because the companies that do play will be making so much money and have such a differentiated model that they're the ones that are going to exceed but surprisingly there's a lot of C-levels that still think "Oh this is an interesting articles in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal." They don't quite get what this means.

Peter: Speaking about big data, there was a whole section in a recent Wall Street Journal on the topic. It included an info graphic that I'd like to point out a little bit here. Mining the data mountain, the tab keeps growing as organizations collect mountains of data. They're spending more and more to make sense of it all. Estimated total of IT spending driven by big data in billions of dollars 2013 about 35 billion. By 2014 that'll increase close to 45 billion and by 2016 almost 60 billion dollars will be spent by corporations trying to make sense out of all of this big data and one of the data points that I found particularly interesting of the survey business professionals and this survey was conducted by MIT Sloan Management Review, 58% say analytics has played a more intricate part in their organizations' strategy and operations than it did just even 12 months ago. Only 8% say analytics has greatly helped innovation in human resources. So it seems to me, Linda, just looking at this info graphic HR really isn't paying as much attention to this big data trend as they should be.

Linda: You're absolutely right and again big data and the ability for them to not only get it based on their business but buy it from vendors can absolutely change the way they're doing it. What worries me the most and hopefully when the book comes out we'll have this some advice for people. My co-author Dave Belanger is from Bell Laboratories; we're talking about how to structure big data as well in terms of the teams. So if these organizations are just growing big, big data groups, that's not the right answer.

So it really needs to be treated like innovation groups: small working teams that are made up of data scientists, some marketing person, a sales person, maybe a client. So it's all about small teams to create the innovation and ask the right questions that big data can answer. It's not about growing a huge organization. That won't pay off for the companies.

Peter: As I mentioned at the top of the show, you were on a panel at IACPR focused on innovation that included a couple of executives from large corporations with innovation in their titles. Now you've seen these programs from about every single angle. From your perspective who's driving innovation in large corporations? Is it HR? Based on your experience, do these innovation taskforces illicit any sort of measurable results?

Linda: That's a great question. I think it's driven by the C-level, the CEO maybe even the CIO. I don't think HR has a good play in it. I think you can't structure innovation. I think that innovation has to be in the culture and people have to feel free to fail in the culture. So that's something you can't create overnight but I do believe innovation could have... You could have a chief innovation officer in the organization that is more of the band conductor that brings together the people and they facilitate the process and you need to grow rotating small teams that go into, I call them quantum leap teams.

They go into hiding for several months and they pick each other's brains and they brain storm and then you put them back in their jobs and you create another team and then when the ideas come to fruition and they're decided to be funded then that gets built by a regular team within the organization. The other thing that I like is the use of outside design firms to come in and facilitate and also look at your business because they're not wearing rose colored glasses and they can see things that you can't see and then finally I think organizations need to budget this.

So when you look at the dollar that they spend they spend some portion on running the business, some portion on improving the business and hopefully some portion on innovation and the percentage of money spent on innovation is significantly low and so I think companies especially in the incoming decades with this big data, companies needs to reevaluate their spend and try to lower their running the business and fund more money for innovation and most of that money will go basically down the toilet except for that one thing that might create a billion dollars in revenue. They can't expect to win every month. That's just not the way it works.

Peter: One more piece of advice you shared with the IACPR audience was to tap into the wealth of knowledge and expertise at your local college or university. Obviously you now have worked on both sides of the fence so to speak. You're currently in academia but for most of your career you were in leadership roles with large corporations.

Linda: I've been in academia now two years full time but my entire career I was in the corporate sides and I never ever had a relationship with the university, used an academic professional. It just wasn't on the radar and shame on me and shame on all the professionals that don't. So I'm kind of on this bandwagon now that I'm on the other side. These people are brilliant. Not only do they have availability to all research on any topic that you want but they consult and they consult so much cheaper than the big consulting companies and they are so much smarter.

The limitation is that they haven't worked inside your company or they haven't worked in the energy industry or the consumer products industry and some have but most haven't. But they bring with them facts and facts are a friend and a lot of times the consulting companies will bring best practices or best guesses but these people bring facts. You can provide a grant to students and get six students working on a project for you for next to nothing because all the students want is to have their tuition paid for and then they're also the source, these professors are the source for your future workforce.

I mean they know who the great students are and so you have this whole campus recruitment program that you pay all these campus recruiters and spend all this money when if you have relationships with the computer science department or the MBA program guess what? You can have access to the best of the students for free. So why don't we do that? I didn't do it either so I'm not trying to point a finger at anybody but wow I really got smart about this and if I ever did go on the other side again back to corporate IT you can bet I will be the first one to have relationships with all these universities because they're on the forefront of research, they have your recruitment, your students and they're low cost with high benefits. So it's a no brainer to me.

