I enjoy the thrill of finding something new and good and it is very gratifying when others agree. Music, books, and people — leadership talent — are among my favorite interests.
I collect music. I have eclectic tastes that range from opera to hip hop. Now that, as they say, covers a lot of territory. My love of opera comes front my favorite uncle Frank who lived in New York and long ago briefly sang in the chorus of The Metropolitan. He loved to share his record collection and vast knowledge. My ties to contemporary music go back to the glory days of high energy, personality-driven top 40 radio, listening to KLIF in Dallas, KILT in Houston and WLS in Chicago and, occasionally when it was a clear night, WNOE in New Orleans. My fascination with hip hop owes to my appreciation of the poetry and the incredible stories of luck and survival on the mean streets.
One night, on a long flight from Anchorage to Houston when I admitted to a young flight attendant that I was listening to Tinie Tempah, Bad Meets Evil and Jay Z on my iPod, she said, “I think it is so wonderful…that a man of your age listens to that kind of music.” Hardly a ringing endorsement of my coolness but what can you do?
As a recruiter, I enjoy finding the up and comers, those future leaders who are not on anyone’s radar screen but who show remarkable skill, style and accomplishment. It is disappointing when clients defer to a safer, more experienced candidate. These bright and capable candidates are frequently passed over because they are thought to be too young, inexperienced or not having served time to qualify for the adult table. It is frustrating when the client wants the safer candidate, the one who is more experienced even if their style or level of accomplishment doesn’t match up. But they are the client and it is inappropriate for me to disrespect those who pay the bills.
For those Generation Xers and Millennials who are patiently waiting for their turn to make healthcare a better, safer and more cost effective place fear not, your time will come sooner than later owing to a combination of Baby Boomer retirements and a rapidly changing healthcare environment that will overrun those leaders who fail to adapt quickly.
There is another growing group of up and comers waiting in the wings: physician executives.
Here is what I am looking for in a leader of tomorrow:
- Overall intelligence with quick-on-your-feet thinking
- Well informed, with a depth and breadth of information, from all things healthcare reform and related public policy issues, to current events, including domestic and world political challenges; a strategic thinker who does their homework
- A good, active listener, someone who embraces the fact that there is aways another point of view on an issue or problem that may include a better solution
- A confident individual who can back up that confidence with quantifiable examples of their accomplishments and a willingness to share the details of how they got from A to Z
- Someone who understands, or wants to understand, what it means to be a good leader Hint: I am not looking for command and control junkies or those who believe that leadership is anything other that which is earned through respect and performance