Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 1 year ago

Embracing Authentic Healthcare Leadership

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Being a leader in healthcare is not for the faint of heart. It requires grit and determination, and unlike many jobs, it doesn’t stop at 5 o’clock.

That’s why today’s guest, John Couris , President and CEO of Tampa General Hospital , believes that healthcare leadership is not just a job or a career—it’s a vocation.

In this episode, John talks about his journey in becoming a healthcare leader, and why the authentic leadership model is the most sustainable way to improve your organization.

We discuss:

  • The dedication it takes to be a successful leader in healthcare
  • The difficult decisions his team faced during the pandemic
  • Leading with authenticity, transparency, vulnerability, and kindness
  • Seeking out constructive criticism from staff

To hear this interview and more like it, subscribe to Heroes of Healthcare on Apple Podcasts , Spotify , or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Heroes of Healthcare in your favorite podcast player.

When you start to create psychological safety, you start to create an environment where people can really innovate and take risk and collaborate. You're listening to heroes of healthcare, the podcast that highlights bold, selfless professionals in the healthcare industry focused on transforming lives in their communities. Let's get into the show. Welcome to today's episode of heres of healthcare. We have a very special guest, CEO of Tamba General Hospital, John Corus. Even though not self proclaimed, John is a visionary leader dedicated to driving a culture of innovation and transformational leadership. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including being named to Florida trends, Florida five hundred, list of most influential business leaders in the state of Florida, as well as influence one hundred, the list of the most influential people in Florida politics. Tava General Hospital has almost tenzero team members, so we are honor John took time out of his very busy schedule to chat with us without further ado. Welcome to the show, John. It's great to be here. Thanks for having me, of course, and one of the things that are listeners I know would love to hear is to really understand what got you into the healthcare field to begin with. So could you start by letting US know that? Sure, you know, there were a couple things that really intrigued me about getting into healthcare. The first was sort of the mission of healthcare and sort of the idea and the notion that the industry is focused on helping others. The other reason I was really interested in healthcare is because some call healthcare the most complex business in the world or one of the most complex businesses in the world, and I love the complexity of healthcare and I love the nuances of healthcare. And so when you couple that with helping people, helping a community, helping society to stay healthy and well, and then you connect that to this idea and notion that it's complex, that it's highly nuanced, that it's extremely technical, it just sort of sinks up with the things that I enjoy most, and so that's what really kind of kept got me excited about the healthcare industry. And I got into healthcare. I mean I got recruited right out of college, you know, right out of Boston University. I got recruited by Massachusetts General Hospital and I never look back after that. Well, and with the complexities of healthcare. I joined health care for a similar reason and you never really know what the next day is going to ring and you don't. Yeah, and you certainly have to be a servant leader, just someone willing to help, help others in order to be in this industry and really be successful. So I can I can understand that and it certainly resonates being the CEO now of Tamba General. What do you love about that role and the Tampe of general community? Well, look, you know I started. You know what do I love being? You know, about the role of being CEO? I've got to go back a little bit and kind of just give maybe a one minute sort of explanation of my journey and healthcare, which will contextualize why I love doing what I'm doing, if that makes sense. You know, I started working in a nursing home through college in early on in my career as an orderly. You know, we call them patient transporters now. Back in the day they were orderlies because we did all sorts of things. We stock supply shells, we transported patients, we supported nursing, we did all sorts of things in our you know, in the industry and again I was just attracted to the mission of what healthcare is all about. So I started right on the ground level, right as an entry level person, and I worked my way up right. I...