Peter: I think that's some terrific advice. One last question for you Susan. What haven't we discussed that you'd like to share with our audience today?

Linda: I think in the past 20 years we've seen what technology has done and the play that it has had in our organizations in so many ways. So you know it led to outsourcing. It led to globalization. It led to us thinking how do we run technology keeping the strategic pieces and outsourcing the transactional pieces. So it's really changed the organization and I want your listeners to understand that the role of big data will disrupt all of that again and it will disrupt all we know about organizations.

I view that as a very exciting time to be in enterprises but I sincerely believe the people that get on the band wagon now and are first to do this will be the winners and we will see another series of big companies that don't exist anymore because they failed to get on this bandwagon and so I really want to share and get your listeners to take this seriously and start to think about "What does this all mean for my organization?" And then consult to their C-level to say "What are we doing about big data? What's our strategy? Have we thought about this? Maybe we need to make this an agenda item at our next board meeting. How are we funding this? How are we getting the people?" And I think that would be the biggest gift I could give to them.

Peter: Linda, thank you very much for your time today and I really enjoyed meeting in you Philadelphia.

Linda: You bet. Thanks for having me.

Dr. Linda Pittenger is the principal of the Pittenger Group, an associate professor of leadership Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Thanks for tuning into our podcast today. You can subscribe to TotalPicture Radio and Jobs in Pods on iTunes, Stitcher Radio and many podcast aggregation sites. connect with TotalPicture Radio and Jobs in Pods on Facebook and Twitter. Sign-up for our newsletter on totalpicture.com. And remember, call 203-293-7003 - or email info at jobsinpods.com and mention TotalPicture Radio and we'll give you a 20% discount on your first Job in Pods jobcast. Thank you for listening!

This is Peter Clayton. Thanks for tuning in.

Weekend Inspiration: The Dip by Seth Godin


A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)

Premiers on March 22 2013
the Dip, by Seth GodinSeth Godin

"Being The Best in the World is Seriously Underrated"

The old saying is wrong-winners do quit, and quitters do win.

When you think of Seth Godin's many remarkable books, titles like Permission Marketing, Purple Cow and Small is the New Big probably pop into your head. Welcome to our Weekend Inspiration podcast series with Peter Clayton. Today, we're featuring a little book by Seth (it's only 80 pages) titled the Dip.

Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun. Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point-really hard, and not much fun at all.

And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle. Maybe you're in a Dip - a temporary setback that will get better if you keep pushing. But maybe it's really a Cul-de-Sac, which will never get better, no matter how hard you try.


Weekend Inspiration - Gregg Robins, Snowing in April


In his sophomore Demo CD, Gregg Robins explores new territory

Published on March 01 2013
Gregg Robins, Snowing in AprilGregg Robins

..."Deep inside, and I think everybody can experience this, we wonder... if we have more in us and what we can do and how we can grow in our craft. This album, as a result, represents for me something very meaningful because it's really going to a new place, new songs that are fun, that are playful, that have humor in them, which is a very important part of who I am." Gregg Robins

Welcome to the third Weekend Inspiration podcast. This is Peter Clayton and I've already decided to change the format of this new TotalPicture Radio feature... somewhat. This week, there's more than just me talking! However, it is still a short interview - under 10 minutes. And I do hope all of you weekend musicians, writers, artists, filmmakers (fill in your creative passion here _________) will find this podcast motivating and inspirational.

Many of us dream of pursuing creative passions. My special guest today has followed his dream and turned it into reality. Joining me from his home in Moscow is singer/songwriter Gregg Robins. I met Gregg in 1998. He was in a senior leadership position with Citibank's Private Banking Group in Geneva, Switzerland, I was traveling around Europe shooting films for Citi on issues related to Y2K and the conversion to the Euro, (which took place at exactly the same time - January 1, 2000), Gregg was featured in a number of my Citi video productions, and we became good friends.

I last interviewed Gregg in the fall of 2011, when his debut album Everything That Matters was released. (You'll find a link to that interview on the sidebar). He has a new Demo CD titled Snowing in April, available as a free download from his Web site!

James Mapes. Patient Pre-Op Post-Op Healing Therapy


The founder of Quantum Leap Thinking has developed a new CD series to help those facing major surgery

Published on February 25 2013
 James Mapes, Quantum Leap ThinkingJames Mapes

"Life can turn on a dime"

For more than three decades, James Mapes, our special guest in this Big Picture Channel interview has been helping people prepare for major surgery.

