March 18, 2016

Robert Shor, MD, FACC

This is Rosanne's last Leadership piece for our BOG Weekly Update during my tenure as Chair of the BOG. This has been part of our BOG Leadership development program; it is hard to believe that this began with Rosanne providing and directing our Myers-Briggs exercise at ACC.15. We all remember this as entertaining and enlightening. Rosanne has provided a series of enjoyable articles over the last year intended to enhance our effectiveness as leaders. This series is available for retrieval and review from our new BOG Leadership Portal. I know I speak for the entire BOG in thanking her for her contributions and I look forward to future installments.

This BOG Update is brought to you by Rosanne Nelson, MBA, MA/OD, Director of Leadership Development at the ACC.

Leadership Development: Spring Forward

It was a weekend filled with soccer games, birthday parties, and typical toddler mayhem. In the days leading up, my husband and I were already strategizing how we could adjust the kids' sleep schedule to get in front of daylight saving time. Yes, this is a thing.

Last night, at an unseemly hour, our children remained wide awake. Two little ones singing holiday tunes at 9 p.m., reminding us how 'not tired' they were. Of course, it was the impact of daylight savings. And, of course, planning ahead served to be futile. Despite our best effort, it came down to one simple question, from one curious five year old. "Why am I going to sleep while it's still light out?" And, instead of rattling off something about saving energy and regional timing differences, I simply said: "well, it's what we call 'spring forward.'". There wasn't much more I could tell her, other than the simple truth. This may be a hard transition, again. You may need to adjust your sleep a little bit, again. You may fight this each night, again. However, at the end of the day, we will all adjust and be better for it. Like so many things.

In many of the articles I've been fortunate to contribute to you all, I've drawn an intentional parallel between my life at home, and our collective lives at the office or respective institution. This is by design. In a former organization, we would say "you bring your whole self to work". There was no greater truth then and no greater reality now. Over the past 12 months, we've covered topics ranging from leveraging the diversity within our teams, to flexing our style in support of the variability within our days, while embracing conflict and managing change. Equally intentional, I continued to underscore the importance of authenticity and adaptability throughout. These are not skills that we leave at the hospital door each night... we take these topics home...we see them at our schools, our places of worship, we live them with our family.

Once a microelement of how organizations were run, we now see leadership development as a critical component embedded in nearly every element of our organizational lives. Supported by decades of research, literature and best practice data, the industry of leadership development continues to expand beyond the boardroom to our children's homeroom and everywhere in between.

We may not often realize it, but we are each springing forward, adapting, flexing. Once a 'nice to have' competency, adaptability is now considered the trademark of leadership effectiveness. And, for good reason. Adapting your leadership style in order to meet the diverse needs of your respective environment, and the varied constructs of your care team or staff, is far more effective than staying in the comfort zone of one leadership style or tendency. Adaptable leadership is not only about anticipating the change, but accepting and leveraging the change as an opportunity to spring forward. All the while, staying grounded to your core values and leadership philosophy. Being the leader you would follow. There is power in such simplicity.

Living and leading today are much like swimming in the unpredictable, treacherous Lake Superior, the 4th largest body of fresh water in the world. We dive into the water, and we never really know what is going to happen next. Although we operate under the illusion that life remains constant, clear, and under our control, this is far from reality. Everything is always changing, and often situations and choices are unclear, uncertain, even murky. To succeed in our volatile, complex, ambiguous world, we have no choice but to master our ability to adapt and learn. (Cashman 2013)

In order to lead effectively through the day-to-day rigor of our lives, we must pivot alongside. As with our daylight saving time efforts, we expected the change, we planned for the change, yet we still fought to 'outsmart' the change. In the end, we spent more time planning and less time adapting. From a leadership perspective, there parallels are uncanny.

For this month's article on Leadership, included below are a few quick tips on further developing an adaptive mindset. Make it your goal to try one or all within the next 90 days. You may be surprised how challenging these are!

  • Reassess the 'rules'. Do something differently within the next 90 days. Step out of your comfort zone, and stay attuned to your internal response/s. How does stepping out of your leadership comfort zone feel? What is the impact to those around you? Is adapting to the change easier than you expected?
  • Think twice about saying yes or no. Ask questions. You teach more through questions, and learn more about your tolerance for change in the process.
  • Start your day differently. If you have a typical morning routine—same wake up time, same breakfast, same route to work—change it up. Routines tend to flow into one another. Starting your morning differently will trigger openness to doing things differently for the remainder of the day.
  • Be an early adopter. Rather than resisting change, be the first to embrace it. Change is often a good thing.

My sincere hope is each of the articles over the past year has provided a deeper awareness in areas of particular interest, insight in personal areas of focus, and helpful tools to support you alongside. Thank you kindly for the opportunity to contribute in such a meaningful manner and, should you wish to reference the year-in-review of leadership articles, please follow this link: