Secondhand Sunday

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sundays are my Secondhand day. I'm basically too lazy to think of anything new to say so I re-post a "vintage" entry.

If you aren't in the mood for repeats, please feel free to change the channel.

"How to be an effective communicator"

Original post date: July 23, 2009
I spent 8 hours today in a management training that focused on "What is takes to be an effective leader in our organization." One of the things that I value about working here is that there are opportunities for growth in different areas based on your track record and your willingness to learn and not based solely on your education level. Just before lunch, there was a moderated panel discussion with 4 leaders from different departments in the hospital.

- Panelist A studied in the Phillippines and is the manager of the Histocompatibility & Immunogenics Laboratory and the Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory. Yeah, I have no idea what that is, either.

- Panelist B studied in India and is the VP of Radiology Services.

- Panelist C has worked in healthcare and is the manager of Accounts Receivables and handles billing for 300 physicians.

- Panelist D has worked for the institution for 33 years and currently manages the Supply Chain Services department.

Each panelist was presented with questions that focused on their role as a leader and their role in employee development. Some answered with very succinct responses, some were a little more philosophical and one made no sense at all. It was obvious that he has advanced through the system based on his longevity and ability to adapt to the changing environment and not because of his education.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not an education snob. C'mon, I don't even understand what Panelist A does. Personally, I don't hold any advanced degrees (which I'm reminded of by one doctor who is an education snob-"I have my MBA. Do YOU have an MBA??) and I don't pretend to be something I'm not. I take pride in my communication skills and my ability to interact effectively with all different kinds of individuals but I don't thumb through my word-a-day calendar to enhance my vocabulary before meetings and I don't try to use convoluted analogies to make a point.

Let me give you an example:

Question 1: What do you see is your role as a leader in the organization?

Here was his response: "It's like when you plant a tree or flowers and those flowers or trees, too, are out in the sun. Some trees will only grow in certain climates but others will grow in any climate. And flowers, too. You need to provide that climate so they'll grow. I also use the motivitators that the system has in place." (No, not a typo. He said motivitators.)

Uh huh, uh huh, I see...

Question 2: What systems are in place to help you be an effective leader?

"I can't just do it all myself. Take my shirt for example. It doesn't just wear itself. It's made up of a series of seams and stitching that make it stay on my body. Do you see what I'm saying?"

Uh huh, uh huh, I do....

Moderator: "Okay, thank you all for your responses. Do we have any questions from the audience?"

Yes. What the F#$! is that guy talking about?

Our meeting was held in Shaker Heights, which if this sounds familiar to you, is the name of the city that President Obama held his town hall meeting in today after he visited the Cleveland Clinic. Yesterday, you may have caught a reporter asking the President why he chose to visit the Cleveland Clinic. He floundered for a moment before he said that the reason he chose the Clinic was for its "doctors unique focus on patient care and affordable services over profit."

Let me clarify this for you. It's bull. I work for the OTHER large healthcare institution in Cleveland that shall remain unnamed. The Clinic does not have more affordable services. In fact, dollar for dollar, a great majority of their services are higher priced than ours. What attracted Obama was the model that the Clinic employs regarding physician salaries.

A number of healthcare institutions work on an incentivized model of compensation for their physicians. What this means is that a physician will be paid X number of dollars as a base salary and has the opportunity to earn additional money based on surgeries, higher numbers of patient visits, etc. The perception is that this type of model encourages unnecessary tests and procedures soley for the benefit of the physician's bottom line.

The Clinic has all of their physicians on a flat salary but don't think for a second that administration doesn't know dollar for dollar where those doctors stand at any given minute of the day. Meet your productivity or lose your job. Which is better? I really don't know. And I could give you a long dissertation on the state of healthcare but I'll save you from that.

Instead I'm going to prepare for my staff meeting tomorrow by deciding what kind of flower I am and making sure that I wear a blouse with seams. I want to be sure that I motivitate everyone because I know that some of them are unedumacated.


  1. "Instead I'm going to prepare for my staff meeting tomorrow by deciding what kind of flower I am and making sure that I wear a blouse with seams. I want to be sure that I motivitate everyone because I know that some of them are unedumacated."

    HAHAHAHAHAHA! Chrissy, that was flawless!!!!!

  2. Thanks, Ron! Have a great Sunday!

  3. I could use a little motivitation about now:) Dare I ask what kind of flower you think you are? I am thinking I am more of a tree - a palm tree. I need lots of sand and sun and coconuts - and I need them soon.

  4. Well, Liz, I fancy myself a Virginia Bluebell. They thrive in the shade and they're wider at the bottom.

    I think you should start thinking of yourself as a Venus Flytrap! That will help you get through all the work crap.


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