...work my way up and through the entire industry from the very entry level rolls that I just described to the role that I am in today. And I've worked in every other type of capacity in between being a orderly to being the to being the CEO, and I've always wanted to do what I'm doing today. And that's not common. Actually. You know a lot of stories you hear. You hear people talking about the two or three different career changes they've made to get to the place that they're at. I knew early on in my career and again, it was just lucky, is it? I knew early on what I wanted to do, I knew early on what I was attracted to and I knew I wanted to be a leader of an organization like Tgh and I'm actually doing exactly what I set out to do in my career. And so what attracts me to being a CEO and being a leader of an organization like tgh is the notion of caring for others. I am very team member centric, so I start every day thinking about my people, thinking about what I need to do for the people that care for our patients, whether that be our nurses or our doctors, are allied health professionals, all of our team members. So that gets I enjoy that. That's something that excites me in the role that I'm mean I enjoy the strategy elements of my work, setting a vision, setting a plan, working with teams to execute on the vision and plan, seeing the outcomes of the of the vision and plan. And what's also sort of interesting is, you know, CEOS come up through different tracks. They they either come up through finance, they come up through strategy, that come up through operations. I came up through operations. So there is an element of what I do that's operational that I really do enjoy. Sometimes I joke with my coo and I say, you know, she drew the short Straw because I came up through operations. I was a coo and a past life earlier in my career, and so I enjoy, you know, the operational elements of a hospital and a health system, and so that's also something that I enjoy, you know, participating in and so when you take strategy and vision and caring for the people that I'm responsible leading and you tie that into sort of the complexities of the work that we do, that just really excites me. It's exciting, it's you know, I've never a joke and it's a sounds a little cliche people that's I've never worked a day in my life because I love my job and I love my career and I love what I'm doing. Well, the truth of the matter is I do love what I'm doing and I'm doing exactly what I set out to do. I have had rough days, like everybody right, but I'm really doing what I've always wanted to do and what I've trained for. So I'm I just, you know, I just enjoy the work and and truthfully, I get up every single morning excited to come to Tchh, because tgh is a wonderful organization with a strong culture and it's got wonderful people and it people that are carrying, people that are compassionate, people that are committed to the mission and vision of the institution, and that is really energizing. And so that's those are some of the things that get me excited as CEO of you organization. That's a great story too, and thank you for the background about how you got in to help here. Going even deeper, there's parting...

...your careers and as an orderly you really have to vote it your entire career to help here and seeing it at that level. I remember being a candy striper in high school. So it's similar, not the same thing, but but similar to, you know, really helping patients and delivering food and just making sure that they're cared for. And when you see it from that Lens and you now being on the other side of things and working through I'm sure that changes the way that you lead others because you have been at the ground level before. You know what I've I you're absolutely right. You know, one of the things that I tell young administrators who want to do what I do or think they want to do what I do, is I asked him a very important question and not let me preface it by saying it's important to balance, you know, your work with personal life and your work with staying healthy and being happy, and you know the balances and port but what I ask people is, as I say, because this is more like a vocation than it is like a job or a career. I mean it's a vocation and and being a successful CEO or being a successful quite frankly, at submit to you, being a successful leader in healthcare. It's not really a job where you can kind of turn off at five o'clock. It's more like an extension of who you are. It's something that really requires your whole family to be committed to. You know, my wife and my kids, they've all had to sacrifice, right because when you run and you lead an organization that literally operates twenty four hours a day, seven days a week and never shuts off, you have to figure out a way to strike a balance. But it it's but really it's an extension of who you are, because it's not like something you can say hey, after five o'clock, don't call me that that wouldn't make you a very effective leader, that wouldn't make you a world class leader, in my opinion. And so you have to love what you're doing in healthcare because it truly is an extension of who you are. It's something you're all way. You always have to be available for your team members, for your physicians, for your community for your patients, because it's the type of organization that you're running. So truly loving and being committed to your profession is critically important. If you don't view the world that way, you may very well become a CEO. You probably won't be an effective CEO or the most effective CEO you can be if you create those artificial barriers. So loving what you're doing is critically important because it is an extension of who you are and it affects your entire life and and unfortunately, you're fortunately depending on your perspective. The organization needs that because, like I said, this word annoting a healthcare system or hospital never turns off. It's always on and you always have to be available. That's great advice and it's true. You mentioned that you're it's at home too, so it really is part of your it's part of your life and then just your osmosis. It's part of your children's lives and it's part of your wife's life. Do you think either of your kids will want to go into healthcare from seeing what dad does every day? No, no, they will not go into healthcare. My healthcare career has provided a great life for my family and continues to provide a great life for my family, but it has come with a great deal of sacrifice. I'm available, like probably so many of the listeners, so I'm no different than probably most. I'm available seven days a week, twenty four hours a day.

