Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Burning Questions, Part II

As I mentioned in my last post, we recently gathered leaders from across CHRISTUS Health for a leadership retreat. In my opening presentation to these leaders, I asked them to submit questions for me, one of which was, “If this was your last chance to meet with me, what burning questions would you like to ask?”

Our leaders submitted over 90 different inquiries, of which I answered about 50 at a later session. Here are some additional submitted questions along with my answers.

Q. You described the characteristics of a successful health system in your opening presentation. As we move forward, what do you think needs to stay constant in CHRISTUS Health, and what do you think can change in the future?

A. Certainly our brand needs to remain as constant as possible, with each component being enhanced and strengthened in the next decade. Also, our 5 Strategic Directions and our 8 Strategic Enablers must remain. In addition, I would list 5 other behaviors that must remain constant:
l. We must put our patients’, families’, and residents’ needs and interest first and foremost.
2. We must always give caring and responsive service.
3. We must treat each other with courtesy and respect to maintain the excellent team focus that a successful heath system must have.
4. We must be stewards of the resources that our communities and CHRISTUS have entrusted to us.
5. We must devote significant organizational and personal resources to not only replenish our knowledge base, but also to reflect in small groups and in one-to-one encounters on how we might further improve. Successful organizations grow both in individual and organizational wisdom.

With that said, I think everything else is malleable. However, I believe the prerequisite for each change--and we know many will be required in the future--must be a serious attempt to improve our ability to do our work in meeting the needs of our patients, residents, families, and customers, and well as to structure our education and research mission to ensure high quality and low cost services in our present, and to predict the future and change its magnetic north to better health.

Q. What energizes you when you are tired or facing tough challenges?

A. I always pause and reflect on the successes we have accomplished as a family or a ministry. You have heard me say many times that you must celebrate the incremental victories to get the energy to overcome the obstacles you see ahead. And I always remember Babe Ruth’s hitting history……..He struck out 1,330 times in between his 714 home runs.

Q. What do you pray for most often?

A. For peace…personally, professionally, and in the world.

Q. What in CHRISTUS do you love most, and what will you miss the most?

A. The answer to both parts of the questions is the same……..YOU!

Q. What is your biggest achievement?

A. Personally…having a family. Professionally….becoming a physician and helping to heal many people along the way.

Q. What is the most important lesson that every leader should learn?

A. You must always be humble!

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