Three years ago, following his own heart surgery, he made the decision to create Patient Pre-Op/Post-Op Healing Therapy™. In this new interactive program, (available as a digital download or CD), James teaches listeners how to eliminate fear, and help harness the body's natural resources for healing.

James is the founder of Quantum Leap Thinking™, creator of The Transformational Coach™, expert on the psychology of "applied imagination," best- selling author, highly acclaimed business speaker, consultant, seminar leader and personal excellence coach. We recorded a series of interviews with James in 2011. (See sidebar for links.) At the time, he was developing the Patient Pre-Op/Post-Op program - making presentations to hospitals and meeting with groups of surgeons and other medial professionals.

Today, in our exclusive podcast, James and Producer/Host Peter Clayton will explore the results from his research, personal experience, and discuss why the approach James advocates really does help to reduce anxiety, diminish post-surgery complications, and reduce or eliminate pain following a live-saving procedure.

James Mapes Patient Pre-Op/Post-Op Therapy Transcript, TotalPicture Radio

For more than three decades, James Mapes, our special guest in this Big Picture Channel interview has been helping people prepare for major surgery. Three years ago following his own heart surgery he made the decision to create Patient Pre-op/Post-op Healing Therapy. In this new interactive program available as a digital download or a CD, James teaches listeners how to eliminate fear and help harness the body's natural resources for healing.

James is the founder of Quantum Leap Thinking, creator of the Transformational Coach, expert on the psychology of applied imagination, best selling author, highly acclaimed business speaker, consultant, seminar leader and personal excellence coach. We recorded this series of interviews with James in 2011. See his feature page here on TotalPicture Radio for those links. At the time of our podcast series in 2011, he was developing the Patient Pre-op/Post-op Program making presentations at hospitals and meeting with groups of surgeons and other medical professionals.

James, it's really great to see you again.

James: It's great to be seen and be here with you.

Peter: As I mentioned the last time we met, you were presenting the concept of this Patient Pre-op/Post-op Healing Therapy Program to surgeons and other medical professions. So what's been happening? Bring us up to date.

James: I had this idea a little over 3½ years ago when I suddenly had my own heart surgery and I said this is the way that I can cope with this to get my attention off me is to come out with a program for other people. So I started interviewing nurses and doctors while I was in the hospital recovering and later as I got to know more physicians and more doctors, I was asked to do the grand rounds at Bridgeport Hospital in Connecticut. I prepared this and created it and I was terrified that they wouldn't like it just because we're all speakers and performers and you have that little insecurity, and they loved it.

I put enough case studies in here. I had interactive exercises and the head of Bridgeport Hospital Dr. Atweh of cardiothoracic surgery said "You know you have to pursue this." So I did, and it's been researching, working with people and eventually it took about I would say a year to write the program itself, which is the first of the CDs and then to figure out exactly what I was going to put on the pre and post surgery closed eye processes because that's the key. The information we'll probably talk about is necessary for intellectual understanding but this goes far beyond intellect.

Peter: I remember you telling me that... I mean you've been working with clients for 30 years helping them when they've gone into surgery and of the fact that when you started doing this 30 years ago, most medical professionals were really skeptical about the results of doing this kind of thing. So what's changed?

James: When I started doing this I never advertised, I never charged and I was just doing what my instinct said based on some kind of periphery research at that time, but what's changed is many things. Number one hypnosis was accepted as a science. Meditation you can't pick up a medical journal anymore without seeing the results of what that does to calm and lower risk for disease, and it's endless.

So because what has changed in the medical profession today is patient satisfaction and it's very logical. They get money. A hospital gets money based on patient satisfaction. So if you want patients to be satisfied it becomes as psychological as it does mechanical. So it is the way that physicians communicate, which is all what we're about to talk about here, and the way that they can help patients reduce fear.

People have started to become wiser as patients and now are starting to ask for certain things, suggestions before surgery, suggestions during surgery. Because what most people don't know is there's a part of us, the major part of us, that never stops listening. Never. So during surgery under anesthesia, that part of us (not the logical part), but the part that makes a difference, is always out there listening for clues as positive or negative. So you extrapolate from that and then you can have people pre-surgery actually condition themselves.

Peter: Before we started recording you said something to me that I found really interesting and that is, that patients need to be accountable for their own recovery. Can you expand on that a little bit?

James: Sure. I think in life there's many ways to live, but I kind of make this very simple. There are those people that blame anything and everything for their condition - the government, God, their spouse, their child - whatever it is and once you do that, you have given away your power to create positive choice, which is I guess this is the scientific thing. It's just plain stupid. ☺

So once you are accountable for anything like a marriage, a relationship, it becomes more than two people, it becomes a third person. As you go into surgery in the old days you said doctors were gods and they didn't share information and they didn't want patients to know too much. Now with the web everybody knows everything. So let me loop this back is, once you are accountable for your healing, then you can become proactive and then you make the choice to learn the tools that is going to make a major difference both in your going into surgery and your healing and recovery.

