Sharpen Yourself for Leadership: Three Resources to Consider

by Francine Gaillour, MD

in Career Resilience & Fulfillment,Innovation and Entrepreneurship,Transformational Leadership

Are you keeping up with the latest ideas being floated in the board room? How are you getting yourself ready for the next level of responsibility? Do you KNOW what that next level IS? I want to share some ideas for how you can “upgrade” yourself this summer with some easy reading.

The picture above was taken during the Spring ACPE Induction Dinner for new  Diplomates and Certified Physician Executives.  I am the female on the far right standing among several other former and current board members of the ACPE, many of who made the special effort to attend and honor Roger Shencke, founder and newly retired CEO of the ACPE.  Roger is just to the right of Cindy Sherry, MD, (center) the outgoing President of the ACPE board.  She presided over the search for the new ACPE CEO, Dr. Barry Silbaugh.

For the past thirteen years I’ve had the good fortune of working among and with hundreds of physician leaders and business innovators. As a leader, consultant and coach, I’ve developed a reading and conference routine that helps me stay current with change management concepts and strategies “du jour” that are being adopted by heatlhcare teams.

I find that if I am diligent about staying current with at least these 3 resources, I will be introduced to new ideas, current strategies, new people and organizations.

Resource #1: Join the American College of Physician Executives

Honestly I don’t get any kind of kick-back, but joining the ACPE is a slam-dunk resource for you for a couple of reasons: 1) you can participate in their foundational or advanced medical management courses, and 2) you will meet other physicians with a broad spectrum of experience who can be a resource for you as you tackle health system challenges.

Over my 13 years of membership my attendance at the conferences has waxed and waned depending on what else I have going on. However, whenever I choose to attend, I am always inspired by the instructors and the level of discourse among the physician attendees. At the April meeting I attended the Vanguard sessions (for experienced physician leaders) and was inspired by two lectures: one by Craig Clapper on High Reliability Organizations and the importance of creating behaviors that support HRO structure, and second, Daniel Zismer’s discussion on the “new” integrated healthcare delivery organizations and the financial drivers forcing hospitals and physician groups to come together.

Resource #2: Subscribe to a Core Set of Business Journals and Newsletters

While I may not read every one of these journals cover to cover, sometimes just a single article that crosses by “radar’ in a couple months time will provide insight that seems timely and applicable to an issue a client may be dealing with.

Here are my top THREE recommended business journals:

* Wall Street Journal – this journal has featured some of the best healthcare business writing I’ve read. Their career management articles are also outstanding.
* Fast Company – this is a different kind of journal (the online newsletter and articles are also an option) that is devoted to innovative ideas and thinking.
* Harvard Business Review – I routinely hand out reprints of HBR classics to my clients, they are that GOOD and applicable to healthcare leaders.

Resource #3: Read Best-Selling Business Books

Many of today’s business book ‘best-sellers’ will not having staying power, however I’m always amazed at how many “classics” that are still on the top 10 list are two or more decades old! If you’re starting from scratch when it comes to best-selling business books, I suggest you add these CLASSICS to your library first:

* Leading Change by John Kotter
* The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge
* The Art of Possibility by Zander and Zander
* Built to Last and Good to Great by Jim Collins (and Jerry Poras for Built)
* First, Break All the Rules by Markus Buckingham
* On Becoming a Leader by Warren Bennis

If you’ve already covered the classics, look at what’s been in the New York Times or Wall Street Journal top selling BUSINESS books over the past 12 months. Here are a few recommendations:

* The Tipping Point and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
* Leadership and Self Deception by the Arbinger Institute
* The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Actually that last resource, The Last Lecture, is best seen and listened to, via this YouTube link. Professor Pausch (right with his children) was an amazing, inspiring leader that many physicians can relate to. He delivered this “last lecture” in the final year of his battle with pancreatic cancer.


I’ll be curious to learn if these resources are new to you, and if so, email me and tell me what book(s) you have chose to read over the summer.

I always appreciate hearing how our “Daring Doctors” are progressing along their leadership journey.

Best regards,

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