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Well, I would like to welcome everybody to the LeaderGov podcast. And thank you for participating and being a part of this podcast today. With myself, I'm Bill Stark, and I'm one of the cofounders of leader. Gov along with my partner, Tim Fenbert. And we love, love, love providing resources and insights and help to leaders all across the country as it relates to how they can better lead their teams lead their organizations create better communities for citizens. And so we're really grateful that you're here today. We have a wonderful guest with us today. Tim Fischer. He is president of Jackson Coker, which is a healthcare related firm here in Georgia. And a really great topic. You know, whether you're in county government or city government, or just an individual, we, we, it's important that we start with at the beginning, which is purpose, purpose, and vision and mission. Why are we here? What are we doing? Where are we headed? What's our purpose? And so, Tim, it is great to have you with us today. Welcome. And thank you for spending some time with us. Thank you for having me. Yeah, you bet. For everyone listening to I just want to talk a little bit about Tim. And then we'll jump into this topic of purpose and mission. Tim is the president of Jackson Coker. And he really has a great passion and enjoys helping others achieve more than they thought possible. So definitely invest in other people. He's got 30 years experience in the staffing industry, proven track record of successful leadership and a really an understanding of how to impact other people's lives, and drive results for his organizations that he serves. Tim is definitely known for his personal touch, remembering names and stories of the different people he encounters in his work and infusing AI, which is awesome to hear motional intelligence into the business's overall strategy. In fact, I'd like to ask you about that. I like the way that rings before joining a Jackson Coker, Tim served as president of medical doctor associates and held leadership roles at RCG Global Services and ion systems. So Tim, his background is essentially in private industry. So here we are talking to local government leaders. And I was so Tim, I was so enthusiastic about this emphasis that you have on purpose and vision and mission. I thought our local government leaders have got to hear this message. And as it turns out, you have a little bit of a connection to local government, because in your role there at Jackson Coker, you help find and place doctors in health care organizations, and in some cases, county owned and county run hospitals. Is that right?
Yeah, that's right. Yeah, as we all know, there's a shortage of physicians in the United States just overall in general. But, you know, the statistics are kind of staggering the number of physicians that are lacking in certain specialties, for sure, but I'm from a small town in rural Illinois. And when people graduate from med school, they don't want to go to that small town. You know, the doctors typically go to cities and a lot of the rural communities specifically, are are struggling around the country to find doctors. So we, we help them do that. They don't work for us. They're 1099 employees, but we partner communities and providers, so of physicians and advanced practitioners. And then our mission is to transform lives by doing that.
Yeah, well, I did want to say just at the very onset here, if anyone listening I know we have a number of counties and larger cities that listen to our podcasts and if you all are involved in health care services for your community, and you need physicians and other folks into your organizations, your health care organizations. Jackson cookers are really great could be a great resource to help you find those people. Also, Tim, I know from your bio that You graduated from Culver Stockton college and then you went to the United States Air Force Academy. Did you play basketball there? Because I know you are. You're you're part of are inducted in the Illinois, high school basketball hall of fame. So I'm curious, did you play basketball at at the Air Force?
I did. I did. As those of you that are familiar with West Point, Annapolis in the Air Force Academy, no, sports is third on that list of your daily focus. It's academics in the military, and then playing sports was definitely the third priority. But I did play basketball there. Yes.
Yeah, I'm sure you got to see. See quite a bit of life in that in that time. And you're growing up.
I grew up fast.
Hey, this topic, Tim, have a purpose and mission and vision. We at leader gov. You know, we actually work with cities and counties, and we help write strategic plans. And this is one of the first things that we do is okay, who are we? Where are we going? What's that? Three, five, tenure. The big Where are we going? And it seems like it can be kind of a nebulous thing. It can be kind of like Gooey, gooey, like what vision purpose, what are we talking about? You know, we're supposed to just show up and go to work every day. Right? What's this purpose business about? So again, love this topic. I wanted to just ask you, I guess in general, if even one back a little bit more, what is your organization's purpose and mission? And how do you connect to it every day? How do the people that are on your team connect to your organization's purpose?
