The Buck Stops Here


The saying "the buck stops here" derives from the slang expression "pass the buck" which means passing the responsibility on to someone else. President Harry Truman used this term on a number of occasions in making the point that he as the President of the United States could not pass the buck onto someone else when it came to critical decision making in front of him.  Click here to read more on that.

When I took over the role of Chief Executive Officer of the Johnson Health Center back in 2014, I knew that I would be in the position to make the final call on certain things. Now, this is not to compare in any way the position of an executive leader of a health center or any other entity for that matter to the President of the United States of America. But it is to say that once you land a role where, in most cases, you have the ultimate decision making authority, it is not as easy as it sounds.

I was speaking to a new, but very capable, CEO this past week and he commented to me that his excitement was mixed with a certain degree of uncertainty because he was drinking from the proverbial firehose with no instruction manual. I remember that being me just a few years ago which is why I am penning a short read on how to thrive as a new executive – a manifesto if you will. Stay tuned for this one!

As our conversation went on, I calmly told him that most of his decisions would be people based. No matter how great your team is or if you have been recognized as an employer of choice or great place to work, decisions around people will sometimes challenge you. The key to success here is to understand you must apply situational leadership to all of it.

In early 2002, I participated in situational leadership training and it was some of the best leadership training I ever received. The Situational Leadership Model, is a model created by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard and promotes that the most successful leaders are those who adapt their leadership style to the performance readiness (ability and willingness) of the individual or group they are attempting to lead or influence.

In other words, those who can adapt to different personalities and styles will be the most effective. Not everyone understands this and that is where the challenges typically occur.

When it comes to how you treat people, make no mistake about it, this is how you will be measured when it comes to making an impact, owning your destiny and leaving a legacy. Respect and care must be foundational and consistent to create a positive workplace culture. However, this does not mean you have to treat everyone the same. You simply cannot apply a broad brush to every single occupation and person at your organization. It depends on the situation and this is how you apply the theories of situational leadership. Many managers and some leaders I have worked with over time have focused on treating everyone the same regardless and I have watched them struggle, some throughout their entire careers, never moving any further than where they started.

As the CEO or any leadership role where ultimate decision making lands, this is where the buck stops. This is the position that looks across the organizational spectrum and takes it all in because any decision at this level is going to impact other areas. In the case of people or a group of people, you have to look at the big picture and situation. The more you have invested in them, the more you will need to flex your situational muscle.

My advice for my new CEO colleague was to remember that one size does not fit all and he will have to defend his decision making from time-to-time. You must always ask, “does the decision I am about to make serve the best interest of the organization?” You can apply this to anything, personal, professional or otherwise. If yes, then proceed on and map out the process. If you are not sure or the answer is no, move on quickly.

There are too many examples for me to list here but as the ultimate decision maker, you own things like the culture, reputation, credibility, financial health, relationships, and recruitment and retention of talent - yes especially at this level (in the healthcare space, this means providers, nurses and other skilled areas where shortages are the norm). How you apply your situational decision making skills will determine how successful and “Impactful” you and the organization will ultimately be and it’s not always as easy as it sounds so just make sure you are prepared. Also know that you will not please everyone, including members of your leadership team. I always say that healthy conflict is good as long as you can articulate your position as an advantage to the organization.

After all, you want the buck to stop with you otherwise you wouldn’t have taken on this nice challenge or be thinking about it for the future if not there yet. Be impactful and go forward in confidence!

To your Impact,

Gary Campbell

Passion, Pain and Patience 


“The pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow”. While the author is unknown, it is a widely used statement that gets built into other quotes, inspires motivational writings and is printed on the wall in my home gym. 

When I started weight training in my mid-teens, I was not concerned so much about the pain of the day as I was about seeing how much weight I would lift and how big my muscles could get. In other words, I had no real plan and it certainly was not my passion. 

As I got older, I realized that the human body was not made for all things I was putting it through. I also learned I was developing a passion for being fit however it is tough to be fit when the pain you are inflicting on yourself has no direction and sometimes damaging results. 

It became frustrating as the pain I was feeling at this point was not oriented to any strength I would feel the next day. 

I needed a framework for my growing passion around fitness and leadership or I feared I would just give up. 

After a few injuries that required surgery to repair, my passion to remain fit became more focused with long-term thinking at the core. No longer was the drive to see how much weight I could lift or how big my muscles would be but rather how to position myself to enjoy life through being truly healthy and inspiring others to pursue the same. I also learned that taking on increased responsibilities as a leader would require me to have the endurance, both mentally and physically, to meet the demands of every day. 

At Johnson Health Center (JHC) where I serve as their Chief Executive Officer (CEO), there is parallel here. As an organization, we are clearly passionate about the patients we serve, the work we do and those we do it with. At the same time, we spent more time focused on the pain and reactions of the day than on what we could look like a few years from now. 

Our mission is to improve access to health care for all and we got intentional about this almost five years ago. We did it by leveraging our passion for the mission and knowing it would be painful at times. We also understood we would need to be patient throughout the process as this was the only way to stay the course and be successful. We were laying out our framework. 

As the CEO, there were times I had to assess my own patience level because anyone who knows me knows I like to push the envelope on what’s next. Thankfully, my style affords me the ability to take a pause at times and bring others into the decision making process. This is why teamwork is one of the five core values at JHC and I am thankful for that. 

In 2018, we saw more patients than at any time in our twenty-year history. We did this while bringing up multiple new sites and staff. Passion and pain were now colliding as you can imagine however the patience we had practiced over the last five years was now on display and helped us through the usual growing pains of nearly doubling your practice. 

Whether you are an organization doing what we are doing or an individual looking to grow and take on more; know that you need a framework and a plan. Know that patience must be part of the equation. Know that you will endure a certain amount of pain while pursuing your passion, that’s the way it is. 

Finally, don’t ever give up. If you do it right, the pain you feel today will be the strength you feel tomorrow. I know that Johnson Health Center is operating from a position of strength and providing excellent care to all of our patients and opportunities for our amazing staff.

To your impact,

Gary Campbell

Responding to Change – A Personal Reflection


“The path to influence is easy when the current is smooth, the sky is blue and the coast is clear. To lead with inspiration when the waters are rough, the storm is bearing down and you can’t see what’s next, this is what reveals character”.

I have never been one to sit back and do a deep reflection at the end of any year so when the media outlets and others list their top ten happenings of a year coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that much to me.

I am usually the same way in my personal and professional life. I enjoy the good things achieved and try and learn from things that may not have gone as well as planned. Whatever they are, I am not reflecting on it in late December, at least not until this year.

This past year was a very good year for me as the CEO of Johnson Health Center where we continued to build our organization around the core values we live each and every day on the way to seeing the greatest number of patients in our history.

At Impact2Lead, I also had my most successful year as the type of leadership I subscribe to and teach has become more of a demand as leaders, shareholders, and board of directors seek to transform their cultures and leverage the competitive advantage of an inspired and engaged workforce.

Yes, when the current is smooth and the coast is clear, things always feel good and makes it easy to inspire and influence because the cup feels pretty full. That is, until it’s not.

On April 20, I accompanied my best friend and wife, Kena, to the University of Virginia where she would undergo a relatively complex yet common procedure to remove a cyst on her lone remaining ovary. We had made plans to stay in Charlottesville overnight and enjoy dinner before making the drive back on the next day.

Earlier in the year I had spoken on leading change and then built a workshop around it as it became a popular request at Impact. As human beings, we are not wired to embrace change we cannot control with the biggest obstacle to overcome being fear. My role as a speaker and consultant is to help others understand the dynamics in play and provide a framework for managing it.

When the doctor came to see me post-surgery, I sensed something was not exactly right as she called me into a private room. The conversation that took place in that room is the type none of us want to have and will be forever etched in my memory. You see, I learned that during the surgery, they discovered Kena had a very rare form of ovarian cancer – stage 3. The world around me was about to change – quickly.

So yes, 2018 has been a year of change, transition, transformation, and now reflection. Kena completed a grueling 19-week chemotherapy regimen in October which took a physical toll on her and a mental toll on those who love her.

Throughout the process, it was never why me but rather why not me?

There were a lot of tears early on as we tried to process this, more me than her and thankfully her positive outlook helped me through the change process. It helped me examine what change really looks like and how responding vs. reacting is really the driver of a successful transition.

This has helped me as I have now experienced a dramatic change from the other side, one I could not control. It will help me be a better leader and mentor, friend, parent, and spouse as I move into 2019.

Wherever you are heading in 2019, know that change happens constantly. Some of it is gradual and some of it hits all at once. Know that your personal handling of the change will impact how others adapt and as long as you take the fear out by approaching it in a positive fashion, you will be successful – even if the change is you. Also know that everyone responds or reacts differently and the key is to listen to them and don’t dismiss their perception of the change.

For now, Kena’s numbers are stable and good – our Christian faith is strong that healing is here to stay. At the same time, we are prepared as the journey will be a bit unpredictable and life as we knew it has changed. This has presented us a powerful and impactful opportunity to share with others how responding to change is all in your attitude and approach.

I look forward to seeing you all during my travels in 2019 and pray it will be a most “Impactful” journey for you. I already know it will be for me and I am looking forward to see what I learn next.

Happy New Year!

Gary Campbell

Communications 2.0


I recently reviewed the results of the latest Johnson Health Center’s (JHC) employee satisfaction/engagement survey and, like just about every other survey I have ever been involved with, communication was at the top for things we could improve on. 

59% of our employees chose to take the time and invest in our relentless pursuit to improve on the great culture we have built on the way to becoming an Employer of Choice. 

According to Albert Mehrabian (Mehrabian & Wiener, 1967 and Mehrabian & Ferris, 1967), he used two studies to determine that communication could be divided into three categories and ranked them in terms of relevance; body language – 55%, tone of voice – 38% and actual words spoken – 7%. Click here to read more on this. 

There is much more to the studies and how we interpret them however one thing is certain, how we communicate, how we perceive communications and what we expect as it relates to communications can be rather complex. 

In 2014 when we conducted our last survey of this type, communication was a primary area of focus then as well. We worked hard on this by inviting feedback and input from staff (we will do the same again!). As a result, the intranet, JHC Connect became a hub of information share; the JHC Connector newsletter was born, the Patient Centered Medical Home model became more team centric and communication focused, and data integrity became more than a laughing joke. 

During this time, I was also in the middle of two kids in college and living at home with a social calendar that I didn’t always understand or agree with. I remember thinking, how can I deploy the things we are doing at JHC so they work at home? 

What I learned then that still holds true today, communication is a two-way street. They say silence is golden but I disagree if you want communication to be successful. Bi-directional communication is a necessity for success on any level. It takes a sincere heart and an ear for listening more so than talking. 

My evolution of learning at home is similar to the way I approach my work, if I don’t understand what is happening or I am not learning of things until after they happen, I ask and I try my best to ask in a manner that breeds genuine positivity with the intention to learn. 

As we prepare for communication improvement 2.0 at Johnson Health Center, I am encouraging humble and empathetic participation and contribution. I have also ask them to apply the “what can I do” approach to make sure any stumbling blocks to communications are overcome. 

If you are working on improving communications in your world, go about it the same way; listen, be humble and empathetic and apply positivity on every exchange. 

Let’s model the way at work, the community and at home. I guarantee you will reap the benefits both personally and professionally. You will be “Impactful”!

Your Impact, Destiny and Legacy


As I move into my fourth year as the CEO of Johnson Health Center and the President of Impact2Lead, I find myself reflecting more on what I continue to learn versus what I build and teach. I am fortunate that both organizations have enjoyed enormous growth and success not only in terms of expanded business and services but the development of people.

During a CEO Roundtable meeting I presented at in 2016, the discussion centered on these C-Suite leaders’ ability to impact performance at their organizations. It was interesting to hear the varied perceptions of impact and how each person described how their impact was being delivered. The takeaway for me that day was simply this; everyone around the table at this conference had been given responsibility for others. In other words, everyone had made some level of impact.