That takes a toll on the family to a degree. Now you you figure out how to balance that. Don't get me wrong, we go on vacations. We find balance, no question, but they see how hard their father works, they see that there's that. It's sort of all the time. They recognize the importance and significance of the role that I play for my community in my state, and it's a lot. It's a lot. This this this kind of rule, this kind of profession, is not for the faint to heart. It's not. You have to have a lot of Grit, you have to have a lot of determination, you have to lot have a lot of discipline and focus and you just you have to be committed. I look at myself as a student of the industry. I learned from people every day. Every day I'm engaged in healthcare, in the industry, every day, whether I'm reading, studying, learning from others, engaging in what's going on in the industry. It's something that's sort of very organic in dynamic and I think they see that and at one level they see up how happy I am, but I also think they see how hard the work is. It's just I don't see them going in to my profession because I think they've seen how hard the work is. Absolutely and at the end of the day, though, would help here. Another thing that makes it so special, and what you're alluding to, is a patient's life is being saved or someone's life is is being saved because of the the role in the work that's being done. No matter what that role is or how small someone might see it, there is someone. It's it all comes together and a life is being saved because of that work. I've heard other healthcare leaders say over the past two years they've had to make decisions they've never thought they would have to make it. Can you tell us, if you don't mind sharing, what are some of the more difficult decisions you've had to make over the past couple of years during the pandemic? Yeah, it's a great it's a great question. No question. The last nineteen months have been challenging, to say the least. You know the decisions that we've had to make have been difficult. You know, some of them have been difficult. So, for example, when we when when we started to see a surge in covid nineteen patients, converting units into covid units has been a difficult set of decisions because we've had to sort of move around the portfolio of clinical services that we provide a community. So we're lucky because we're a really large institution, or one of the largest free standing institutions in the country. The thousand and forty one beds were building. Will we're going to be twelve hut close to close to one hundred beds when we're done with the first phase of our master facilities plan. So at the peak of the last surge, which is this which was the Delta variant, we had two hundred and fifty eight covid patients in the hospital and we had twelve covid units in the hospital. Very difficult decisions to temporarily either close or move around or amend different departments in units to build capacity for covid patients. Those were some really difficult decisions. Now I'm happy to cheer with the audience. We didn't have to furlough pate people. We didn't have to lay anyone off some matter of fact, we doubled down on our team members and we provided all sorts of support for them. From a psycho social perspective,...

...from a monetary perspective, everyone had employment, everybody. But making decisions around how we were going to manage the cohort of covid nineteen patients was difficult and was very challenging. We never ran out of I see you beds, we never ran out of ventilators, we never ran out of the ability to provide heated high flow, which is sort of a modality, a step away from a ventilator. We did Max out on our ECMO a few times where we just ran out of capacity for ECMO, but that never really affected patient care because we were able to work with other systems if we needed to. But we never found ourselves and that in that situation. So we were really fortunate because we're so large that, you know, I've I listened around the country to other hospitals and other in other states that are smaller than us and there are hospitals that are literally saying I've you know, we've run out of ICEE. You beds. We've never had. We never had that situation. But but in order to maintain flexibility and capacity for covid nineteen patients, we've had to make difficult decisions around programs that we had to temporarily discontinue in order to make capacity available to covid nineteen patients. Now those are a real difficult set of of decisions that we were confronted with and we you know. I mean if we didn't we would never think about having to deal with something like that pre pandemic, but we certainly were dealing with it while we were in the urges of this of this pandemic. I mean that's probably a good example of some of the things I was confronted with with my team. I will say a big shout out to my whole team, and there's a laundry lists of people, but one of the key people was my chief operating officer, Kelly Cullen, who didn't exist it has continues to do an extraordinarily good job at managing the response to Covid nineteen the Daytoday, moment to moment, tactical response to covid nineteen. Our patients were always kept in safe environments we had capacity, we had equipment, staff was very tight, very very tight, very stressed, but we've been managing through it. But that those are some difficult days trying to figure out, you know, load balancing around patients along with the non covid patients, because at the height of Covid, I think about twenty eight percent of our beds were filled with covid patients, but that means like seventy percent of our our beds were filled with non covid patients. So to balance that was was real challenging. We did it, we're continuing to do it. I will tell you that the volume of covid patients, if sitting here today through this interview, we have seventy two patients in the hospital right now for covid. At the height we had two hundred and fifty eight. So we're, you know, balancing all of that. It's been real tricky. And are your covid patient numbers continuing to decline? COVID numbers are continuing to decline and so is the positivity rate. So at the height of this last surge in our community the positivity rate was like twenty percent and I think even slightly north to twenty percent at its peak today, sitting here today with you. That's fine. I just looked at it a couple hours ago. I was on a call with somebody and I was looking at it for them. We're at about nine and a half percent positivity rate, which is great. That's market just which is great. Which is Great, I'm sure it's. It's something that your staff and your community are all very, very happy about and happy to be able to see a little bit of the light...

