Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Importance of Awards

Last week I had the honor of receiving two awards. I was made an Honorary Fellow of the American College of Physician Executives and received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Hospital Association. Receiving such awards are important for two reasons. give the awardee the opportunity to thanks all those people who surrounded him or her to make this award possible. I did just that. Ifirst thanked my wife, children and friends who have supported my career for many years. I then recognized and thanked the excellent teams I have been able to work with at Geisinger, Johns Hopkins, Henry Ford, and CHRISTUS Health. gives the awardee the opportunity to make brief remarks from his or her life's learnings that hopefully will motivate the audience as they depart. Since these award ceremonies were only fours days apart, I shared similar thoughtsd at each. They included some of my teachings in prior blogs and wnet something like this......
       We all know that we are facing some of the most challenging and complex times in healthcare. Inorder to be successful leaders of tomorrow, which will look different than leadership of today, we will need to enhance our leadership competencies, committment, and passion. With regard to the competencies, they are well defined and I have articulated the ones I believe are most critical for the future in published articles and prior blogs. These can be learned or enhanced by attending conferences and workshops that occured at both meetings where the awards were  given. In addition, compentences can be sharpened by reading, and sharing best practices by colleagues. Committment is strengthened by each team member individually and the team collectively reaffirming that heathcare leadership is where they want to focus their energy at this moment in time. But I have concerns that in challeging times, it may be very hard to maintain the high level of passion for your work that is critical if other pewople are willining to follow you. Therefore, I want to share three of my life's learning regarding how to grow one's passion which I define as "the place where the love of your work lives." They are:
        1. Never forget that healthcare is a sacred ministry. Not sacred in a religious sense, but sacred becaus each day people come through our doors and turn their most precious gift over to us...the gift of their life or the life of their loved one or child. This is an awesome responsiblity and demands that excellence is a necessity and not a luxury for all those we serve.
       2. Confirm that you are called each day to your work in this sacred ministy, wherever you serve. If you come to work each day doin a job, at best you will leave having done satisfactory work. If you labor as a professional each day, you will do meaningful work. But if you are truly called to your work, you will be a transformational leader, taking waht is today and transforming it into waht it must be tomorrow.
       3. Pause and ask the question, "Could this be one of the reasons why I was put on this earth?" I have asked that question several times on my life's journey both as a clinical leader and physician executive. When you answer that question in the affirmative, you know for sure that you have been called, and you will always answer "YES" to the most important question, "Is it worth it to be a leader in healthcare today?"

I closed my remarks by stating that I gegan my carrer in healthcare at age 15 as an OR Technician at the Centre Community Hospital in Bellefonte, Pa. I worked almost full time to pujt myself through college and medical school. When  I began, I kew it was never going to be easy. It never has been! I knew it was going to be possible. It always has been!  And finally, I knew that each day I worked in healthcare would bring great meaning to those my team and I served. It truly has done just that!

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