I took a break this month from churning through textbooks to refresh a bit. I needed to refuel my studying stamina for the board exams looming this summer. I was even able to read a few real books! As I quickly swiped through them I found some cool points worth highlighting.
First is “Growing Physician Leaders,” by Mark Hertling. I’ve already recommended the book to all of my classmates but it’s worth emphasizing again. Hertling is a retired three star general who picked up a lot of leadership tips in his 40 years in the Army. Now he is a senior VP at Florida Hospital and is spreading his wisdom to healthcare. His book is targeted at improving leadership amongst physicians but it could be adapted to other providers as well. A few quotes:
“Doctors-because of their title, their “uniform,” their knowledge, and their standing in the profession of healthcare-are by default “leaders.” Whether they want to be seen that way or not makes little difference. They can be either good leaders or bad leaders, based on their attributes and competencies, but by wearing the “uniform” and having the title of “MD,” they generate certain expectations. They are viewed as leaders.”
“Leaders in the profession of arms know that professional responsibility and leadership always go hand in hand.” (Hertling, 2016)
These ideas hit me. This is part of why I transitioned from the profession of arms to the profession of medicine. I believe these to be true.
Next is “Discover Your True North,” by Bill George. George is a professor at the Harvard Business School after being an executive and board director for some big companies. In particular, he was the CEO of Medtronic for ten very productive years. For the book he interviewed 125 very successful leaders throughout the world to determine what traits are found in winning leaders. His interview with Charles Schwab really caught my attention:
“I always put the customer on top of a stool whose four corners are value, customer service, technology, and best price,” he explained. “Wall Street flips the stool over, sitting on top of the stool with the client underneath.” – Charles Schwab
“Wall Street should be like your doctor, focusing on your interest, not its interests.” – Charles Schwab (George, 2015)
It is awesome to read that a financial giant like Schwab was motivated to serve his customers with a values-based approach. When he compared the financial industry to healthcare though, it made me pause. What if we swapped best price for best health outcome? Do we always focus on the customer or are our patients sometimes underneath?
Brokerage firms taking advantage of Americans upset Schwab. They were able to because there was little transparency and the average investor couldn’t sort out stock prices or values, much less commissions. Schwab’s company made millions and changed the face of equity investing by adding transparency. An average investor can now see what the stock price is and can buy or sell for a small fixed commission. I believe there is at least as much opportunity for a values-based healthcare leader and company who can add transparency to our healthcare system now.
Finally, go see the new X-Men movie! It is awesome in 3D!
George, B. (2015). Discover Your True North. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Hertling, M. (2016). Growing Physician Leaders. (T. Chobotar, Ed.) Orlando, FL: Florida Hospital.