...at the end of the time. Yeah, little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. You know, fingers crossed that we don't deal with another variant and another surge. That's that's kind of what we're all holding our breaths over right now. I sure hope not, but it does sound like tg agent. What the what you've already put in place prior to this really helped to be prepared for this disaster or any other disaster that might strike. So I think that, coming away from this, you know now just how strong you are. You knew it before, but now it's really evident. Well, you know, it's a great that's a great point, Olivia. So some of the positives right, so we can get caught up in the negative, for sure, and quite frankly, I totally could understand how people could get caught up in the negative. But we also have to look at what we've learned through this and there's also some real positive takeaways, and just a few to share with the audience. One we've learned through this crisis that when we have to make quick decisions, men move fast and make quick changes. We can do it. We have the capability of doing that, of moving quickly, moving decisively, making change happen quickly. That that's that's powerful. That that that's real powerful. We certainly are. Are Stronger today than we were a year ago coming through this covid meaning we hung together as a team. Now, I'm not suggesting that what we're doing is perfect. We all, the entire industry, has struggled, okay, because no one, no one could have ever fathomed or contemplated what we've been going through over the last nineteen months. But as we come out of this, we are coming out stronger, we are coming out more resilient. It doesn't necessarily maybe feel like that right now, but we are. But we are because we're hanging together. We're getting through this together, the industry were caring for people, were recovering people. We're getting people back home to their families and that's powerful and I think that doctors and the nurses and the respiratory therapists and everybody else involved in caring for these patients need to remember this, that the vast majority of people that have been hospitalized or leaving the hospital alive and going back to their families and, over time, resuming normal lives, and that's because of the healthcare system and the excellence that the healthcare system represents across our country. So there is a lot to be learned through this on a on a positive side, as much as there is on sort of like the like negative side, right of like, because a lot of times what you hear is sort of the negative right and and don't get me wrong, our team members are tired, there even disenfranchised. They are worn out, they're a bit disillusioned and frustrated because of what's been going on, and, by the way, rightfully so. And and and the way I describe them is their warriors. They are absolute warriors. We are blessed to have the men and women in this country caring for people with Covid, but at the same time we are learning some really positive lessons through this and those can't be lost either, and we've got to look at it both ways. That that's our challenge as we kind of move forward, as we slowly transition, hopefully, out of...

...covid. I mean everyone realizes that covid now is endemic in our society. It's not going anywhere and this notion of saying well, we have this is new normal, John, it's there is no normal we have. We have to learn how to coexist and live side by side with covid. Nineteen that that's our reality. That's our reality and that's our challenge. That is definitely our challenge. Extremely well said. Shifting focus lightly, you mentioned at the beginning of this the recording. That one of the things that drove you to help here, as you love the complexities of it. You love that you were always going to be learning something new and it is a parent that you are a learner. You're always going to be a learner. You recently decided to pursue your doctorate and business administration. Can you tell us a little bit about what made you decide to go into that route and add more to your plate. Yeah, yeah, thanks for the question. So so in about a week and a half I will be defending my dissertation, wrapping up my three and a half year journey and it's been awesome. It's been great. So I have been pursuing my doctorate at the University of South Florida Moma College of business and I it is management. It's focused on management science and social science and I consider myself a lifelong learner. I consider myself a student of the industry, so I'm constantly learning from others. When I got here four years ago, I made it very clear to the organization that I wanted to challenge the organization and the people in the organization to develop themselves as professionals so they can grow and that we can evolve our corporate climate and our organizational culture. And part of that journey is education, right and and education is so important for the obvious reasons. So what I challenge the organization, as I said, look, for those that may not have your bachelor's degree, we're going to support you and getting your bachelor's degree. For those that may not have a master's, we're going to support you and getting a Master's for those of you who have a master's who want to pursue a doctoral program we want to support that as well. I felt like I needed to lead by example, though. So if I'm going to stand in front of an entire system of close to, you know, tenzero people and challenge them to challenge themselves, I have to lead by example. And I also know that I have a lot to learn and I wanted to get into the management sciences side of my world and I wanted to move from practitioner to scholar and I wanted to learn what that meant and I wanted to get onto that. I wanted to sort of start that journey right because I thought it would make me a better leader and I and my belief was is is, was that the institution tgh could benefit from the experience that I myself went through. Right. So it's lead by example, develop myself, because I'm a student of the industry and I believe in lifelong learning. And I also thought that, and believe my thesis was my organization will be a will be a better place because I will be developing myself, and that's the journey that I've been on. So my work for the last three and a half years has sent it around this notion of authetic leadership, and so my general hypothesis is that if you lead authentically, with transparency, which is part of the authetic leadership model, and you...