Yeah, well, let me let me give you a little context bill for for the reason why it's so important to me when I've been here a little over three years. And when I came here, I did one on one meetings with all 200 At the time is 250 plus, associates that work for us, work with us. And I one of the questions that I asked those, every every one of those people was, Hey, what is our mission and purpose? And nobody could answer it. Yet, it was pasted all over the walls around the building. So it wasn't personal to people in it, it was not something that they were driven by, it was something that we hung on the walls and said we had a mission and purpose. And I I agree with what you said, I think a lot of companies unfortunately, in organizations, they have them on the wall, but nobody knows what they are. So we changed them. And we said, let's come up with something that really resonates with our, our people who work here, because we are in a mission driven organization. I mean, what we do, moving doctors around the United States to see patients really does matter. I mean, it's not something that we're we're, you know, struggling to come up with a mission. And that's, that's something that we are transforming lives on a daily basis. So our mission statement is to connect providers and communities to transform lives. And we feel that we transform lives by connecting providers with communities that need them. And to your point, we do a lot of business with county governments, specifically in the in the area of behavioral health, which has become a you know, even more of an increasing problem in the US. So that's our mission. Our purpose is our why is because we believe everyone deserves compassion and care. It doesn't matter where you're from, doesn't matter what you look like, doesn't matter what you're who you voted for. We believe everyone in this country deserves compassion and care. And that is our why when we come to work, and it's funny, I have this little I have this little plaque on my desk, but every literally every person in our company has a plaque on their desk, and it has our what, which is our mission, our why which is our purpose. And then it has a third question, where do I fit in? And that's a key component. Because when I got here, a lot of people said they were low level employees. And I said, What does that mean? I don't I don't know what that means a low level employee. So it was obvious that we really needed to focus on where each person fits in because if each person doesn't do their job with excellence, the doctors don't get to the facility. So it's it's what, why and where do I fit in? Well, I love
that last piece because that connects it to me, right and everyone wants to be connected to the purpose so can you get Need an example of someone in accounting or somebody and administration, whatever? What would be like an example of how they fit or connect to the purpose?
Yeah, we have. So we have every every one of our Associates has to go through this exercise. And I approved there, where do I fit in statement and the so I see them all. But what's funny is a lot of times the first time they do it, they write it, they write an essay. And I said, this is something where if I bump into you in the elevator, you need and I say, hey, what's what's your where do I fit in statement, you need to just roll it needs to roll off your tongue, and it needs to be one sentence. So mine, my where do I fit in statement in my role, is to inspire our associates to remain fully engaged in our mission and purpose? What a unique concept. I think that is my my role. So someone in accounting who's, you know, focused in AR AP, it could be to help the company collect the money that it's owed, so that we can, you know, sustain our business. I mean, it really, it I don't lead the witness at all. I tell them, it has to be meaningful and purposeful, to them. And then, but it has to be short and succinct. That's the key. Yeah. Wow, what
a great, what a great addition, you know, in our work with these cities and counties, we so often are concerned about how do we perpetuate these concepts? Right, it's like you say, it's oftentimes just a poster in the hallway. And so for you to take that third step and ask individuals, how do you personalize it, make it your own own it? I think it's a really a terrific idea. A lot of our listeners can can steal that good idea. And then of course, having it on your desk or your cubicle posted up, what a what a great way to kind of keep it front and center.
Well, when people don't feel like they're important. That that's not good. And, you know, when I when I heard over, I heard over 10 of our people tell me that they were a low level employee. I'm like that. First of all, that's not true. Because I would say, well, so if you don't come to work tomorrow, what happens? And they would think about it, and they would say, well, a lot of bad things would happen if I don't come to work, because a lot of people rely on me for my role. So that's when that's when I said, let's take this one step further, and not just talk about our mission and purpose. Let's talk about where I fit in.
Yeah, and I was gonna ask you kind of while we're talking about the individual, not so much the overall organization, we'll just kind of ask you about the employees. And I was thinking the other day, Tim, in the current world we live in, where there's a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety seems maybe more than ever, perhaps more mental illness, more depression, more anxiety. In our society today, people bring that to work. And I just wonder, you know, how, wow, how important is this idea of purpose, mission? And where do I fit in? With the individual with individual employees, that gives them a kind of a sense of belonging? Do you find that to be true?
