Lessons from leaders who are quietly changing our world

05 Nov 2013

By Kevin Hardy and Jean Fagan

Pictured Prof. J.A. Muir Gray

The Asia Pacific Conference (APAC) has had its second meeting in Auckland and on both occasions I have walked away feeling energised by conversations with leaders who are out there with an agenda to quietly transform healthcare globally.

The key messages from APAC for me came from:

Maureen Bisognano is a great story teller and uses stories to bring alive presentations and discussions about patient engagement and about the importance of actually listening to, hearing, and, engaging with patients to understand “what matters to them”. The challenge for everyone is to engage with the world of others and not our own preconceptions, pre-emptive judgements and the premature application of our training.In fact, the same principles apply to leadership. If we cannot take the time to listen and hear the reality of others how can we connect vision, strategy, delivery and change the world “so that it cannot slide back”?

Maureen Bisognano was kind enough to allow me to interview her. The full video of the interview has been broken down into six short videos. You can access the full version or the shorter versions individually. Please take the time. It is worth hearing what Maureen has to say. She has stories to tell that are not only valuable, but in Sir Muir Gray’s terms, her stories ‘add real Value’.

Sir Muir has a tireless energy in challenging leaders to think beyond quality initiatives and incremental improvements. He is passionate about The Triple Aim ( better quality, greater safety, lower cost), but warns us that we must be rigorous in assessing the real Value we add or we run the risk of failure to deliver high impact change in meeting the healthcare needs of populations.

In his message, Sir Muir directs healthcare leaders to focus on being outcomes driven not service and output driven. He challenges workforces to look for the societal impact in terms of Value and for individuals to be “leadershipfull” – exhibiting characteristics of ethical and thoughtful leadership.

The third message for me came from a dinner I attended with a small, international group of inspiring healthcare leaders. The dinner took as its theme the idea of connection, leverage and support. We live in a “small”, but at times, disconnected world. The challenges are similar for all of us. To pick up on Maureen Bisognano’s and Sir Muir’s themes – there is powerful value in telling each other our stories, to listening and hearing each other for the good of the patient, the community and society.

The challenge is to find ways to connect and disconnect at speed, to build rigorous learning connections, to share in real time, to lend each other a helping hand globally.

In reality, to find ways to help each other rather than build dependence on external advisers and consultants. To draw on the wisdom and experience of each other and of peers. The potential is there to tap into global peer networks, build purposeful learning communities and create growing pockets of innovation that will accelerate the pace of necessary reform and drive real Value.