On "One call not to put on hold" (April 21, p. 26), about why healthcare chief executives should listen when their counterparts at information
system vendors call:
Healthcare leaders can learn much from leaders in other industries. I've gained more new ideas talking to leaders in other businesses than talking to those in healthcare-after all, their ideas are already out there in the trade journals. A recent visit to the Walton Institute in Bentonville, Ark., part of the Wal-Mart Stores company, to see how Wal-Mart trains managers really brought home lessons about team building and accountability.
Other calls to always take are those from patients inquiring about their care. They bring reality to the customer's experience and challenge the reports of your people that "everything is working well." These calls find the gaps that are hiding. Sometimes they are even compliments.
Division of Regional Medical Practice
Cleveland Clinic Foundation
On "Follow your instincts" (March 3, p. 24), about using intuition in making business decisions:
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your columns in Modern Healthcare. You are a gifted writer and your leadership and character shine through in all of your writing.
President and chief executive officer
Christus Spohn Health System
Corpus Christi, Texas
On "Life lessons" (March 17, p. 50), about the virtues of H. Jackson Brown Jr.'s Life's Little Instruction Book:
I just finished reading your column over a nice cup of hot tea. I truly enjoyed this article. In a similar vein, another book that I enjoyed was Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life, by Spencer Johnson. I can really identify the characters in the book with my staff of five.
Director of health information management
Chelsea (Mass.) Soldiers' Home/Quigley Memorial Hospital
On "Pay the services some lip" (Feb. 17, p. 24), about the need to thank our men and women in uniform for their sacrifices:
Several years ago, when on the bus to return me to my car after a recent sales trip, I sat across from a couple (husband and wife) in uniform. They were obviously career service personnel.
I was moved to thank them for their service to our country and all but apologized that I had never taken the opportunity to do this before.
I was shocked at their reaction. She cried and he got up and gave me one of the heartiest greetings I have ever received.
As it turned out they had just had an emotional discussion about whether they had chosen the right path in their lives. Obviously very talented and eloquent, these people could have been successful in many venues.
They had chosen to serve our country out of duty and patriotism. Over the years they have struggled with long separations, financial stability and wondered why. Did anyone care?
My comment was a matter of perfect timing. They shared that they could not remember the last time they were thanked by anyone.
I agree with you. We should take every chance we get to thank our service men and women. I hope your readers will take a moment and write personal notes to all those they know who may be put in harm's way to protect our way of life. We are much in debt to them.
On "Some simple sales sayings" (April 7, p. 26), about the qualities that make a good salesperson:
I was fortunate enough to be hired not long ago by an administrator of a hospital group in Yuba City, Calif.-in fact, the hospital in which I was born-as director of materials management. My first week on the job, I found a stack of Modern Healthcare magazines and began reading them all-which is where I discovered your column. From my first weeks here, I fell in love with my job and this industry. I have treasured every moment of this job. I work with a group of the most dedicated people who truly want nothing more than to do a good job and serve their community.
And each week, I take my Modern Healthcare magazine and go straight to the Publisher's Letter-where I get a chance to read yet another reason why I love this industry.
On my white board across from my desk I have this written in large letters: "Anyone in a management position should understand that it is a privilege, not a right, to lead others." That's a quote from you.
I have copied your articles and handed them out to my employees. You are my inspiration. You are a visionary; a kind, fair, intelligent leader in this industry. At a recent awards event in Las Vegas, I got to meet you. I am honored to say that when you kissed my hand, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for writing articles that make me think and push me to strive to be a better manager of my employees. Thank you for sharing your insight, your humor, your humility, your faith.
Director of materials management
Fremont-Rideout Health Group
Yuba City, Calif.