Friday, October 20, 2017

Riders on the Storm

As I have often said, your ability to lead and lead well is tied to your capacity to make decisions - both the tough calls as well as the no brainers. Frankly, leadership is really all about decisions - the skill to navigate choice after choice and keep moving things forward. Of course, when you are new to a leadership position, there is always a bit of an additional learning curve when it comes to directing your organization and decision making.

Well, I am here to tell you, there’s nothing like a once-in-a-century storm coming directly towards your hospital on your twelfth day in a job to kick things up a notch! I am certainly confident about my ability to lead and work hand in hand with the great team here at Tampa General Hospital, but preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Irma made my second week of work a little more exciting than I had expected.

Thankfully this was not my first storm and my team had put all the necessary procedures in place long before I arrived. When all was said and done, we were fortunate that Irma was not as severe here in Tampa as predicted. Still, caring for 700 patients in a waterfront hospital is a major undertaking – and my team handled every aspect like champs. We had 2,700 team members and close to 200 physicians in the hospital around the clock for three days. No patient was ever in harm’s way.

For me, the arrival of Irma was somewhat of a blessing. It allowed me to get an immediate sense of how my team works together and how I can work with them to harness the best possible results. It also got me thinking about some tactics to deploy when leading during an emergency:

  • Use the crisis as a learning experience. Seize the opportunity to learn about and from your fellow team members. There is nothing like working together for three straight days to gain more insight into who your team are as people. I also doubt there is a better opportunity to learn from them than during a crisis situation.
  • Preparation is vital. Our TGH team has an extensive emergency plan and that preparation allowed us to focus on our mission and care for patients.
  • In a crisis, leaders must be present, engaged and focused. It’s important that you stay calm to keep your team calm and focused. Know when to step aside and let your team do the work that needs to be done and conversely, when to step in to keep everybody moving forward or even when to lend an ear or offer a comforting word.

And while leadership is about making decisions, one of the easiest decisions to make was to step out of the way to allow my team to shine during the storm and help out in any way I could.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Take Responsibility and Gain Trust

In my last post, I talked at great length about what it means to possess and execute emotional intelligence and ways in which you can strengthen those emotional intelligence muscles to improve your leadership abilities.  As I previously pointed out, one of the ways to increase your level of emotional intelligence is by practicing accountability.

The reality is that accountability, despite being often overlooked as a key leadership skill, is critical to success. A 2016 study by the talent development and transition company, Lee Hecht Harrison, which surveyed 1,900 human resource professionals and business leaders across the globe, found that 71% of respondents believe that leadership accountability is a critical but often overlooked business issue. The data also showed that only 31% were satisfied with the degree of accountability being shown by their leaders.

But what does it mean to be accountable—to practice accountability? On the most basic level, it means that you take responsibility for your actions and the decisions you make. You own outcomes—good or bad—and you don’t blame others or external factors when things don’t go according to planned. 

Yet, there is more to practicing accountability than standing up and owning your own work, your decisions and the results they produce. Practicing accountability is really about developing a deep and mutual trust with those to whom you are accountable—your team. Here are some ways in which you can develop that trust:
  • Have honest conversations with team members—be truthful and real in all that you say and do.
  • Communicate authentically and clearly at all times—let them know what you want, need and expect.
  • Don’t accept excuses or the blame game—from yourself or fellow team members.
  • Work together to figure out the problems and road blocks that are limiting performance and develop skills within the group to maximize impact.
  • Call the group together as soon as you can to share successes and good news.
When you practice real accountability, you are saying to your team: “Trust me. I am honest and clear with you about how I operate, what I care about and my personal and professional expectations of you. I want us to succeed together.” And when you do that, you are then able to ask the same of your team members. They will step up, give their best and be personally accountable because they know that you have their back. In short, where you lead, they will follow. And you will all move forward on a path towards success.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Podcast 007: Dr. Robert Biscup — Regenerative Medicine

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Robert Biscup, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has practiced for over 25 years. He is a pioneer in major reconstructive, previously failed, and minimally invasive spine surgeries. He is a fellow of the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics, a Senior Examiner for the American Osteopathic Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards for his work in orthopedics.

Tune in to this episode, as Dr. Biscup discusses his cutting-edge implementation of adult stem cell therapy in regenerative medicine, and explains how the therapies he is offering could be the cure for various forms of chronic pain.


Key Takeaways: [:24] John introduces his guest for this episode — Dr. Robert Biscup. [2:44] What is regenerative medicine? [4:13] How does regenerative medicine work? [8:14] How does a potential patient of regenerative medicine enter the system, and what can he or she expect? Dr. Biscup explains with two examples. [14:16] How long does it usually take for a patient to see the effects of the therapy? [15:52] What are Dr. Biscup’s top health tips? [18:46] Dr. Biscup is one of the most innovative physicians that John has worked with. John shares his experience of meeting with one of Dr. Biscup’s patients who had finally found relief from her back pain, thanks to his innovative therapy. [20:37] You can find out more about regenerative medicine and the therapies Dr. Biscup offers, via his website, or call (561) 578-4880 to get in touch directly with his office. Mentioned in This Episode: Inventing Health with John Couris Inventing Health on iTunes John Couris on LinkedIn Dr. Robert Biscup

Friday, September 22, 2017

I Second That Emotion(al) Intelligence

I recently posted a blog advocating putting what is best for your business ahead of your personal feelings. Expanding on that post, I would argue that effective leadership is not only about keeping your emotions in check, but leading your team with emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and calibrate your own emotions as well as the ability to respond effectively to those of others. It is also being aware of how your words and actions affect your colleagues and team members. Being in tune with your emotions and the emotions of others, as well as having the ability to understand the dynamics of your environment, are key skills to possess when leading a team.

According to Daniel Coleman, an American psychologist who has written extensively on emotional intelligence, there are five attributes that leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence possess:

  • Self-awareness: Leaders who are self-aware possess the ability to understand their feelings and how their feelings affect other people.
  • Self-management: The best managers are those who are able to keep their feelings in check and remain in control even during trying times.
  • Empathy: If you are able to walk in others’ shoes and be compassionate, you will have stronger and more positive relationships with fellow team members. 
  • Motivation: Working towards the high standards and goals you set for yourself is critical to managerial success.
  • Social skills: Managers who can effectively communicate, speak passionately and encourage team members are more likely to motivate performance and drive positive results.

Understanding emotional intelligence is only part of the equation. Let’s face it. Very few of us are born with the behaviors that comprise strong emotional intelligence and like most things, we have to work to develop these soft skills. With that in mind, here are some things we can all do to improve upon our ability to lead with emotional intelligence:

  • Keep a journal to help you become more self-aware
  • Slow down and reflect on how you are feeling and behaving
  • Practice being calm and centered
  • Hold yourself accountable by making a commitment to admit mistakes and take responsibility
  • Be positive, optimistic and hopeful and encourage that in others
  • Take stock of your own performance on a regular basis
  • Pay attention to other people’s feelings and body language as a way to gauge how you are coming across and affecting others
  • Learn conflict resolution
  • Focus on encouraging and praising team members

At the end of the day, the better we can relate to and work with others, the more successful we will be. Working on your own emotional intelligence can turn you from a strong leader into an exceptional one.