Absolutely. We talked about that all the time. We, we want people to be able to bring their full selves to work every day. And that's the term we use. And we do that by making it meaningful work. And, you know, we said we can't control the whole world, we can't control what's outside this building. But within the building, it can be a safe haven where people can come, be themselves, be vulnerable, have psychological safety. And when they are struggling, have conversations with their leaders, where we can help them. And I mean, that's, I think everybody wants to do that. But you have to you have to have a culture where people are comfortable. Again, it's like hanging things on the wall as opposed to internalizing them. There's a big difference between that. So the culture has to be such that people feel comfortable having conversations that they wanted to always have at work.
How I wanted to ask you, how did you all actually develop your purpose and mission statements? Was it a collective effort? Was it the leadership team was did you get various people from various departments to pitch in ideas? What was that process like because we see a lot of variation in that and I'm just curious how you all kind of pulled it all together.
Well, you Going back to when I got here, nobody really could articulate what it was. So I made a run at it myself from the information, the questions that I gathered from the all of our employees. And it kept coming out that that's what we do we connect providers and communities. And what are we trying to do by doing that we want to transform lives. So it kind of it was a result of meeting with each of our associates and asking questions. And then I ran it by the leadership team, of course, and they loved it. So it actually came together pretty organically. And it was pretty easy.
You know, that, that reminds me and I would, I would note this for all of the leaders listening to this podcast that number one, let's listen to our teams, listen to the folks on our team. That's step one, which is what you just said number two, you kind of then went out on a little bit of a lamb. You know, based on what you heard, you developed what you felt represented what they were saying. And that's really part of leadership is getting out there and putting something forth. That hasn't been done before. Little risky. That's number two. And I really liked that. And then the third thing you said, which I appreciate it is you ran it by your team to be sure you weren't crazy. And I guess there were some consensus there. So I really liked the process that you went through to develop that. Thank you.
Yeah, you always want to look over your shoulder and make sure your team is still with you. And I have found in my career, and when I was not leaving the company, I was always surprised when new leadership would come in whether it was an acquisition or just a new leader coming in to lead the team. And they wanted to ask questions. And I felt like you know, I've been here for a while and you haven't been here at all. And you're coming in and telling me what your agenda is, without listening. That never made sense to me. So when I told my assistant that I was going to have one on one meetings for 3045 minutes, but 257 Associates, and I wasn't going to make any decisions. Before I met with every single person that work here, she thought I was nuts. And halfway through those conversations, I thought I was nuts. Because it was it was a lot I filled four notebooks full of notes. But by the end of those conversations, it was pretty obvious what our mission and purpose was.
Yeah, this is a slightly off topic or off kind of what I was planning to ask you, but it just occurs to me to, I think this might be helpful for some of the leaders listening is how do you keep the purpose and the mission? Front and center? How do you keep it relevant, fresh, visible? I mean, we we sometimes ask local government leaders, hey, this is something you need to talk about every week in your staff meetings. And because we want to, like I said, we want to perpetuate these concepts, not let them grow stale. And so any thoughts? In your experience? How do you how do you keep these kinds of things fresh and vibrant?
Well, you I mean, you just answered it, it has to be front and center all the time. And, again, my where do I fit in statement is to inspire and motivate our associates to remain fully engaged in a mission and purpose. So that is my job. And I'm communicating what our mission and purpose is all the time, probably on a daily basis. I send videos out our companies large enough now that I you know, we can't pull everybody in a room and, and get everybody together at a moment's notice. But I send videos out and I talked about stories of where we are transforming lives, and celebrating victories. And, you know, when we have our kickoff meeting annually, that's front and center, our mission and purpose. So it has to be something that you don't just roll out and forget about it has to be a continual communication effort to keep it front and center.
