Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Physician Leadership and the Status Quo
Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when quo has lost its status.

Laurence J. Peter, (1919-1990), Author of The Peter Principle

April 11, 2012 -  I’ve been invited to give a talk before a national physician organization  on physician leadership and the future of physicians in during and after the era of health reform.   It is a daunting task. 
I  know only two things:
One, the status quo will not do.
Two, we need leaders to drain the swamp and lead us of out of it.

In preparing my remarks,  I sought a definition  of leadership. I  found it on a book by Donald J. Parlimisano, MD, JD, a surgeon and a lawyer who serve d as president of the AMA from 2003 to 2004.
In On Leadership: Essential Principles for Business, Political, and Personal Success, Doctor Palmisano identifies these essentials.
“A true leader:
·       does the necessary ‘homework.”

·       demonstrates courage.
·       is persistent; doesn’t give up when faced with challenges; is relentless in pursuit of goal.

·       fully understands both the mission and goal. 
·       has integrity; is ethical.

·       is decisive.

·       does not fail to act in the absence of either instructions for an unexpected crisis or the desired data on which to base decisions.

·       is a listener and an effect communicator. 

·       does not depend on the approval of others to build self-esteem.

·       understands that unity lads to success and division lead to failure.
·       leads ‘from the front.
·       inspires others and engages them using his passion and authentic behavior. 
·       never asks others to take risks that he or she would not take 

·       doesn’t  get rattled in a crisis.

·       seeks opportunities to advance the mission. 

·       knows  how to identify those who are sincere in interpersonal relationships. 
·       is trustworthy and learns quickly whom to trust.

·       is dependable, adhering to company’s or movement’s mission without compromising principles for personal advancement or benefit.     

·       becomes a loyal follower and supporter of other lenders once they are identified.

·       realizes that leadership is not an ego trip."


So much for leadership, now for courage.  

In my little talk, I shall dwell on changing the status quo.  The system cannot continue as it is.  We must help reform it.  
To reform it, we must examine the current health law’s consequences,  trends, and alternatives. And we must have the courage to change our current practices.

This change will require courage.  Here is what I said 24 years ago (And Who Shall Care for the Sick: The Corporate Transformation of Medicine in Minnesota (Media Medicus, Minneapolis, 1988).

“You can control your practice these next five years.  But this control will take courage – the courage to promote yourself and the causes of medicine, the courage to stand up against the managers of HMOs, the courage to take the lead in defining quality and standing by that definition as a criterion for paying  yourself, the courage to change you reading habits and your attitudes toward business, the courage to accept different forms of payment, and the courage to accept and welcome change.”

Your freedom is based on your courage to change. Control your destiny, or your destiny will control you.

Tweet:   The future of physicians and medicine will require altering the status quo,  physician leadership, and courage to change.

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