Tuesday, March 22, 2016

End of the beginning or beginning of the end?

Friends of Kicking Back, it has been a while since I have written here.

I could cite lots of excuses. Time at work, time for family, time for cleaning my room ... blah, blah, blah. I could even throw out my training for the 2016 B2VT, as painful as it has been so far.

Often times it takes a jarring event to bring one back from the funk they were in and just the other day at 5:15 AM, I was jarred back after being made aware Paul Levy had decided to stop writing at his blog Not Running A Hospital.

Ten years ago, nearly to the month Twitter was launched, Paul Levy began transforming an industry writing Not Running A Hospital (formally Running A Hospital) with his open and honest dialog about what it was like to be CEO of a 672 bed hospital, BIDMC. It was a staggering entry that was immediately met with open arms, and I am sure a few closed minds. Just take a look here at his first post and subsequent comments.

Now one of many things that was extraordinary to me in hindsight was Paul's role at BIDMC in the first place. That may sound strange for someone who is so established academically and a leader in industry, albeit not the medical one. Consider however that most hospitals retain CEO's that are or were active MD's at a point in time and this move to some I'm sure was a bit "odd."

Good leadership knows no bounds however and BIDMC through Paul's leadership flourished through his transparency, passion, and culture of quality he created.

I could write for a very long time about some of his extraordinary corporate accomplishments he created with his leadership or quality lessons he brought to the health care arena. Even for an individual like myself who is not overly familiar with the medical field, the issues he took on and the results he gained were clear. This however is not the venue for such comments.

Notably here, a substantial part of his time is spent within the soccer community, notably as a coach and referee. His leadership, true leadership, inside and surrounding the soccer field I believe is worth significant note here on Kicking Back. For all who read linked articles here or went directly to NRAH, it was clear that some of the leadership lessons he took with him to the boardroom began on the soccer field.

I reflected on that thought for a while as for me personally, the lessons I have learned, and am currently learning with this common love for The Game we share is frankly staggering.

Paul was never most clear about this exchange of ideas from field to boardroom than in his closing blog entry, "30", where he credits "the hundreds of girls ... coached in youth soccer over the course of over two decades. They've taught ... immensely important leadership and teamwork lessons ... ."

Also, if you have read his book "Goal Play!" (and I recommend you do) you will see his passion for The Game and the essential point that lessons learned on the soccer field and the business world are not so distinct after all.

NRAH always had a regular story about the intersection of leadership and soccer from various points of view. Sometimes referee, coach, administrator, or even spectator. As one of many fantastic examples, take a look at "A lesson for a coach" as it is most instructive on perspective and humility.

Most inspiring about his blog is the fact that he has the highest respect for the people who make organizations go. I recall reading recently about when tough times fell on BIDMC (as well as everyone else) and not to be deterred he got everyone together as asked how to protect some of the employees they were a bit more vulnerable to the financial stress the hospital was being put under. Reports of the story continue with a wave of applause and a plethora of potential solutions even knowing it would "pinch" others.

That is leadership.

While I have deeply personal memories of Paul and am immensely thankful for the times we have interacted, I will miss the regular perspective from NRAH on both business and even more on all perspectives soccer.

Fortunately he has decided to keep the blog up for the time being, and I would strongly recommend a look as it is a tremendous repository of transparent, straight shooting, and compassionate leadership lessons that should be required reading for any leader.

Thank you Paul for your 10 years of great lessons and thank you also for your service to The Game.
I look forward to the next time we see each other.

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