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I have a bad habit.  I drive my wife crazy because of my tendency, more often than I realize, to think out loud.

Consider this post a written version of me thinking out loud.

Now, here is where you can play a role:  I would like you to take these ideas out for a test drive.  Take them around the block and share your thoughts with me.  In healthcare we can make things hopelessly complex.  In contrast, when we try to simplify a concept or process, we sometimes go too far in the other direction.  Help me build on this idea.

If one secret to consistently delivering exceptional and safe care is to instill an organizational culture that includes having caregivers think of their patients as relatives that they want to protect from harm, then equating excellent leadership to a dynamic and successful marriage makes sense to me.

Great marriages, I have learned the hard way, are built on, among other things, mutual respect, trust, and an unwavering devotion to one another.  In a good marriage there is a stream of emotional commitment that compels a mate to delight and surprise their partners.  But at the core, there must be mutual respect, trust, devotion to one another and the success of the relationship.

I have also learned that it helps if you can learn to check your ego at the front door.  Ego is the first cousin of arrogance which is a cancer that will spread and eventually kill a relationship.

Here is where I make the connection between a good marriage and good leadership.  To me it is obvious.

Healthcare organizations are growing increasingly concerned with the rate and cost of employee turnover and how they can empower their people to move the organization to superior performance, both in quality, safety, service and financially.

Empowering employees requires that leaders and employees have a relationship that is built on mutual respect, trust, and a devotion to one another and the success of the organization.

If you do not have those relational qualities in place, be careful.  Divorces are messy, they can damage careers and they always hurt the organization.

© 2012 John Gregory Self