Mar 9, 2009

Leading from the Bottom Up: What did you think?

You probably have lots of ideas for improving health care. But as a student, you may feel a little unsure about how you're going to make them happen.

During today's On Call teleconference, Dr. Jim Reinertsen -- a senior fellow at IHI and former CEO of several health systems -- listed ways that students can lead improvement even when they lack formal power.

Jim's going to be checking this post for the next month and will jump into the conversation to answer questions. So tell us:

  • Have you ever taken a leadership stance in your organization? How did it go?

  • What do you think of the idea of "no complaints" as a central principle of leadership?

  • Do you think you have the power to change health care from the bottom up?

  • Do you agree that you don't need charisma or eloquence to be a good leader?

Any topic is fair game. You can comment by clicking on the "Comments" link at the bottom of this post.

If you didn't catch the call, listen to the recording or download the transcript.


jbohnen said...

Thanks, Jim, for sharing your wisdom with us on yesterday's call.

I want to share an anecdote from today, which resulted from yesterday's call:

I am a medical student, and this afternoon I was sitting around a table with a group of residents who I respect very much. At one point, the residents began discussing how some attending physicians abuse the healthcare system by performing lucrative, but arguably unnecessary, procedures on patients. They discussed this point for several minutes, contributing many supporting examples.

Out of curiosity I asked: "what would it take to increase oversight in order to prevent this from happening so often"?

A resident looked at me, paused in a pensive manner, then said: "that's a very good question".

Immediately, the direction of the conversation changed and the group generated a host of theoretical solutions to this problem. They became as engaged in discussion about 'solutions' as they had been a moment ago in discussion about 'confirming the problem is in fact a problem'.

Though this is certainly a small example, your point about contributing to the solution rather than fueling the problem is a powerful lesson.

Thanks again,

Jordan Bohnen
Harvard Medical school

Jasmine Komo said...

1. No I have not taken a leadership stance at my organization. I feel as if being a young professional, I am rarely given the opportunity especially when my manager is not supportive of me. I consider myself a leader on my unit but beyond that, I also think being a leader is stressful because it takes a lot of hard work to set an exemplar attitude.

2. I do no believe in the idea of 'no complaints' as a central principle to leadership. Oftentimes I feel am overshadowed by being mad or upset at a situation at work that I just keep it within myself and not 'speak up' when I know I should. A few times I did speak up to my manager and she said it was 'not acceptable' but never followed up with me about her actions to that matter. Therefore I think I do think I am beginning to speak up but I need someone from a higher position to validate that something was done to fix the problem.

3. I think I have slow but small power role to fix healthcare from bottom up. I believe first a person need to start at the roots somewhere local at your own institution and build your way up. It's a slow process.

4. I definitely think eloquence, charisma, and a pleasant attitude goes a long away to become a leader.

Jasmine Komo
Nursing Student