I love analogies and often look to draw lessons from other industries to apply to the post-acute care services world, which includes Ankota’s customers in Home Health Care, Private Duty or Private Pay Home Care, HME, Infusion, Respiratory Therapy, and so on. As the need to coordinate services among multiple providers intensifies, and new entrants like Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) assume more prominent positions, leadership models will be challenged and new leaders will emerge. Whether inside your organization or in our industry at large, never before has the issue of leadership been more critical. Never before has there been greater opportunity.
Current events in Egypt provide a few key, very compelling examples of failed leadership that apply directly to our world of healthcare.
What Mubarak ignored at his peril
Originally published in the Washington Post Feb 2, 2011, by John R Ryan.
Question: Egypt's unfolding political crisis raises a broader question: Can an entrenched, powerful leader, one who has resisted change, successfully lead a country or an organization in a different direction if circumstances suddenly demand it? Or is it necessary to bring in new leadership?
Watching events unfold in Egypt reminds me that the country's ruling class would have benefited greatly from reading American futurist Bob Johansen's groundbreaking book Leaders Make the Future when it published two years ago. In it, Johansen and his colleagues at the Institute for the Future pinpointed ten trends that leaders of any organization or nation ignore at their peril. The crisis in Egypt highlights two of them in particular.
First, Johansen foresaw the rising influence of "smart mob organizing," through which social networks are used creatively and purposely to fuel change. We've recently seen the value of Facebook, You Tube, Twitter and other social media vehicles in growing America's Tea Party and fomenting revolution in Tunisia. Now, the same tools are proving to be powerful change agents in Egypt. Efforts by the Egyptian government to crack down on them highlighted its hostility toward another emerging trend named by Johansen: quiet transparency.
To quote Johansen on leading in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world: "Quiet transparency in leadership begins with humility. ...leaders will definitely have to give up some control. They need to decide what they can and want to manage, since they cannot directly supervise everything. Leadership control is something of an illusion."
The protesting Egyptian citizens want to be recognized, respected and valued by their leaders. Egypt's leaders, however, have fought tooth and nail to maintain total control, even up to this very moment--and that has indicated a lack of foresight and judgment, and a misplaced sense of urgency. The complexity in our world demands more capable leadership that creates direction, alignment and commitment, which means we need interdependent leaders at all levels of governments and organizations.
Increasingly, leaders today can accomplish little or nothing without trust from their followers. Being open and authentic, maintaining an attitude of servant leadership, builds that trust. Efforts to dissemble or manipulate tear it down. Our approach to leadership, like eating or exercise, is a habit developed over years. Turning around self-defeating practices can be done over time with a lot of effort. But the cumulative effect of those habits makes it extremely difficult for an entrenched leader to move a country or company in a different direction on a dime. Turning around GM required a fresh approach and new leaders. It's hard to see how the case of Egypt, where a giant, explosive divide exists between the wealthy elite and the newly energized masses, will be different.