Over the next several months, the concept of making an impact stuck with me but it didn’t fire me up. In my mind, making an impact should just come natural for those who have a passion for making a difference in the lives of others…then it hit me.

In August of 2014, I stood in front of the entire staff of the Johnson Health Center for the first time as their interim CEO (was appointed CEO in February of 2015). The room was full of wide-eyed people who hung on every word from a guy who, from the industry standpoint, knew little to nothing about running a health center.

I calmly let them know that starting this day, we were going to make it about the employees and create the best place to work in the community. To do this, I would need all of their help. This resonated well with them and while making it about the employees certainly piqued their interest, it was the last thing I said before ending the meeting that created the buzz. I told them the future was in our hands and I challenged the staff to take ownership of our destiny, of their destiny. I closed by saying we had two choices here, either we own it or someone will own it for us.

Once I had the first two legs of this foundation in place (impact, destiny), it was only natural that I began to look ahead on the type of legacy I wanted to leave, a legacy while I was still alive.

In other words, I want to be around when my day is done to look back on what I hope has been a positive contribution to humanity and those closest to me.

That’s how I came up with the foundational components of leading a fulfilling life whether it be professionally, personally or hopefully both.

Here are some thoughts as you map out your own journey:

Making an Impact

  • Strive to positively make a difference in the life of someone else
  • Be a mentor, role model, encourager, and put others first
  • Listen with authentic intention
  • Take on projects, volunteer, offer assistance, give generously, protect and nurture your personal brand

Own Your Destiny

  • Take ownership in the role you play in life and at work
  • Be accountable for your actions
  • Control what you can control
  • Map out what your organization’s/personal destiny looks like from today's view and identify your vision to assure success right where you are and where you want to be. List the obstacles that stand in your way

Leave a Legacy

(while you are living)

  • Identify the most influential person in your life and the character traits that have inspired and led you
  • Picture yourself sitting at a celebration ceremony surrounded by family, friends and strangers who each give a testimonial on a personal interaction with you and the difference you have made in their lives
  • Envision your older self, sitting across the table from the person or persons you love the most, looking into their eyes and talking about your life. Know today how you want that conversation to go

I incorporate this teaching in my leadership development work these days. Each time the words impact, destiny and legacy come out of my mouth, it moves emotion within me. I hope it stirs emotion and commitment in you.

At Johnson Health Center and Impact2lead, my teams and I work hard to help others unleash potential. This legacy buildout in process will hopefully translate into more people achieving their own dreams.

At the beginning and end of the day, it is about helping others get along better in life. Let this be part of your legacy and know it is never too late to start making an impact and taking ownership of your destiny.

To your Impact,
Gary Campbell

Fit2Lead Part 2

In Fit2Lead Part 1, you learned the importance of living a healthy lifestyle and how it impacts your health. Fit2Lead Part 2 will be educating you on how to implement healthy habits into your lifestyle. If you are new to this series, I encourage you to start with Fit2Lead Intro then make your way to Fit2Lead Part 1 before reading on to get the full "Impact"!

So we start with a few questions;

  • How did you spend your last 24 hours?
  • What percentage of your day was spent sitting, i.e., at our desk, on the couch, at the dinner table?

Take a moment and assess the last 24 hours by considering the time spent sitting vs. walking around, going up and down steps, cleaning, etc.

It’s important to recognize the difference between physical activity and exercise.  Caspersen, Powell, and Christenson lay out the differences clearly for us in the article, “Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research”.

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure.

Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective, the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.

In layman’s terms, physical activity is an unplanned, unstructured activity such as taking the stairs, extending your walk to and from your car by parking at the far end of the lot, and cleaning the house.  Physical exercise is more structured and planned; going on a walk or run, doing resistance training, or taking a cycling class.

Here are three easy steps to implement physical activity into your day:

1. Take the longer route

We typically need to get to where we are going and fast, but if you have a few minutes to spare, try these few action items:

  • Park at the far end of the lot
  • Take an extra lap around your workstation before sitting down at your desk (this will also give you the chance to say a friendly hello to co-workers and “Impact” their day!)
  • Take breaks from your desk to fill up your water bottle or go to the bathroom, when you do, review the step above!

2. Stairs

One of my exercise physiologist professors always said, “The elevator is for the sick and the injured, you are healthy, take the steps and get healthier.”

3. Stand up more at home

Whether answering emails or chopping vegetables for dinner, opt for standing and ditch the chair. They make ergonomically designed workstations for these very situations.

While structured and planned exercise is important, physical activity (remember the definition you learned above) is as well to create that healthy lifestyle we all seek.

Next up in Fit2Lead Part 3 is Exercise: “What Type and How Much”

Here’s to an “Impactful” and healthy journey.

Written by,

Libby Perritt | EP-C

Founder of Faithfully Fit Army


Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM. Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Reports. 1985;100(2):126-131.

Fit2Lead Part 1

Fit2Lead Part 1 is the first installment to a four part series, if you haven't read the Fit2Lead intro yet, I encourage you to start there before reading on.

Remember when we were in school and shortly thereafter, all the carefree time we had to run and play, hit the gym, hike, and bike, etc.? We took some time to move around, socialize with others, and simply mix it up. We took the time to stay fit for the challenge.

Then, life gets on us. We are wired to do more, to be successful, be happy, and to live the dream – to lead. We constantly push more and more into our busy and hectic lives. We take on more and the more we take on the more we push out the things we used to do that brought us joy and balance.

One of those things is exercise and fitness. Unfortunately this gets chalked up as one of those nice to haves but easy to delete activities from our lives.

As the demand for time at home and in our careers gets more compressed, the inner workings of our hearts and minds are still driven by ambition. Most of us will lead, whether it is parenting at home or a position in the workplace. Now more than ever, it is important to be fit for the challenge. Be fit to lead!

If you are a leader in your workplace you especially need to pay close attention to this as living a healthy lifestyle will have a great impact on your ability to handle challenges. It will also impact the efficiency and quality of your employees work, their mindset and attitude, and much more.

Below are some facts of how getting healthier means working happier:

Work Productivity

Exercising keeps those eyes from becoming heavy as the day wears on and helps you accomplish your daily tasks. The key points below show how exercise will empower you to bring greater value to your employer.

  • Keeps you alert and focused making fewer errors
  • Enhances your body’s ability to transfer glucose and oxygen throughout your brain and body therefore increasing your energy level
  • Increases blood flow to the brain, which ultimately improves brain function

Mental Health

According to How Does Exercise Improve Work Productivity? by, Harvard Business Review, studies indicate that our mental firepower is directly linked to our physical regiment.

Recognize that the benefits of exercise extend beyond the physical and aesthetic appearance. Exercise impacts mental capacity by:

  • Improving memory function
  • Stress management, Medline Plus article, Exercise and Immunity states, “Exercise slows down the release of stress hormones”
  • Elevating mood and creating a more positive self-image
  • Increasing mental stamina to better handle challenges and opportunities
  • Self confidence by working through challenges and accomplishing goals

Exercise releases chemicals called endorphins, also known as “happy” chemicals in our body during and after exercise which create a feeling of euphoria.  This will help uplift your mood throughout the day which is important in the workplace especially when it comes to interacting with customers, peers, and your direct reports.

Illness Prevention

At some point, you are going pick up a bug or a cold, it is inevitable. However, you can increase your odds of good health whether it is chronic or acute illness by simply monitoring the food you use for fuel.  With proper nutrition and exercising, sickness will come less frequently and missed time will be a thing of the past. Below are some facts on how exercise and proper nutrition will help you with illness prevention:

  • Get your vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants from natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources, which help keep your body strong and healthy.
  • Wholesome fiber helps move everything along the digestive track giving you a healthy gut, which is imperative for illness prevention - shoot for around 30g/day
  • Medline Plus shares that exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells, which will circulate more rapidly, detecting illness earlier than if exercise was not a part of your routine

Becoming fit to lead is a journey, not a sprint.  It takes time, patience, and commitment to make an impact. 

Now that you have some basics on the importance of practicing a healthy and balanced lifestyle, what are you waiting for?

Next up, we will go deeper with putting physical activity in your regular day and making it part of your new routine to “Impact”.


Written by: 

Libby Perritt, EP-C

Founder of Faithfully Fit Army

Contact me with any questions you may have, !

References: (2017). Exercise and immunity: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [online] Available at: [Accessed 16 Nov. 2017].

Anon, (2017). {online} Available at: {accessed 8 Nov. 2017}.

Fit2Lead Intro


Hello Everyone!

I hope you are enjoying an "Impactful" weekend and doing something fun to recharge your batteries before heading back to the workplace next week.

You all know how passionate I am when it comes to unleashing leadership potential. I spend most of my time mentoring, coaching, speaking, and developing leaders at the health center I run in Virginia. What I am also passionate about is health and fitness and the role it plays in the passion I pursue. You see, as a leader, not only must you survive the challenges that come your way constantly, you must thrive in them. In order to thrive, you must be sharp mentally and physically…yes physically.

Why physically? Because of the mental toughness that is needed to stand tall in the pursuit of your passion to lead and/or be successful. Mental toughness requires stamina and stamina only comes from keeping yourself in shape. Now, this doesn't mean you go out and run marathons or compete in body building contests to get in shape. It means moving your body and mind to increase the oxygen flow throughout the body which promotes confidence and self-esteem.

Over the next four weeks, Libby Perritt, Exercise Physiologist-C ACSM, will be delivering some impactful tips on the benefit of getting yourself fit to lead. I am very excited about this and hope you are too!

Until then, have a most "Impactful" day!

Gary Campbell

The Why

I often ask people, “Why do you do what you do”? I continually pose this question to the employees and leadership at Johnson Health Center. I probe for answers when I speak on leadership to other organizations across the country. I am on a constant hunt to know the why that drives people…to know their purpose.  

When I started asking this question a few years back, initial responses were always scripted and clichéd if you will; in other words, not truly from the heart.

Leadership why  CEO business owner speaker impact

On September 27, I received an email from one of our Johnson Health Center employees at the front desk in Madison Heights, VA. In summary, she wanted to let me know of the amazing care the pediatric nurse practitioner and his team provided for a distraught mother who had not had success identifying what was wrong with one of her children. She told me that not only had this provider and the team pressed for a finding but upon discovering a severe issue that required surgery, had kept up with the family to track the recovery.

She wanted me to know that this incredible commitment to patient care should be recognized (we did that of course).  While this was certainly a message intended to recognize others, it was the way she closed it that said it all. “He (the provider) saved this child’s life, and this story reminded all of us that life is so precious and never take anything for granted.  This story is the ideal example of our “WHY” Why we do what we do. Why we never give up. And why we always go above and beyond”.

After reading my employee’s email, I am convinced that this group of wonderful employees at Johnson Health Center can do anything…when they know their why. I am convinced that anything is possible when you know your why.

I encourage each of you to spend some time on this. Your why will define your purpose and your purpose will drive your passion. Your passion will drive your vision which will ultimately determine your impact, destiny and legacy.

Written by: Gary Campbell 

Unleashing Your Potential

I have always been fascinated by potential, to the point it became my purpose for launching Impact2Lead in late 2013. In my mind, potential represents hope and things imagined but not yet achieved.

Merriam-Webster defines potential as existing in possibility; capable of development into actuality. I look at potential as an aspiration with a passion and enthusiasm for what has yet to be realized. Simply put, positive energy towards something big with a purpose.

When I was younger, a lot younger, I thought I knew everything and really didn’t seek out help to unleash my own potential. I lumbered through early adulthood certainly wanting more but not understanding or diving deep into what would get me there. The fact that I was blind to it was sure clear enough for the companies I worked for. Guess they assumed if I wasn’t interested then they weren’t either.

I managed to figure this out as time went on and thankfully there were a few people along the way who took a special interest in me to get me focused.

Getting focused sounds relatively straightforward however there is more to it. The process, patience, and effort needed to unleash your own potential, resides in your heart and soul. The sum of its parts must equate to a purpose geared to helping others, not simply achieving self-oriented success.

There is nothing wrong with ambition, frankly you must have it in order to unleash your potential. However, a misguided focus on ambition to simply climb the ladder, make more money, bolster the ego, be the talk of the town, see your name in lights, etc., will ultimately leave you with the empty feeling of unfilled potential. It can also be a career limiting approach in an era where the evolving workforce is demanding leaders and employers that care.

Here are some steps to help along the path to unleashing your own potential:

•       Determine what differentiates you from the rest and be precise/clear about how it can help others – be passionate

•       Build your vision statement – your purpose

•       Clearly understand the commitment needed

•       Identify your core values

•       Develop a plan of action to get where you want to be and get help

•       Determine the skills you have that match your vision

•       Cultivate those skills

•       Prepare yourself for setbacks and make certain you learn from them

•       Surround yourself with people that will make you better – avoid getting caught up in negativity at all costs

•       Exist to help others

•       Protect your personal brand

In looking back, I am grateful for those who helped me. I am grateful I did not derail myself during those times of impatience and can think the only reason I get to do what I do today is because I sincerely cared for others.

“Helping individuals and organizations unleash potential through impactful leadership” is not just a slogan under the signature line of my email, but rather a calling. Leaders that pay attention to this, will unleash more than their own potential. They will leave a legacy.

Next up; how organizations can assure they are focused on unleashing potential to drive performance and a culture of excellence.

Becoming an Employee of Choice- The Drive to Inspire

Inspiration is a powerful tool, and at Impact2Lead we like to say that inspiration is the spark of influence. An accurate picture for portraying this principle is to think of a car. When it is moving, the car will influence most anything in its path. So, if the car represents the influence we have in the lives of those around us, the inspiration is the fuel that produces the spark in the pistons, which in turn moves the car.

Put simply, if you want to be an influential member in your culture, workplace or otherwise, then you need to be driven to inspire. Think about that for just a second…

Are you driven to inspire? Do you look for opportunities in your current position, wherever that may be, to spark growth in others by seeing potential and unleashing it through inspiration?

It is a tough but important question. It is important because inspiration is becoming an increasingly important quality in the workplace to both leaders and employees everywhere.

The HOW Report, a yearly report based on the survey of 16,000 employees in 17 different countries, identified its six major findings for 2016. Number 6 speaks to the importance of inspiration by saying, “Inspiration is 27% more predictive of high performance than employee engagement.” The report goes on to say that inspired employees, “meet challenges with creativity and fidelity to purpose while forging sustainable paths to growth, humility, grit, and hope.”

The bottom line for us is this: inspired people inspire others to move forward. Inspired people are driven to inspire. They just can’t help it. They are emotionally engaged!

But what’s the takeaway for you, right where you are, right now? How can YOU be a person of inspiration where you are?

Here are three practical things you can do right now to be an inspirational Employee of Choice:

1.       Identify what inspires you so you can inspire others; you have to know the source of your own inspiration or the passion that drives this inspiration. If you find that you are not being inspired in your current position, then dig deeper. Look for the purpose behind what you are doing, i.e. why your job exists, rather than simply looking at the mundane tasks or the ordinary activities. There is always a greater purpose behind what we do, and most of the time it isn’t spelled out for us. We just gotta dig deep!

2.       Do your homework by taking the initiative in gaining a greater understanding and appreciation for what the organization does and who they help. Take a long look at the mission, the vision, and the core values then ask questions around them to help you understand how they might align with your own value system. Be a walking ambassador and inspiration to those around you. Help them to understand more deeply, and ask questions of clarification from leadership when things aren’t clear.

3.       Be a positive force and recognize the power you hold as an employee; be a force for positive change by encouraging others to do the same. This isn’t easy if the environment doesn’t lend itself to empowerment or positivity, but let your own deeply inspired personal vision be your anchor in this and every situation. Create a space outside of work to really rest and use that time to fuel what you do!

At the end of the day, realize the power you have over your own actions and let the drive to inspire be a part of your journey to make an Impact and become an “Employee of Choice”!



Impactful Gratitude

Last week I got to spend some time with my great friends, Bob Burg and Kathy Tagenel at the Go-Giver Sales Academy in Orlando, Florida. I had accompanied my wife and daughter who run K&K Worldwide Media and had enrolled in the two-day workshop as a means to help them as they implemented new strategies in their business. 

I had really planned to spend more time watching spring training baseball than anything else, but somehow got so intrigued with the program, I didn’t miss a minute myself.

As usual, it followed the Go-Giver principles built on the five laws of stratospheric success, however, this went deeper than that. There were talented people from all over the world in this session, and many of the practices and recommendations shared were so valuable. You can say a few lifelong friends were made.

So I got to meet new friends, hang with my wife and daughter at a professional conference, and see Bob and Kathy again, all in one setting. However, as special as this was, my takeaway was a simple reminder on how to live.

On the second day during an exercise on receiving, each person went around the room and gave credit and thanks for the experiences they had enjoyed over their brief time together. There were laughs, smiles and tears, yes tears. This was inspirational to me. The key to the exercise was to get people comfortable with receiving good feedback while helping the messenger deliver with comfort and courage.

At the end of it, Bob Burg made the reference to living in constant gratitude. Wow! I thought. What a simple yet impactful way to go about life. It’s not like I forget how blessed I am or forget to say thank you, but to remind me to truly live in it. Live a life of gratitude, be thankful in everything and let people see it, feel it.

This week, my travels carried me to Washington, DC and a stay at the Normandy Hotel (highly recommended if you like great service). The conference hotel was booked up so I had to handle the inconvenience of walking nearly a mile back and forth to the conference where I spoke on Becoming an Employer of Choice.

When I returned to my hotel after a very long day, I had a snack craving. Unfortunately this hotel doesn’t do snacks or have a restaurant on site.  The front team made suggestions, offered to get me a cab and even looked to see if cookies baked in the morning were still available. None were.

