Working Around the Challenge is a Prescription for Failure

leadership that is bad

Healthcare is going through a multitude of changes.  The biggest challenge is going from fee-based programs to a performance based system.  Hospitals must now continually find ways to improve performance, to work smarter, to be more efficient, and discover ways to function at less cost.  What I find fascinating is how different healthcare leaders react or respond to the new challenges they face.

Excellent leaders research, learn and strategize with colleagues to set plans in place to comply and successfully work with the new policies and programs.  They work with and through the challenges set before them.  Furthermore, they ask questions and seek counsel to be sure to do things right.  It is joyful and intriguing to see healthcare executives perform in a professional manner.  What is concerning and loathsome is how poor leadership reacts to change.

Inferior leaders choose to work around the changes facing them.  They believe they can ignore the new rules or worse if they do “abide by the rules” reporting is incomplete, flawed, or even altered.   Ineffective leaders are arrogant, filled with their biases, and claim to be all knowledgeable.  Furthermore, they declare that they are “experts” and thus they are right and close their minds.

chess piece analogyRobert J. Kriegel and Louis Patler published If it ain’t Broke…Break It! In the early ‘90’s.  They share an amusing tale of a man who knew too much:

“There once was a student who was very knowledgeable.  One day he went to his master’s house.  When they were seated opposite each other, the master began to pour the tea while the student began to tell him what he knew.  The more the student talked, the more the master poured.  Soon the student’s cup was running over, the saucer overflowing and tea spilling on his clothes.

The student asked the master why he kept pouring the tea.  The master replied, When the mind is filled to overflowing, like the teacup, there is no room for anything new in it.”  Eventually, the student realized what the master knew immediatelyꟷthat he was all wet!”