Peter: I want to return to your heart surgery which really was the impetus for developing this whole program. You were told at the time that by several doctors that you only had a couple of weeks left to live. You came up with at that time what you call the five keys to living an exceptional life; the first being make friends with reality. James, I have a real aversion to needles. I don't even like going into a hospital. I don't even like walking in the door. I'm one of these people that I have fainted in getting shots. I'm one of those. I am so adverse to all these kinds of things. So how am I supposed to make friends with getting sliced up on an operating table?

James: I've got to back up and let's look at the whole thing about making friends with reality.

What the tendency as a human being to do when something happens to us that we don't want to happen mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally or socially, the tendency for many human beings is to either ignore it or we call it going into denial.

Peter: Right.

James: When that happens you can't make any proactive choices to help your self because if you're in drugs and alcohol it could kill you, but there's other things we deny.

Now I'm not saying all denial is bad. I'm just saying when it comes to setting ourselves up both to heal and become whole again physically, that we have to make friends with reality. So that's a little different than what you're talking about. Once you say "Oh okay. This is going to happen." I wanted to deny that I had an aortic aneurysm and I was going to croak. For 12 hours I was in shock, or 24, and I was so terrified I couldn't do any of this stuff I'm talking about, that terror for the first 24 hours.

But then once I started to, I also had my knowledge for 30 years to go on of helping other people and I said I'm going to take the attention off myself. I have worked with people with a phobia of needles for years. I've also been with them in the room when they've gotten it and they go "Well okay, I really don't want to get the shot." And I said "But you already have." I distracted them... so we're talking about a different thing now. I distracted them.

The human mind is only capable of focusing on one thing at a time. That is why and all brain science is showing this. So multitasking is a losing proposition. Now people will argue about it because they want to feel superior.

Peter: Especially my teenage daughters will argue about the fact that they can multitask and watch YouTube videos while they're doing their homework.

James: And the truth is they're taking something away from one of those. You would prefer it were doing the homework but that's the truth. So that's one thing.

The second thing is there is by doing a deep relaxation and condition yourself to relaxing, let me give you an example. My wife, we were riding out in the middle of Colorado and she got bucked off a horse and two hours from civilization, landed on a boulder, broke all her ribs and her collarbone. It was horrendous. It was a rainy day. We had our guide and of course, I'm trying to maintain the calm of all this.

She's a great hypnosis subject. The man said "I'm going. I'll bring back help." So I worked with my wife. I took her to a beach in St. Thomas in her mind for two hours. As I'm shaking and freezing she was in St. Thomas lying on a beach, no pain, no agony, no fear, no anything. So that principle is the same principle I used in the Patient Pre-op/Post-op Healing Therapy, that it conditions the mind to reduce fear and provides a rubber band to something in the future that propels or compels you psychologically with hope and with a belief that you are going to not only heal, but you're going to experience doing something. Like I created something in the future that I focused on every day, even after my surgery, and I found that I had hope.

I've built up some kind of tying that rubber band to the future. It was a really wonderful thing to happen, to be able to create that kind of not only relaxation, but programming, and that's what we're talking about here - programming.

Peter: What you're really talking about here is an attitude adjustment, right?

James: That is one of the five principles, make friends with reality and then attitude. When you say to people "Have a good attitude" or "You've got a bad attitude" that doesn't help anyone do anything. Attitude is one thing we can control. That is a choice and it's a way of perceiving the world. The studies that have been done - and I'm not even talking about sports performance which we could talk about. There's so many areas we can talk about, creativity.

There have been so many studies done that show that having a positive attitude not only helps prevent your genetic disposition from happening. Say you have a penchant for having a heart attack or a stroke or something, the attitude makes a difference but it also allows you again to be proactive. Part of what I did when I was in - and this is funny because I started questioning, I was in the ICU for 6 days, the hospital for a total of 10, my third day I started croaking questions to the nurses.

My wife was a journalist so she would record the responses because pretty soon I was out of it again. I started to quiz and before I left the hospital I did six of the senior nurses at Yale New Haven Hospital, and I would ask the question do you think attitude makes a difference in recovery? The first one was like saying no one ever asks that question. Let me tell you what I've observed, and this is the answer; not exact words, the same answer that everyone gave.