This did not deter me from giving complete thanks and living in gratitude. This made me feel great! I could see it made them feel great.

At 9:45 PM as I was winding down my evening, there was a knock on my door. As I opened the door, the young lady (Karimah) met me with a smile and two of the warmest chocolate chip cookies I have had in years. She simply said she knew how much I would appreciate it. I could not thank her enough!

My living in gratitude was received so well, this young emerging leader helped make my stay just a little better, and locked me in for a repeat stay next time I head to DC.

I want to thank the good folks in Orlando from the Go-Giver Sales Academy. From time-to-time we need to be reminded on what life really is all about; making an impact on others. Thank you!

- Gary Campbell



Making an Impact

In the summer of 2013 after reading a copy of Bob Burg and John David Mann’s, “The Go-Giver”, I immediately knew I could not stick to my five-year plan for launching my own leadership consultancy. I needed to do it now. I am not sure what it was about the five laws in “The Go-Giver” that inspired me so much other than its’ profound impact on my mindset to intentionally grow and develop others on a broader level.

While I will not go into each of the laws here, it is safe to say the “Law of Value” centers me in my work to provide more value than I take in payment and the “Law of Influence” drives me to abundantly put other people’s interests first.

As I went back and forth on what to call my new venture, I kept coming back to the one word that was continually on my tongue and part of every conversation; impact. Combine that with my drive to grow others through helping them unleash their own potential and it all clicked; Impact2Lead.

So here we are, at the starting line and I am so very fired up about what is coming. My goal and simple vision is “To Help Individuals and Organizations Unleash Potential through Impactful Leadership”. Join me, it is going to be a thrilling ride!

The Power of Empathy

Empathy. It is a powerful word, and yet so many of us do not truly understand its full potential. We hear terms like emotional intelligence, relationship driven culture, transformational leadership, but where would they be without empathy?

Without empathy, emotional intelligence would be reduced to self-awareness and self-management without the thought of others. Without empathy, relationship driven culture would be reduced to a self-driven culture. Without empathy, transformational leadership would be preservation leadership. We might grow inside of our personal bubble, but that would be it..

So what is the big takeaway with empathy? What do we do with it? It can be defined easily enough, but how does it apply to what we do as leaders?

Simply put, Empathy is nothing more than the ability to understand how others feel and to put ourselves in their shoes.. The application/takeaway for leaders is to approach every opportunity with an authentic desire to do the following:

  1. Acknowledge Everyone and be Present: To understand and be engaged you have to first recognize the humanity of every individual you encounter.. Remember the moments of your life that have shaped the person you are today, and the unique perspectives that you have gained. Now, apply this to the other person and the events that may have shaped their lives, and helped them develop their own unique perspective. Being present and aware lets the other person know you are engaged and truly care.
  2. Strive to gain Understanding: Acknowledgement is the launch pad to gain understanding and the real work starts here. It is easy for us to apply our own perspectives which may bog us down in details that do not matter. To truly understand, we must step outside of ourselves and do our best to view the world through the lens of that other person. This requires us to learn about one another which opens the door to our third step.
  3. Reach Out and Build Trust: Once we have acknowledged and gained understanding we can begin to share feelings and reach out to bolster relationships and build trust. Sharing feelings goes much deeper than simple validation or appeasement, it requires us to remain outside of ourselves and objectively look at the emotions of another. Both validation and appeasement take our own feelings into account, but the sharing of feelings required for empathy is only concerned with connection with that other person, whether we agree with them or not. There is no manipulation, no game playing, and individuals still have room to disagree, but we do so with the goal of establishing authentic connection.

In the Impact model, we talk about “Make it Personal”, which is the way of emphasizing the need for a relationship driven culture if we want to lead in excellence.

Making it personal is all about establishing genuine connection with others using emotional intelligence and empathy as its cornerstone for social awareness and healthy relationship management.

It is imperative that as leaders we truly make the effort to understand the importance of empathy and apply it. It will transform our lives and culture.

– Taylor Brooks

The Impact of Interest

Just before Christmas, a high-potential leader asked my interest in mentoring her on the journey to becoming a more impactful leader. I get a fair number of these requests from current or emerging leaders and to date, have worked to accommodate them all. These relationships are mutually beneficial and valuable as I learn a great deal too.

I gladly accepted this one as well, and this past week, our first meeting took place.

At one point during our meeting, I was asked what I did to dramatically change the culture so fast (at the health center I lead). Without hesitation, I answered, “I made it about the people.”

I followed up her question with one of my own when I inquired why she had chosen me to mentor her on leadership. I will never forget her response, without hesitation, “You showed an interest in me.”

This took me back to the culture transformation at Johnson Health Center and making it about the people. The path to success for those who have excelled in their roles since my start there has been tied directly to their interest in the people they lead. I have done this with my executive and leadership teams, not because I had to, but because I wanted to.

If you are going to become an impactful leader, you have to become interested in those that go to battle with and for you. Your interest in them will determine their interest in you and this translates into success of the organization.

Showing interest in people is not natural for everyone, and the busier we get the more difficult it can be. It is important to recognize this now because the changing workforce is starting to demand it.

Here are some things to remember if you have an interest in becoming more interested:

  1. Be present with every conversation – Don’t get distracted from the conversation, be it in person or over the phone. Listen and actively acknowledge what’s being communicated.
  2. Don’t look at your phone, computer screen, or the doorway behind the individual – when you do, this sends a clear message that something is more important than the person in front of you.
  3. Learn what is important to them – Ask about their aspirations and how you can help them achieve success along the way.
  4. Be aware of artificial empathy – People pick up on this very quickly and once you have been labeled in this category, you lose credibility as a leader.
  5. If you don’t have time, let them know – This establishes credibility because you are being honest. Reschedule when you do have a few minutes – then be present.
  6. Be genuine – in other words, be your own authentic self (If this is difficult for you, there is much more you will need to work on and I recommend you start with a course/coaching session on becoming emotionally intelligent.)
  7. Remember, they need you – Let’s face it, if someone has taken the time, energy, and potentially the courage to come to you with a question, concern, or idea, it means something to them. Treat it with the same attention and respect you expect in your leadership role.