Yeah, I wanted to ask you too, about accountability. How or do you even have to worry about this? It's like, okay, we want to celebrate. When it happens. Well, when we see our mission and our purpose lived out and changing people's lives, so that celebration, and that's positive, but sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we need to work on a couple of things, where we're not hitting the mark. Do you have to how do you do that? How do you, you know, encourage employees to sort of get back On track in terms of purpose and mission, is that something that you even have to worry about? Or? Or how, how do you do that? Yeah,
yeah, absolutely. And but I think, I don't know about you, but I learned more by failing than I do by winning. And I wish I wasn't like that. But I think a lot of people learn. So when we, when we fail at our mission, and when we don't connect a provider and a community, we talk about how, you know, there are lives at those facilities that are impacted by it by the fact that we, we did something wrong. And so we do a lessons learned, we, and that's where the psychological safety comes in as long as long as people are trying and their hearts are in the right place. And of course, we need to get results. I mean, we are a for profit business. But but a lot of times, it's good to dissect what happens, so that it didn't transpire the way we wanted it to. And we learned more from that than I do. I think we do by winning. Yeah. We just say fail fast and fail forward.
Right? Yeah. Great, great advice. I think so often, again, we we come up with these great slogans and purpose statements, and so forth. And when we don't hit the mark, we need some type of mechanism to have a discussion, you know, a frank, honest debrief on on what happened and how it affected how our purpose and our mission were affected by that falling short failure, whatever you want to call it. But you're right, we have to have a trusting environment. For that to be a really rich conversation,
you do and you have to, you have to hire. The profile of people that you hire to your organization has to fit the mission and purpose, because I'm assuming everyone that works here, it's important to them. Because that is a big part of our hiring process. If you don't integrate your mission and purpose into your hiring profile, and your hiring process up process, then you are going to have surprises because you're gonna have people that say, I don't really care about that stuff. I'm just here to pick up a paycheck. And so that's why it has to go all the way up to the hiring. But when when you're hiring the right kind of people, and they they are passionate about your mission and purpose, then your assumption is that they want to attain the mission and purpose. And when we fail as an organization, then, you know, you're you're fixing it from a standpoint of the the it's important to them, how do we get better at it? That's very different than I don't really care about it.
Right? Yeah. So you bring up hiring. And I would love for you just to illuminate that for a minute. Kind of kind of go down that rabbit hole just for a moment, as it relates to hiring to purpose, and mission. What a great idea. We've heard statistics, of course, on hiring for motivation, and willingness and adaptability. And you can teach the skills but let's let's get those core things. Right. So when you're going through a job interview process with someone and I'm just thinking of like a public works, director of finance community development director, you know, they're bringing on someone new in their organization. And let's say they have a purpose, you know, they have a clear mission for their department. How do you how do you align those two things? How do we test? How do we what do we ask the candidate to ensure that we're getting someone that kind of leans in that direction?
Yeah, I think the first thing that I've I've realized, especially recently, and when you're talking Alpharetta, Georgia, I mean, the unemployment rate here is so small, that it's very hard to find people in general. So, I, you know, I always use the same availability is not a skill set. And we have to be very careful that you're not desperate. Because if you're desperate, then you're gonna have hire people who do not fit your mission and purpose and that slowly will erode your your emphasis on the mission and purpose. So you know, we that you have to have a mindset first of all, have I'm not desperate and I'm not going to just hire because I have an open job and I have to fill it. So that's where it starts. Mindset is where it starts, but you We have a process in place, and our talent acquisition team is fantastic. And the woman who leads that team is as passionate about our mission and purpose as anybody in our building. So that helps. They don't get by her. Unless she feels like, hey, they fit here. And they truly believe that our mission and purpose is something that resonates with them. And then, of course, as they go through the interviews, they meet with other people in the organization, we put them through the SDI, you know, the, the not training, but the the test to kind of see how you know, what motivates them. And we do a lot of different things to, to make sure that they fit here. And honestly, some of the magic in that comes from our talent acquisition team who, as I said, they live and breathe our mission and purpose more than anybody. So that's a key, you know, again, our hiring, if you have people that are hiring, or leading the process of finding people to fit your team, and they're not passionate about the mission and purpose, it's not going to work.
