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Michael Sabbag Episode 28

Show Overview & Notes

Episode Summary

In this episode, we have a very special guest, Michael Sabbag. He is an expert in Organizational Development and Leadership and author on culture, performance, strategy, and coaching. I had the pleasure of working with Michael at, a SaaS leader in the HR ERP/TD software space, which was acquired by Taleo, and then Taleo was ultimately acquired by Oracle.

We have an interesting conversation around his background growing up and how The Boy Scouts and working summers in construction with his father taught him early on about work ethic and leadership.

We unpack his book, “Developing Exemplary Performance One Person at a Time”, which focuses on the 7 factors that drive exceptional work performance, based on his leadership and organizational development training research spanning decades of his real-life experiences across diverse industries and organizations.

We also discuss his point of view around diversity leadership and his current role within one of the largest public healthcare organizations in South Florida Broward Health during C19 and its impact on the healthcare workforce.

Episode Notes

We listen today to a former colleague and HR and Organizational Leadership expert, as he describes his career journey and seven factors that drive exceptional work performance. Our guest, Michael Sabbag, whose entire background has been focused on creating leadership to help us become performance all-stars at work and in life.

Not only has Michael had an incredible career in senior HR and  Talent Management roles across leading companies within diverse industries, such as PWC, Comcast,, Sixt an Uberesque German-based global company, and now currently with one of the largest public healthcare organizations in Florida.

We have a very powerful conversation around what we can do to become a peak performer at work and in life.

His Boy Scouts Eagle badge creds

Growing up Michael was in the boy scouts and worked hard to earn his Eagle badge, one which only less than 2% of all Boy Scouts achieve. The work-ethic and sense of emphatic and positive leadership developed from his experience with the Boy  Scouts at a very young age. He has carried those values with him through his career calling within talent management and organization leadership development.

“Soft skills or interpersonal skills as I like to call them are the hardest and most important for senior leadership to hone into” – Michael Sabbag

Leading with strategy, not tactics to achieve better outcomes

Michael describes the incorrect thought process of using the commonly used sandwich method of starting off with a positive statement, then the middle attention to the challenge and finishing it off with a positive affirmation, during our one-on-ones with your team or direct reports. This method is both outdated and ineffective according to him and research.  He believes that there should a direct approach, using empathy, but squarely focusing on where the skill or achievement gaps are and then focusing on how to coach via positive reinforcements.

“Healthcare leaders in our system  cannot start off with tactics, we must start with the “Why”, the strategy to get to our optimal outcomes. At Broward Health our why is to have the best patient outcomes for them and also their families” – Michael Sabbag

What’s the focus for remote workers in healthcare or in general?

Michael describes the critical importance of having clear expectations of goals and deliverables for remote workers.  Also being more conscious and deliberate around communication and touching base more often with a remote workforce.  At Broward Health their remote team is using Microsoft teams, but regardless of tech platform, err on the side of over-communication.

“Ping your folks on line and ask then how they are doing, tell them what you’re doing and what they think, keep the same hallway conversations, but just do them via virutal platforms” – Michael Sabbag


Back to the Future with Michael Sabbag

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, overemphasize the things that have a long-term impact and under-emphasize the things that have a short-term impact” – Michael Sabbag. 


Book recommendations to help you get 1% better

1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey 

2. The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business 

3. Dare to Lead by Brené  Brown 


Michael Sabbag Michael Sabbag is an impactful HR, training, and OD strategic expert and also an author on culture, performance, strategy, and coaching

He has dedicated his career to helping organizations become more successful by creating highly engaging cultures and exemplary people processes. Working in Learning and Development, Human Resources, and Organization Development as a Vice President and consultant, he has:

* Worked at the executive of organizations for over 18 years and have consulted for 16 years

* Authored “Developing Exemplary Performance One Person at a Time” published by Davies-Black and ATD Press

* Received South Florida Business Journal 2010 Excellence in Human Resources award

* Transformed and had a significant impact on companies of all sizes in a large number of industries

* Received a Masters of Arts in I/O Psychology with a focus on improving workplace performance

*Been certified in executive coaching as an ECCP (Executive Coach Certified Professional)

* Achieved the rank of Eagle Scout

You can connect with Michael or reach out to him at the following:

LinkedIn Profile


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The Smart Chickens podcast’s goal is to bring the workforce diversity, inclusion, and equity narrative into focus the right way.  One which focuses on why our differences make us better not just different and how companies, individuals, and society can benefit from more diversity.

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