Want to know if your people consider you an impactful leader? Just ask but know this, if you have not shown a high level of interest, don’t expect a completely interested response.

You don’t have to be the “most interesting person in the world” but you need to be the most interested leader in your space.

Stay impactful my friends!

-Gary Campbell

But I am not in a Leadership Position

At our October, 2016 leadership networking event, “Creating a Culture of Excellence,” one of the participants asked the question; “How can someone who is not in an executive leadership role create a culture of excellence?”

This is an impactful question because, what do you do when you are not a decision maker but you want to impact your workplace? What does making an impact look like in this situation?

These are the questions we field frequently at Impact2Lead and the answer is quite simple; leadership does not stem from position title or authority but rather social influence. Regardless of where you sit in the organization, you have the ability to influence those around you. By keeping a positive, helpful and willing to do anything to help others mentality, leadership becomes attached to these actions and others notice.

You may not be able to impact the organization from the top but you can certainly impact your world and those around you. Keep this in mind, you are always auditioning for the next gig whether inside of the organization you work now or the one you aspire to work for in the future. Make every “Impactful” opportunity count!

The Appetite for Transformation

We just wrapped up the second and now annual, Impactful Leadership Networking Event“Creating a Culture of Excellence” in Lynchburg, Virginia. The week before, I spoke on the same topic in Washington, DC before a well-known national organization and will be in Las Vegas in early November to share this message with over 100 health centers from all over the country.

My phone rings more now, the social media pings are up, and emails are flying in from all over lately. The inquiries come from a variety of industries, many engaged in businesses I have never been exposed to; different industries, same question. How can we transform our culture?

Since leading the efforts for the first ever federally qualified health center to become a certified Employer of Choice, people have become interested in what was most impactful during this journey. It’s simple; we were able to transform the culture by engaging employees and inciting some passion through inspirational leadership.

What I have found most intriguing during my recent speaking engagements is the hunger the participants have displayed for a culture like this. I mean, you can visibly see and feel it.  In Lynchburg, you could hear a pin drop as we went through the must-haves to become an Employer of Choice. It was incredible!

When the session ended, the room was buzzing. People hung around and wanted to talk about the changes they would be making in their current roles. Some were moved to tears in reflecting back on the culture they were currently entrenched in. Others beamed with the potential they knew existed in their organization if given the opportunity to unleash it through a culture transformation.

Looking to change your culture?  Make sure you do or have the following:

  • Drive for inspirational and empathetic leadership
  • Live the core values in everything you do
  • Hire for attitude and fit
  • Help those who may not be as positive find a nice opportunity elsewhere
  • Foster an environment that thrives on teamwork and meaningful work
  • Be willing to relinquish control
  • Reward and recognize others
  • Create walking ambassadors by building leaders within
  • Put your finger on the pulse of the current state
  • Be positive, encouraging and nice!

Creating a culture of excellence is more than words on a mission statement or core values hung on a wall collecting dust. It is an investment of heart and soul and it is 24/7. The landscape of work is changing and our leaders will need to adapt. There is a hearty appetite to be part of something bigger.  Those who invest in building a positive and engaged culture will have bottom line success, no question about it.

The Impact of Achieving Employer of Choice Recognition

“It was the best culture that we have ever looked at”. This is what Joyce Gioia of Employer of Choice International, Inc. had to say about Johnson Health Center’s recent recognition as a certified Employer of Choice (EOC) in an interview with The News & Advance on April 24, 2016.

Ms. Gioia went on to say how the survey results showed some of the highest scores they had ever seen, while noting that very few companies are successful in obtaining this prestigious designation on the first try.

The most exciting part of the EOC journey is not where we ended up, but where we started.

When I took the helm as Interim CEO of Johnson Health Center (JHC) in August 2014, I committed to an overarching goal of pursuing an employer of choice certification. The culture I inherited was strained, retention of good people was a challenge, and innovation and teamwork were nearly non-existent. Needless to say, the ability to recruit in this climate was difficult.

The first thing we did was create some clarity and direction around our EOC pursuit. We identified three key areas of focus and went after them with a passion;

  • Employee Engagement
  • Leadership Development
  • Community Partnerships

Another critical focus and contribution to our successful EOC journey was embedding the JHC core values (respect, integrity, teamwork, innovation, excellence) in everything we did. In other words, any and all decisions we made had to be congruent with the values. We communicated these values through all channels; the website, badges on the leading slide of every single presentation coming out of JHC, and employment related decisions.

The values are serious business if you want to become an employer of choice.

Leadership was another opportunity for us. Leading my own firm, Impact2Lead, allowed me to pilot the Impact Model at JHC. We went on a mission to develop leaders at all levels. Some stayed, some went, and some new leaders were born. It has to be that way to truly transform your culture.

In addition to the Impact Model, I pulled a page from Bob Burg and John David Mann’s “The Go-Giver,” as it related to adding value to people’s lives. We defined people as, everyone we had the opportunity to engage with be it patients, vendors, visitors, community partners and each other.

The Law of Value state; “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment”.

As a community health center with a mission to provide access to healthcare for all, going above and beyond to take care of people is our business. When you strive to touch people’s lives in a way that adds more value to them, it pays dividends beyond measurability and frankly, just makes you feel good and makes others feel good about you.

At the end of the day, it is about leading with a human touch. It is about inspiring those around you and unleashing the potential of those who want to be part of something big. This might be the reason JHC has enjoyed such a low voluntary turnover rate in the last eighteen months (5% in 2015 and less than 2% in 2016) while adding almost 35% to its workforce.

It’s one thing to say you want to be an employer of choice, it’s another to engage the employees for the journey, and then validate the effort with their feedback.

Way to go Johnson Health Center – you are truly “Impactful.”

-Gary Campbell

A Shining Display of Core Values

Going back as far as I can remember, spring training and baseball have been one in the same for me. The offering of a gentle and somewhat slower pace of transition between seasons puts a smile on my face and has been the purpose for my every-other-year Orlando trips in March.