Yeah. Yeah, what a what a critical, critical place, hiring for culture, and then train them in the skills, maybe the technical skills, job skills, but that cultural fit, and I think, I think you're right, Tim, so often, maybe, I think more so in local government, where the salaries are sometimes lower than private industry salaries, we do tend to sort of hire the the whoever's available, the first one in the door. And that's not that's a broad generalization. But just the encouragement in this podcast today to leaders listening is think of questions. How can we frame up conversations to see and understand that this person has the kind of beliefs and approach to life, to our purpose into our mission? Does it resonate? Does it does it hit home for them? And maybe just asking them, you know, to read it, and in Ask, ask the candidate? What does this mean to you? You know, how do you what do you think about it? Is that does that make sense?
It does. And and I think it starts with with the leadership. I mean, I think as the leader, or the leader of the organization, it starts with you. And if it if it isn't truly part of your DNA, then people will tell. And it's it is a mindset, though, because I think because the unemployment rate is so low in so many parts of the country, that people are desperate to fill the position, instead of desperate to fill the position with the right person, and there is a difference, and I get it, it may take you six months longer. But to me six months longer to find the right person is worth it. Because six years from now, you will pay if you don't find the right person.
Yeah, let last question I want to ask you, maybe it's maybe it's the obvious question, but what what are the benefits of having a focus on mission and purpose? Again, we have leaders listening to this podcast to or just, you know, heads down, getting great stuff done in a community could be a sheriff, a police chief, a lieutenant. And you know, they've got these day to day things they've got to get done. They're busy, they're focused on what maybe we would call management things, and what what's the benefit of having this higher calling and being connected to this higher calling?
I think when people have passion around the mission and purpose of the organization, they are more engaged, they do a better job. Because they're passionate about it, it's not, you know, there's a difference between picking up a check. And just going through the motions, versus feeling like you are building something, and that you're part of something bigger than yourself. And I do feel like COVID changed the landscape a little bit. I think there's a lot more. There's a lot more people out there who are driven by wanting to make a difference in the world, as opposed to just making a buck. And of course, we all have to provide for our families. But the people that we've talked to, I feel like there's a lot more, hey, I want to make a difference in the world. I want to do something that matters. And when you have that, they're they're better at what they do. And that benefits everybody. Yeah,
well, I think particularly to the millennials, and Gen Z the even the younger generation, they are very oriented in that way. So if we can tap into that and make that a an important part of the organization all the better. You This has been great, thank you so much, Tim for sort of illuminating. I think some very practical points on this, this, this topic, again, as I started in the very beginning, we, when we do this in strategic planning it, it tends to get a little bit of rote kind of process, you know, and but it should be in it is, can be a very personal thing for people, I want to just encourage our listeners, again, if you are connected with a behavioral health department in your county, or city or hospital, if you if you run a hospital or health department like that, and you are in need of caregivers, really would encourage you to reach out to Jackson and Coker. Their website is Jackson and coker.com. And they provide a very valuable resource and service. So definitely encourage that. And also, Tim does a fair amount of public speaking, retreats, conferences, things of this nature, and around a number of different leadership topics. And if you need a good speaker to come in, and maybe for your annual off site retreat, that sort of thing, really would encourage you to reach out to Tim, at Jackson and coker.com. Any final thoughts as we kind of wrap up here, Tim, just to wrap up idea?
Yeah, I appreciate it. Bill. I, I appreciate you having me on. And I think just a final thought I you know, unfortunately, we live in a world where common sense has become uncommon. And everything that I just talked about is really common sense. But why don't people do it? It amazes me how how few organizations really focus on culture, mission, purpose, and then taking it down to the individual level, helping people understand and articulate where they fit in. So it's all common sense. But unfortunately, as you said earlier, everybody gets busy. But you can't be so busy that you don't focus on this, because eventually, it will cause problems.
Yeah, and I'll make an offer to everyone listening. I may regret this. I don't know, Tim, if you have a question about purpose, or mission or don't know how to get started, but you know, you want to do it, you know, it's important, but you're just not sure how to take that first step, just call me or email me, Bill at leader gov.com. And I would be very happy to have a conversation with you and kind of get the wheel spinning in the right direction. This is such an important topic. And I think as you said, Tim kind of transformed the overall culture of your city or county. So thank you again, Tim, for being with us today. It's been great chatting with you. Thank you. Yeah, if any of our listeners have a topic you would like to hear discussed on these podcasts. Please reach out to us and let us know. We hope you have a great day and thank you for being with us.