This post was written by Gretchen Hammer, a previous member of our team.
Leadership is something many, many books have been written about, but when it comes to applying it in real life...well, that’s a different story.
We thought it could benefit us all to more clearly define the leadership we need as change agents and thought leaders in the health care field, and so we attempted to do just that at last month’s CCMU Annual Conference.
We celebrated the leadership of two Community Champions at our conference—Dave Myers, CEO of Metro Community Provider Network (MCPN) and Lee Morgan, MD a treasured volunteer physician at Doctors Care. These two exemplary leaders are not only articulating a better future, but creating one for the thousands of Coloradans who are served by their organizations.
Both of our conference speakers, nationally-recognized health economist Dr. Len Nichols and nationally-celebrated change leader, George Houston, emphasized that leading change is about finding a way to manage paradox. Specifically, it is about aligning self-interest with the collective interest and creating stability and change at the same time. An easy example from parenting; we want our children to be independent thinkers with confidence in their own ideas and approaches, yet we must balance that with getting everyone out the door on time and getting them to eat whatever is served, whenever it is served.
Health care examples are much more complicated, of course. To many of us in health care—steeped in efforts to increase access to care, reform payment methods or better integrate and coordinate care—managing these paradoxes seems impossible sometimes. But, Mr. Houston shared research that shows that if certain conditions can be established as part of the change process, success is achievable. Creating a sense of security, certainty, autonomy and fairness and honoring the relationships we’ve built, will take us far as leaders in changing times.
So perhaps our tasks as leaders are to acknowledge the paradoxes, work hard to establish the conditions for success, and move bravely forward to a better future. Maybe, I’ll try it tonight at dinner.