...lead with kindness and vulnerability, a few things happen in your organization. Trust in your people go up, engagement goes up and psychological safety improves. And then, when those things improve, your organizational results improve operationally, clinically and strategically. And not only do they improve, but they improve in a sustainable, reproducible way. And that was the last three years of my journey has been focused on that, studying that from a management science perspective, and it's been wonderful experience for me. I mean it really has. And what was born out of that, which is really kind of NEAT, is this new model that we're calling the TGH leadership model and what we're starting to teach all leaders. So we have about four hundred leaders in the organization, managers all the way up to my office. What we're going to be starting to teach every leader? It's the TGH leadership model. So how do you lead with authenticity, transparency, kindness and vulnerability? That is our leadership model. My work is the impetus to the model and sort of the driver behind it, and it's my work is backed up through management and social science, through scientific rigor. And we don't have time I'm today and I bore the audience getting into the nuances of it. But but I set up an experimental group, control groups. The research I did was approved by our IRB's, both at the university in the hospital. I mean this was a scientific experiment that we conducted over the last year of my three and a half year program in order to explore this model and it's impact on leadership. That's what I'll be defending on October eight and I'm excited about it. I mean, all my work is now done. Now I'm just studying for my actual oral presentation and then, hopefully it gets accepted, I'll be done and I will, you know, have graduated basically the program. I'm really, really excited about it. And what's really neat about what the University of South Florida is done is they've take they've built out a program that's a terminal degree, I might add, and they they take practitioners like me and they teach us to be most scholarly. They partner us with scholars to help them learn more about the practitioner side of the world so we can create something that's more contemporary for people to learn from across not just the healthcare industry but all into streets. It's been a wonderful experience, a wonderful program and I'll end with this. For me this is not the end, this is the beginning and and at the end of my dissertation. I get it's a little hokey, but I have a quote that says this is this dissertation is the match that lights a thousand candles to begin a journey over the next five to ten years of building out this model longitudinally, using science to to change climate into evolve culture in a sustainable, reproducible way. And that's the journey that we're on. And then so I'm I'm really I mean again, I could go on and on, but I'll stop here. But I'm really excited about the model. I'm excited about the...

...work that we've done and accomplished and be happy one day to share it with you. It's I mean, of course I find it fascinating. Other people might look at it and be bored to tears with it. But but it's it's it's significant and it works, quite frankly, in a from a real practical perspective, it's a very effective model. It sounds like you've been a part of an incredible program. The fact that Tjh is now going to be able to enter into your leadership program and the four hundred liters there are going to be able to benefit from your finding, that's remarkable and I would be humbled and I would love to learn all about it beside them. Obviously, as you mentioned, we don't have time to share all of that right now, but I think that any leader who wouldn't want to learn this framework and almost be given a blueprint for how to lead a team successfully, as well as help your teams thrive and help them grow, they may not suited for leadership. So I think it's wonderful that that you're going down this path. That being said, can you give us some examples of how to lead with vulnerability and kindness and how you currently instruct your teams to do this? Yeah, sure, absolutely. It's a great question. So so we'll focus just you on vulnerability and kindness. I think so. I think oftentimes people e quite vulnerability with weakness and it's quite to the contrary. If you can truly show vulnerability, I think it's a sign of strength actually, because, I mean, just think about it from a just from a from just purely a logical perspective, right. I mean, if you can open yourself up and you can sheer your idiosyncrasies, if you can admit mistakes, if you can meet people where they are and you can show a piece of yourself that sort of unfiltered, that's powerful, that's transformational. But that takes strength, it takes confidence. Right. So I'll give you like a basic, easy example of vulnerability. Okay, like super easy and it happened to me and it's a real easy one for the audience and some of the listeners might say, you know, big deal that John did this, but I'm trying to keep it real simple because again, we don't have hours to spend time talking about this. But but this is an example of vulnerability, a basic one, but it's a real example of it. So one of my pet peeves is, and I don't have a lot of them, but this is one of them, is when the audio visual in today's world doesn't work very well, because it's a real disruption when you're trying to communicate to a team. So this was pre pandemic. I've got four hundred liters in a room. I'm about to give a very important presentation on our New Vision and our strategic plan. I've got audio visual people that we've outsourced the work to in an auditorium that sits four hundred people and the audio visual doesn't work now, right now, mind you, they've tested it. It's work before the the the the meeting, and it's like Murphy's law comes into play. The stuff doesn't work. It becomes a huge disruption and I get frustrated and I get a bit angry and I get fussy about it and I my chief of staff, who supports me. I coach her like in front of the four hundred people, not in a big way, but I kind of get I snapped and snapped at her and said, you know, something to the effect of like are you kidding me, like like you had like days to do this and we're still having problems and now it's going to it's taking like twenty minutes to fix and I've got to sit here in twenty minutes and we're wasting this kind of...