We have seen people who should have had no problems in their recovery, have major problems, and those specifically were the people that complained, they blamed, they yelled at the nurses, they yelled at the doctor, they would come in and have their family or acquaintances come in and they would yell. They'd be harsh. They'd be abrupt. And then there were the people who should have had more complications and didn't, and those were the people that - I remember the words out of my mouth - those were the people that thanked us, they were grateful for what we were doing. They were grateful for their recovery, they had a positive attitude. It made a major difference in not only going into surgery and what happened right after surgery, but in their long term recovery.

Peter: I'm sure in the care that they received in the hospital.

James: Absolutely. I always say to business I said if you're unemployed and you go in for a job interview and you have a bad attitude or you're self deprecating, or another person goes in with a positive hopeful attitude and they both have the same talent, who would you hire?

Peter: Who do you want to around?

James: Yeah, who do you want to play with? Who do you want to be around? I think in one of our previous interviews I mentioned that my wife 25 years ago in her office and showed me a sign on her wall. She said you have to know who I am. It says I do not want to be around people that vex the spirit. We had this conversation three days ago with someone. We were down in the Virgin Islands and we were talking to a doctor, and she brought up the story again. We want to play with people that are cheerleaders for us, we're cheerleaders for them. That doesn't mean that you don't have bad days. It doesn't mean that sometimes you don't get grumpy or angry. It just means that you let it go faster.

Peter: Let's talk about family a little bit in this whole thing because rarely does someone approach major surgery alone. There is family members who can be as distraught, if not more so, than the person who is actually going to get the operation. So don't you need to deal with the whole family when you go into this patient pre-op/post-op program?

James: Absolutely. I call the first CD which is 75 minutes is called a patient surgery guide to the mind. I suggest right up front that you listen to this with your family, friends and especially you must have an advocate. I punch that. I very seldom tell anyone what to do but you have to have an advocate. And so in this program, and part of what I do in person, is teaching about how powerful communication is and how you need to surround yourself with people who are positive and some people, you've got to deal with the people that are freaked out too.

A part of what this program does is help you do that too. It just eliminates fear. It makes you less susceptible and less vulnerable to negativity. It's like an immune booster for the brain and it's shown in the work because there is a part of us, probably 90% of our brain called the subconscious, which responds to positive suggestion but it also can be preprogrammed. That's what's important for people to understand, is you don't have to believe any of the stuff I'm talking about to have this work because it's going to work with or without you're saying "Oh okay, this is going to work."

If you had CNN all day long with terrible news every waking moment of your life, your life would not be as positive as someone who, I don't know, did the opposite - read positive books and listen to music and stuff. So there is a part of us that is affected by negative people, negative news and so it's very important not only... so we've got to make friends with reality which means that you just accept what's going on so you can become proactive and start to take positive steps, you adjust your attitude and that's a choice, and you have a support system. A support system in life, to me, is critical and let's forget the patient thing for a second.

Peter: Okay.

James: Let's look at what support does. There have been a lot of studies done on this. The people with the strongest social networks live happier, healthier lives even if those people smoke to excess and drink to excess. That is miraculous to me. Now how do you get a support system because some people say "Oh support group, oh this, oh that." We are programmed in our DNA for reciprocity, meaning that if we do good deeds for people it's to me the ultimate selfish act because it's going to come back because we're programmed in our primitive way to reciprocate good deeds.

Now that doesn't mean that if you did that with 100 people 100 people are going to respond, but I'll bet you 90% of them will. So when you surround yourself with a support system that means you look for what you can do with people. You can start that now as you're listening to this interview. Look around and you start to do stuff for people and they're going to be there when you need them. It is extremely critical that you have some kind of a support system and a support system could be one person, by the way. It doesn't have to be a team of people.

Peter: You stress in this program the importance of asking for help which, James, sounds easy and basic but it really is not.

James: No. It's even worse for men. It's funny because this started long before I created this program is I would coach because I do a lot of private coaching and have for years in many different arenas, peak performance coaching, but I would always ask, do you ask for what you want. The ultimate, again scientific term, stupidity is expecting people to read your mind. The great illusion of mind reading means that someone should know you have a birthday or somebody should know that you want something.

This happens in relationships all the time, and then people get upset and go I don't understand why somebody didn't compliment me or they didn't give me something or they didn't give me a present or they didn't return a phone... whatever it is. Here's the big thing - you teach people how to treat you. That statement should be branded somewhere because you teach people how to treat you. When you get rid of the ego, which means "I can do this. I'm the great American frontiers woman or frontiers man as I should be able..."

Well, that doesn't work anymore. It worked then. It doesn't work now. So even the nurses said 'ask for what you want. We will give you pain medication if you need it, but if you need it more, ask.' Ask for anything you want for your healing because that's becoming a partner in your healing. That's becoming accountable for your own healing. So it's extremely important.

