"The Ronan Report" provides insight about the activities at the Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland, Maryland, and about the changes taking place in healthcare today from a CEO's perspective.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sharing Forty Years of Learning (Continued)

Yesterday, I blogged about what I have learned after four decades in health care, with today being my 40th anniversary in health care.  Five of my top ten lessons were covered yesterday, with the remaining five to be covered today.  They are as follows:

Lesson 6: Treat People as You Would Like to be Treated
This lesson is easy to say but more challenging to put into practice for many.  I had the advantage of working in an entry-level position when I first started working in health care.  I saw how my co-workers were treated by supervisors, managers, nursing staff, physicians and other employees with more seniority; I even experienced much of it myself.  Some people were downright rude and disrespectful.  That was clearly not the way that I was going to treat people and I have pretty much tried to "walk the talk" if you will in this area.  I have found that it really isn't that difficult to be nice and respectful toward others.

Lesson 7: Be a Visionary
Yesterday, I blogged about accepting and embracing change, which is related, but as a leader you have to have a vision for what needs to be accomplished in your department, unit or organization.  If you don't have a vision for the future, you will be lost.  I have always loved being able to focus on what's next for me and for WMHS.  Fortunately, my visions for WMHS have been successes as they have become reality.  From the consolidation of the two hospitals to the building of a new hospital to creating a new care delivery model to the Trivergent Alliance; all have been successes (Thank God).  On the personal side, after realizing that health care is where I wanted to be, I had to create a vision for my career and, fortunately, that paid off as well.

Lesson 8: Listen, Listen, Listen
All forms of communication are critically important, but for me listening is the most important form of communication.  Believe it or not, I don't talk as much as I listen.  Case in point is when our Triple Aim Coordinating Council meets at the health system.  I sit there in awe of our folks in the trenches who are trying to ensure that our value-based care delivery model is as effective as it can be and that our patients are always at the center of everything that we do.  I have learned so much over a very short period of time from these caregivers and clinicians all through active listening.

Lesson 9: Use Common Sense
I have been blessed with good common sense and I use it.  People have a tendency to make things a lot more challenging than they should.   Quite frankly, the application of common sense can be an exceedingly powerful problem-solving technique.  I couldn't imagine functioning effectively without it.

Lesson 10: Career Should Not be at the Expense of Family
It can be very difficult to balance work and family.  At one point in my life, the hospital leadership for whom I worked, expected virtually 24/7 dedication to my job.  After three years of that, enough was enough.  I made the decision to come to Cumberland, which afforded me a better balance between my work life and personal life.  Over the years, I may have been the guy in the business suit coming into the school gym to see my daughters play in a basketball game, but I made sure that I was there.  Although, I must say having an understanding and supportive spouse over these many years certainly has helped with the work \ family balance.

I could go on but I think ten lessons are plenty.  It has been an unbelievable journey over the last 40 years and what's really cool is that it's not over by a long shot.

Thanks to all of you who have made these years as much memorable as rewarding.

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