Yep, there is nothing more pure and warming than spring training baseball where typically little noise is made on the way to opening day and the unofficial start of summer…at least that’s how it was until last week.

On Tuesday, March 15, Adam LaRoche shook the baseball world by suddenly walking away from $13M he was due to earn this year. His abrupt decision has not only impacted his current team and baseball but will surly have an effect across organizations and individuals all over the country.

Mr. LaRoche signed a two-year contract with the Chicago White Sox in the off-season and was expected to provide some power to the line-up as the team’s designated hitter. As part of the agreement, his twelve-year old son Drake would be by his side during spring training and throughout the season as he had been in previous years with other clubs.

Seemed pretty straight forward until executive vice president Ken Williams informed Mr. LaRoche that he needed to limit Drake’s time in the clubhouse before ultimately barring all access. It was at this juncture that Mr. LaRoche walked away from baseball for good.

As told in the USA Today article, “In LaRoche-White Sox flap, Kenny Williams acted on behalf of others, too”, Mr. LaRoche stated, “The current situation arose after White Sox VP Ken Williams recently advised me to significantly scale back the time that my son spent in the clubhouse,’’ LaRoche said in a statement. “Later, I was told not to bring him to the ballpark at all. Obviously, I expressed my displeasure toward this decision to alter the agreement we had reached before I signed with the White Sox.”

“I understand that many people will not understand my decision,’’ LaRoche said in his statement. “I respect that, and all I ask is for that same level of respect in return. I live by certain values that are rooted in my faith, and I am grateful to my parents for that. I have tried to set a good example on and off the field and live a life that represents these values.”

Regardless of the position you hold in a corporation or life, your core values represent who you are and what you are all about. Your core values must be aligned with the organization you work for and if you are a leader in the organization, your core values have to be aligned with your vision in order to inspire others. The fundamental ingredient for an inspirational leader is trust. Your values constitute your bottom line and cannot be changed. If they can, you cannot be trusted and are not a leader.

Understandably there is likely much more than we will ever fully know about what all took place between Mr. LaRoche and the White Sox. There are reports of several players privately complaining to Mr. Williams about Mr. LaRoche’s son to Mr. Williams acting alone on his own accord in shutting down clubhouse access. Regardless, it did not align with Mr. LaRoche’s core values and as a result, has now created trust issues within the team for many of the players as it relates to leadership.

While core values is the focus in this piece, there are a lot of leadership lessons to take away here. First, when you commit to something, you best follow-through. If you can’t follow-through, you best communicate openly and honestly. Finally, understand any decision that impacts one person will likely have an impact on others regardless of the benefits or pain to the organization. Be prepared.

As the Impact Leadership model states, character through communication is an essential element to becoming a successful leader. It’s the one area that is either revealed or exposed – either result will have a lasting impact.

Parenting and organizational leadership are similar in nature as both positions are responsible for those entrusted to them. Mr. LaRoche’s decision leaves no question on the commitment to his value system. You can be assured that his son Drake, the rest of the LaRoche family and those touched by this move will be benefactors of those values for years to come.

Sticking to your core values as an organizational leader will have the same impact.

“In life, we’re all faced with difficult decisions and will have a choice to make. Do we act based on the consequences, or do we act on what we know and believe in our hearts to be right? I choose the latter.’’  – A. LaRoche as quoted in USA Today.

Celebrating the Good and Welcoming the Bad

When I worked at Bayer, I was honored to be selected as a coaching participant in an organizational wide program called, Cross Connect. This program was designed to bring mentors and mentees together based on a variety of qualifiers. I met three great mentees during my stint in the program and hopefully made an impact on them as they progressed in their career.

Being a mentor is important to me. While I enjoyed my role in the Cross Connect program, I have to say being an informal mentor fits my leadership style better.

I have had the pleasure of working with a few great mentors along my professional journey. Mentors that have helped shape my value system, going all the way back to my childhood. Those mentors were always in some form of leadership and like others, my style developed as a result of the mentoring I received.

But not every experience with a leader fits the definition of a mentor. Quite the opposite, some bosses along the way are just plain awful. But what do we do with that experience? How do we capture the gains of working for a bad boss? What does a bad boss really look like?

Most of us have worked for someone who abused the power of their position and in doing so created an unstable and hostile environment. Bosses who lead like this do so from a position of insecurity and the old saying goes, “insecurity + power = weak leader”. A culture is created where work becomes a burden and the performance of those in this environment suffers greatly.

It simply becomes a toxic environment where there is no trust, no collaboration, no innovation and no fun. Turnover is likely high, micromanagement is at a peak and weak leaders tend to surround themselves with people who are less experienced or do not pose a threat. Ultimately, a weak leader spends more time focusing on self-preservation and fear than they ever will on leading and developing others.

Don’t panic! This is not all bad.

The one thing I have learned over my career is that two things can happen; the weak leader will not survive (few rarely do after a period of time) or you will leave the organization. Either way, you learn more in the experience than you could have ever learned in a classroom. If your core values are others focused, you strengthen your leadership capabilities, and money can’t buy that.

Taking advantage of the lessons learned from weak leaders or bad bosses is just as important as having a great mentor and solid leader in your network. It is easy to pick the obvious place you would rather spend your time but don’t despair when you find yourself hitched to a weak leader – it is not permanent. Use it to your advantage and eagerly learn from it. Keep yourself positive through it and help others do the same. This is where your impactful character is revealed.

How we lead defines the culture we want. A great leader inspires and is constantly on the lookout for anything that runs counter to his/her values. They have learned from the good and taken advantage of the bad and have captured the gains. In doing so, they have become the kind of mentors you would want for yourself or a close family member.

So if you find yourself on the wrong end of a weak leader,  boldly move ahead. Rather than complain and let the energy be sapped from you, create a way to thrive in the environment. Inspire others, keep a positive outlook and make a mental list of things you never want associated with you. Lead with impact, that’s what the good ones do!