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John began his career as a registered nurse and worked in a hospital emergency room. It was there that John began to understand that the organization’s management and their frontline employees did not share the same perspective. Management seemed interested in discussing staffing, scheduling, productivity, and efficiencies while the frontline personnel discussed the delivery of patient care and quality for their patients.
After he transitioned to a management position, John began to realize that the leadership, management, and frontline people all ultimately wanted the same thing. They just did not have the same frame of reference, nor did they have the ability to use a common language. This interest in people and the interaction between the various levels of positions led John to go back to get a bachelor’s degree in management of human resources and then a master’s degree in organizational management.
John eventually began a consulting career in which he had the opportunity to observe and positively influence people in their organizational settings. He became intrigued by the fact that some projects were successful and some were not, and he began a quest to understand this. The quest led him to the topics of change management and change leadership. He began to write down his thoughts and ideas, and it was this path that led to his first book, Who Killed Change?, which was coauthored by Ken Blanchard and published in fifteen languages. This book gave John his first major platform to help leadership, management, and frontline personnel to better understand one another’s viewpoints.
John was also interested in understanding the impetus for the various levels of customer service he was receiving. Why was it excellent in one establishment and so poor in another? After his father-in-law, whom John was very close to, was killed in a car accident, John became introspective and arrived at his hypothesis: Excellence is inside out. Whether it is customer-service excellence or personal excellence, it begins with a choice and a first step forward. It was this chain of events that led to the writing of Who Kidnapped Excellence? John knew that his friends Ed Jent and Harry Paul also had a passion for excellence. Two phone calls later, the collaboration began. John believes that many of the solutions to companies’ problems, issues, and challenges can come from their people at the front lines. Who Kidnapped Excellence? gives John another platform from which to encourage leadership and management to reach out to their employees.
John is the director of health-care solutions at Kforce, a company that has a history of excellence (see the following section). He speaks nationally and internationally on topics related to organizational behavior. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife, Cynthia; three dogs (Dooley, Ellie, and Mollie); and three cats (Dora, Mushu, and Miss Kitty). John’s daughter, Katherine, and son, Jonathan, also live in Louisville.