Leadership: Healthcare, Impact, & Nelson Mandela

This past week I have had the opportunity to participate in several various healthcare discussions. They have ranged from #HCLDR (Healthcare Leader) to #LCSM (Lung Cancer Social Media) to #JACR (The Journal of The American College of Radiology). I have had the privilege to join in the conversation and dialogue with some of the best of the best leaders when it comes to their respective topics.

With the passing of Mr. Nelson (Madiba) Mandela it made me pause for a moment and think of what it takes to be a leader. More importantly, to be a person that can make an impact in the lives of others. When I think of the wonderful Mandela, it is not his ideology or politics that inspire me, but it was his conviction to his own personal voice. To translate that story in a meaningful way that could move a single person, and then another, and yet another, until it became a nation of people moving along the same path to make an impact in the world.

As I sit here today, I pause to listen to my own voice. I remember graduating college, my first job in radiation therapy, and my first interviews. I remember that single question, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

My response, “I see myself being on the other side of the desk. I see myself being the one asking the questions during an interview. I see myself pushing others to think differently, to know that if we can think, we can make it a reality.”

I remember being laughed at by my other co-workers for having such big ideas and dreams. I recall being told that I needed a lot more “grey” factor before being able to really make a difference.

That was part of the fuel. It was another spark that made me believe in the fact that just because the past is referred to as “his-story” doesn’t mean that I do not possess the ability to make my own story. To make my own way.

Some of us lead by carrying a big stick. Others lead by using a megaphone so that everyone can hear what we have to say. There are groups that lead through collaboration and connecting the dots. Some lead by action, some by observation, and yet others by listening.

No matter what anyone’s particular style may be, at the very end, it is all about knowing yourself well enough to believe in your inner voice, and using your talents to impact others, to unite, and to make a measurable forward progress.

Perhaps my style 10 years ago was not refined,or maybe the world wasn’t ready for my line of thinking. Maybe I just didn’t have the right words to express those wild ideas floating in my head.

I am a listener. I want to stop and listen to the needs and expectations of all the stakeholders: patients and physicians to government and payers or vendors and consumers. In listening I can understand their point of view. I can walk a mile in their shoes. I then am able to articulate a conversation in various ways to bring meaning to each of them, by using their common language. It isn’t about me forcing my story on them, but about my providing some benefit to their stories.

I may not ever be a Nelson Mandela. To be honest, I do not want the world to remember my name. I want more. I want to lead with impact. I want to make a dent.

My story is about trying to touch the life of one patient at a time. One family at a time. One staff member at a time. One physician at a time. One administrator, payer, government leader, one human at a time. If I can live in the moment, and bring a bit of meaning to their challenge, I have the ability to make a small impact in their story. Moving forward they will make an impact in the lives of others, and it because a chain reaction.

I hope that my story of leadership will begin with making an impact one human at a time. The final line I want my story to read is simple:

Andy made a positive dent in the universe.

What do you want your story of leadership to say?

As always, you can feel free to contact me at: CANCERGEEK@GMAIL.COM or follow me on twitter @cancergeek


#PtExp #PX #cancer #hcldr #hccosts #hcsm #stories #storytelling #lcsm #bcsm #Mandela #Madiba #radiologists #radiology

6 responses to “Leadership: Healthcare, Impact, & Nelson Mandela

  1. An admirable goal, and one we should all aspire to. If I can make a difference in the life of one person today, then I have done my job.

  2. Andy, your story makes me think of my favorite quote from Nelson Mandela

    There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living ~ Nelson Mandela

    Words to live by for us all I think.

    • Marie

      I completely agree with you. I love that quote.

      If I could embody even a small portion, I would be happy. I believe that is what life is all about. Making a difference.

      Thanks for sharing.


  3. Good morning Andy
    The internet gives anyone, including me, to make a difference. It gives us the power to reach out to anyone in the world, and to bring them together. Borders between countries mean less now.
    Maybe I am too bully on the powers of the internet, but I feel this tool is tremendous tool, in so many ways, especially with communicaton.

    • Dr. Bennett

      I agree with you. The internet allows us to live in a world with no borders, where someone in Arkansas can connect with another in Moscow. It allows for amplification. It allows for anyone that has an interest to find someone with a similar interest.

      It is one of many tools that we have at our finger tips. It is about sharing. Bringing value, as defined by another, to them when they are seeking it.

      I just hope to be able to share enough of myself to bring some value to another human. That is my hope, my vision, my intent.



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