The other side of that is be grateful. There have been studies on gratefulness. Gratefulness changes the channel in our mind, it changes our brain chemistry, it changes our attitude. I always give this assignment to every private client I have is before you go to bed write down five things for which you are grateful. Boom. What does it take? Seven seconds. Get up in the morning, look at the list, circle one, five seconds. It changes your attitude before you go to sleep and it starts your day on a positive note and that changes you. We're a biological mechanism to changes our brain.

Peter: I think that's some really cool advice because it's so easy to do and like you said, it could have an affect on your entire day just by doing that one simple act in the morning.

James: And being grateful to your nurses, to your doctor, to your surgeon. I want to say "Well all this program helped me through the surgery." Well the bottom line is I had great medical care. I was grateful from the time I got in. I'm grateful for my wife. I don't have an issue with that and I don't have an issue for asking for what I want. I don't over burden that. I don't tax people but hey, if I need something what's the worst that could happen? The worst that can happen is someone says no. And that's the key to risk taking.

What's the worst that could happen and are you willing to have it happen? That's the question that is the reality in liner. It brings everything in perspective is what is the risk I need to take in life? Anything, any arena and if it doesn't work out, what's the worst that can happen?

Peter: I think if you approach almost any task with that in your mind you realize that the worst that can happen really isn't all that bad so why not take the risk because it may work out the way you envisioned that it's going to work out. Now, especially James, and I see this so much in these large corporations that I work for that they're totally risk adverse right now. No one wants to take a chance on anything. They're kind of hunkered down and the economy is not great and we just need to get through this next 6 months and when things improve then we'll take some risks again, and I just think that's the wrong way of approaching.

James: Absolutely. I spoke in Chicago to a very large group and I bridged three different breakout sessions. I created three breakout sessions and did an hour between each one. What the president of the company wanted was for their employees to take ownership, to be accountable, to take action, succeed or fail. They're brilliant people. So the teams went off and they came back with all these ideas and he was just looking at me and shaking his head because everyone came up with brilliant ideas but no one said "I'll do it. I'll take the chance." At the end of the day he said "I don't understand how to get people to do this."

Another thing that you said that's really important is I think your listeners need to understand the difference between imagination and creativity because what you said is when we project in the future taking a risk, our biological self, our DNA, our primitive brain looks at the worst case scenario. No one has to work at seeing a negative image but you do have to be proactive to be able to learn what's called to reframe your thinking. Stop it and then change your thinking.

Imagination, first of all, is like a wild child. We don't ever have to work at imagining anything from the time we get up to the time we go to bed and probably in our dreams. So the imagination is always out there. Now where it is on the darkest of the dark or the lightest of the light, if you don't focus it and it's focusing your imagination, you have no control. Now the moment you focus it, you apply it, and the moment you apply it you have creativity. Because the moment you apply it, you want an outcome. The definition of creativity is either the rearrangement of the old into the new or it is coming up with something that is a product.

Now a product could be a good tennis serve. It doesn't have to be a physical product but creative acts have to result in something. So part of what the core of this pre-closed eye exercise that you do for 20 minutes twice a day before surgery and then the moment you come out of the operating room you have somebody put ear buds in, you start to listen to the next one twice a day, is it is all about the power of visual images and imaging and how that imprints the subconscious and actually affects our fear.

One of my best friends I worked with for brain surgery and she was terrified. She's English, raised in England. No one ever talked about their thinking. No one ever talked about those feelings. They felt uncomfortable about that. So when she had brain surgery she had no idea about it, and I worked with her and it was like the greatest payoff in the world. She said "I think you saved my sanity." I said "No, you saved your sanity. I just gave you the tools which I can give to anybody to do it, and it's about how positive imagery completely mutes fear...," by the way; not kind of.

Secondly, how it can reduce pain, and that's not hard either because studies show that you can reduce pain 30% to 40% and you can speed up healing. This sounds a little weird, but you can also move blood flow away from point of incision at the beginning of surgery and then bring the blood flow back after the wound has healed and that is part of the preprogram that helps the surgery go better. It helps the surgeons go better. You don't have to think about anything; you just have to program it to happen because we can control our blood pressure, our heartbeat and our blood flow.

Peter: Just through your mental ability to access that?

James: Yes. The part of this closed eye process... what you're doing when you listen to this twice a day for this 20 minutes, you just go into a deep relaxation. I guide people to do it. You listen to the suggestions. They're suggestions. They become imprinted on your subconscious. You don't have to worry about it. In this pre-program what it does is it's three stages. I call them three end results.

