Physician executives … our best healthcare thought leaders?

Thoughts and ideas from The Physician Executive
Physician executives … our best healthcare thought leaders?
August 9, 2017 at 12:00 AM
by The Physician Executive

What is a physician thought leader?

In a perfect world, practicing physicians would have ample time on the job to listen, diagnose, explain and prescribe.

In that same perfect world, physician executives would contribute meaningfully to our current heated national debate on health care, or to conversations about public education, or how important vaccination is for the public’s health, and be heard. Respectfully and productively.

But our world is far from perfect, and it’s tough to care enough about national conversations, let alone figure out how to contribute to the society around us in a useful way.

This is where I believe physician thought leadership is vital.

Wikipedia defines a thought leader as “a futurist or person who is recognized for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights”.

Translation for us = “a physician who comes up with valuable ideas or concepts which they are able to share and consequently influence people to take action”.

Read this heady stuff:

Some visions of thought leaders are “to fuel the evolution of leaders who choose to contribute to sustaining life (body, mind and spirit) in ourselves, our organizations, and our communities”. They believe “that leadership development is rooted in personal development and organizational transformation is rooted in individual transformation”.

I love the “sustaining body, mind and spirit” part!

Where are our physician thought leaders?

What was strikingly absent from me in the recent health care reform debacle appears to be a unified chorus of thoughtful physician voices. We are as much drowned out as we are likely divided!

So why do I think this concept of thought leadership is relevant to physician executives, and other business-minded healthcare folks?

I believe that we, as hard-working creatures, are fired up by inspiring ideas, proposals and solutions. Our passionate, creative juices flow when we’re stimulated to think more deeply about the problems we encounter and the ways we might address them.

A coach colleague, Andrea Lee reminds her readers that the pathway to becoming an agent of change and to be heard above the din is to take a BOP (bold, outrageous, provocative) stand.

How to be the best physician thought leaders?

Ways your thought leadership as physician executives and leaders can impact your immediate world include:

  • Creating community
  • Creating connection – in person, virtual, local, global, one on one, one to many
  • Creating powerful models of caring – address the deeper “soul” needs of those for whom your organizations provide care AND for those who surround you at work and in life
  • Creating solutions by addressing the problems that often lie right in front of our noses
  • Cultivating knowledge and doing away with ignorance
  • Civilizing and fostering organizational cultures to build greatness
  • Cutting through the clamor
  • Clarifying what is confusing
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Creating wealth and profit for you and others

How will you stand up and be counted as a physician executive who exercises thought leadership in your family, community or country?

What is your BOP position?