One is to you see yourself going into surgery calm and relaxed and that is program.

Two is to see you coming through the surgery and on your way to healing. That's programming. I don't know how to put it any other way.

Three is to project in the future, to see yourself doing something that you are passionate about and I call it living in the result, acting as if it's already done. So you're actually creating this in your mind.

For me I did two things, and all of a sudden, one was to be at the premiere of the movie that I had done at that time when I found out I had my heart surgery I just finished a movie, and I wanted to be at the premiere so I visualized myself being in the audience, what did I feel, see. That came to pass. The second thing was being at my book signing on my new book, which I'm still working on.

Peter: In a lot of your coaching practice you talk about this concept of the vision of possibility. Can you kind of explain this and how this sort of fits in to what we were just talking about?

James: Absolutely. I look at human beings as artists of restriction or artists of possibility. An artist of restrictions already put the box around their dreams. 'If only I had this or I should or I could or I need someone to give me permission.' That's restrictive thinking.

A vision of possibility to me specifically is projecting in the future and we could go to any arena with this and creating your best case scenario in relationship, in health and it's all about all this has been studies have shown that this works because it starts to put your antennae up to attract to you what you need.

You start to notice things you would never have noticed before by creating a vision of possibility, and specifically I just explained in the pre surgery and the post surgery CD is your creative vision of possibility. Going into surgery without fear, seeing yourself calm, relaxed, coming out, seeing yourself on the way to healing and then seeing yourself in the future healed, totally healed doing what you want and that's what speeds up the healing process 25%, 35% and every single person I've worked with... and I'm not making this up. I'm not even bragging because it's just mechanical, have said the doctors could not believe how quickly I healed.

Peter: Is there any research out there that's been done to substantiate attitude having a role in surgery or recovery?

James: Absolutely. I probably found about 70 studies before I made this CD and I just grabbed a couple of them here. A study was shown - and this was all done on an article called Optimistic Healing. It was done in a medical breakthrough column in the American Psychosomatic Society annual meeting, and it said optimistic women had a 14% lower risk of death from any cause after eight years than those who were more pessimistic. More cynical women had a 16% higher rate of dying than more trusting women.

Now that's in one study but you go to heart health, and it talks about optimism at the University of Rochester. Men who just believed that they had less than average chance for cardiovascular disease actually experienced a three times lower incidence of death from heart attacks and stroke. Now that's just by a belief. At John Hopkins, they discovered the people with a good attitude were half as likely to experience such sudden death or heart attack or chest pain that required surgery than those with an optimistic outlook. It goes on.

But the interesting thing is people listen to this and it sounds like magic and it isn't, because attitude affects our brain chemistry, our brain affects our physiological release of hormones from dopamine on. What you're doing is just nurturing what you have the potential to nurse. That means when I say a vision of possibility, anything that is a vision of possibility releases certain chemicals in the brain and that starts to guide us to believe that we can complete and also attract and I don't want to get too spacey about this but again, it's putting your antennae up to notice things you might not have noticed before.

Peter: James, on your website jamesmapes.com you say this program will diminish post surgery complications. We've been sort of speaking around this a little bit in this conversation, but can you be more specific about how this really works and how the kinds of things that you describe in your program will help eliminate or not eliminate but reduce the complications after surgery?

James: Forget surgery for a second and we'll talk about life. There have been so many studies done now about how negative stress affects us in every way possible. It lowers our immune system, it hurts our relationships because it alters our mood. Years ago I was able to speak to a man who created Lipitor. He did a little talk called Change or Die and he walked out and he said "If I created a drug," and they didn't know why he was there "that could save your life how many people of you would take it? If you were in crisis, if you were..."

So the entire audience hand went up of course. He said "Actually no, 90% of you wouldn't." It was stunned silence, and he went on to show that even though a statin can save our lives in many ways people either go into denial. They don't make friends with reality. They say it's not for me and by the way one of my best friends just went through this with a diabetic and say "Stop taking these pills." He said "I don't need them anymore." I've heard this case over and over with so many things.

So the reality is, is that lowering stress through any means is going to help you going into your surgery. It's going to help you heal because stress, as I said, lowers immune function as well as create a change in your blood flow, as well as it creates upset, then you upset people around you. So that all diminishes the ability to heal and that all has to do with post surgery complications.

Peter: I want to return to what you were talking about earlier when your wife fell off the horse and you took her to a nice beach. How do you eliminate pain following a procedure if you're not in the room to hypnotize somebody and take them to a beach somewhere?

James: That's a dicey word is hypnosis. We've talked about this in the past; I think it's just a silly word. Everything in life is suggestion and it's all the same thing. When you're deeply relaxed and you have input in any way, whether you're a student that relaxes before he or she reads or takes an exam... all this is about the ability to relax and have suggestion take hold. The way I've created the program is that you listen to this 20-minute exercise twice a day before a surgery and the moment you're in recovery, you have someone plug in the buds in your ears and you start to listen to the post surgery twice a day.

In addition to that, I've got suggestions on the first part of this that suggestions are so important that I ask the people to ask your surgeons and your anesthesiologist to give you specific positive suggestions during surgery. Think about this. I mentioned this at the beginning. Our subconscious never stops listening. You can hear in surgery. So what if somebody says "Oh darn that looks bad." Or "This looks like a tough surgery." There's a part of you that registers that as a suggestion, and it's just like putting doubt. Don't think of pink elephants. It puts doubt and that affects our brain chemistry which affects our body.

What I suggest is that you write out your suggestions and I give people this, have them taped to your gown or your cover as you go into surgery and ask your surgeon if he or she or the anesthesiologist or one of the nurses would repeat this three to five times during your surgery. There's no doubt that it works and not only that, now surgeons and physicians are going...

Here's another idea. Where they used to go "What are you talking about?" As a patient I would say "Just do it." Now they're cooperative. They understand that it's all about patient satisfaction.

Peter: That's really interesting. That, to me, says that this really works because if a surgeon's going to start doing this kind of positive reinforcement during surgery that means they've seen results that this really does have an effect.

James: Dr. Atweh at Bridgeport Hospital who got me to do the grand rounds has been meditating I think over 30 years and he knows this works. There was no selling him on it. The head of the cardiothoracic surgery, Dr. Elefteriades, has been one of my champions for this program is now putting together a study up there for this program to be used and do a blind study. He believes absolutely because he's witnessed this for his entire career, as 4 or 5 nurses that are my champions, they've seen it with their own eyes.

There's no question about does this work, doesn't this work; it's about the commitment to be your partner in healing and to do something that can help you in a way that's going to help everyone around you as well as your own physical self.

Peter: I know, James, that the CD has only been out for a couple of weeks, but what kind of feedback have you received to the program especially with medical professions with whom you shared the patient pre-op/post-op program?

James: I haven't really gone into a selling mode on this; however after the head of Yale New Haven Hospital cardiothoracic surgery, he listened to this and he said "I think every person should have this." He gave me a wonderful endorsement that's on my website, and the same thing at Bridgeport Hospital, and the same thing is happening in two other hospitals. I can't talk about it until I have it in black and white.

My goal is to get this out to the medical profession before I put it on Amazon. You can buy this on my website. I want the medical profession to embrace this specific program for the reasons that you have in your first CD, an entire seminar that's interactive that you can listen to with your advocates or your friends or your children, and the second two programs that you listen pre and post surgery.

It's been a wonderful ride and we're just getting in the thick of this now. This is just all happening. That's why I'm so excited, Peter, to be with you.

Peter: I'm excited to have had the opportunity to speak with you again today, James. It's always great to see you and to have you on TotalPicture Radio.

James: Thank you very much for having me.

We'd been speaking with James Mapes, the creator of the Patient Pre-Op/Post-Op Healing Therapy Program. You'll find this interview in the Big Picture Channel of TotalPicture Radio. James' website is jamesmapes.com. This is Peter Clayton. You can follow me on Twitter @peterclayton. Join my network on LinkedIn. I'm always happy to connect with TotalPicture Radio listeners. Subscribe to our newsletter on totalpicture.com and subscribe to TotalPicture Radio on iTunes.

Weekend Inspiration - The Charge by Brendon Burchard


Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive

Published on February 15 2013
The Charge Brendon BurchardThe Charge

Hi this is Peter Clayton. We're trying something new here a TPR - I'm calling it Weekend Inspiration - a short podcast you'll find every Friday Afternoon on TotalPicture Radio. And unlike the interview format you're used to hearing - it will be just me talking!

We receive a lot of review copies of business books here at TotalPicture Radio. And, occasionally, we find books I feel are exceptional, that you - the listeners of this show - will benefit from, and should know about. Some will be best-sellers that you've probably heard about, seen in a bookstore or library - and some not. However, the books I'll be discussing I've learned from, and have inspired me to take action.

If you've read and exceptional business book recently I would really appreciate your sharing the title with me - send me a Tweet @peterclayton, or email peter at totalpicture.com. Also please use the discussion form below to let me know if you like the 'Weekend Inspiration' idea and if you found this podcast - well inspiring!

Featured today: The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive by Brendon Burchard published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster.


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