...time, that kind of stuff, and I think most people on the phone can relate to that and some might say, well, that's not a big deal, John. I mean that's not snapping. It's not fair to do to somebody with four hundred people in the room and you're talking to you chief of staff, right, and they and by the way, they can hear it. You know, you're not yelling. It's not like yelling or anything, it's just it's like how I'm doing it right now. But that could be demoralizing, right, if you think about it, if you're the chief of staff WHO's working their hearts out for you. And it was a technology glitch, no fault of her own. So we fix the problem, we start the precentation and I'm I get about twenty minutes into the presentation. Maybe last doesn't matter, and I stopped the meeting and I said, you know what, I'm not feeling good about something. I want to stop the meeting. I want to apologize to my chief of staff. So I invite her to stand up. She's and we're close, right, we're close. So she's I said I her name, first names, holly, and I said Holly, I want to apologize to you openly in front of four hundred people. The technology glitch wasn't really your fault. You tested it, you retested it, it didn't work. It happens. I kind of got fussy about it. I sort of kind of coached you and talked about it with you in front of the four hundred people, and that was wrong and that was totally wrong. This is and I said, and this is why it was wrong. You Know, you coaching private, you your praise in public, but I went beyond that and I went on to teach about the importance of of all. You know, we build people up to get the best out of them. We don't break them down. But I opened up to the group and apologized and then spent a few minutes teaching about that out that that the the whole coaching and the importance of holnorability. Well, that's an example of honorability. I had a handful of people come up to me, not saying wow, that was great, John, but saying, you know, that's really interesting to watch you do that, because most people probably wouldn't have done what you did. They probably wouldn't even have noticed it and kept on rolling and that Chief of staff would have felt bad and that's not good. And instead I opened up and I said I was wrong and I apologized to holly in front of a hundred people. That's vulnerability. I've worked for a fair amount of CEOS in my life. I can't think of many. I can think of a few, but I can't think of many that would open up and stop in a apologize. I can't. Why would I do that? Because we're also a learning organization. You have a learning moment and you're using yourself as the example of maybe not of what not to do. That's vulnerability, folks. Now it's a basic example, but it's an example nonetheless, and that's what I mean about the vulnerability. And it's powerful because when you do that as a leader, you start to create a safe environment for people to be who they are, and and that's really important because when people start to feel safe, real innovations happens in your organization. When you create psychological safety, and there's plenty of research on this, peer reviewed research everyone. When you start to create psychological safety, you start to create an environment where people can really innovate and take risk and collaborate. So that's the power of honorable vulnerability. Now, kindness is, in my mind, my my definition of it is simply meeting people where they are, not necessarily where you want them to be. Meet them where they are, understand where they're coming...

...from and meet them there with an open mind and an open art. Through this Covid, through Covid, I've used the words a lot and I this may sound odd to some people and and to some people, for the cynic listening to this, you may be shrugging your shoulders, are rolling your eyes at this point, but this stuff really works because we're human beings, were people and we have a we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. And when your kind, it's another way of saying that you're treating somebody with some love. And what's wrong with treating people with some love? And some people say, well, there's no room for that in business. Why, there's plenty of room for that in business. We are all human beings. We deserve to be respected, we deserved our to our dignity, to be maintained. We are vulnerable people, were human. Kindness is powerful. Now, truthfully, I'm fifty four. Now ask yourself this. Are you the a fifty four, you the version of yourself when you are thirty or twenty five. If you ask me about vulnerability and kindness and love at twenty five or thirty, I would have thought you were crazy. But through my lived experiences, both good and bad, I've learned the power of love, kindness, vulnerability. And now, going back to my studies just for a second, I've applied social science, Management Science and General Scientific Rigor to what I'm talking to you about and it works because it's backed up by science in the management sciences field and in the social sciences field. So that's kind of the journey that I'm on. That's generally how I lead. We didn't really talk about authenticity and transparency, which is fine, but we can come back to that another time or, you know, we we can do that some other time when we have more time. But I hopefully that helps Olivia, because I think this is really powerful and I leave you with this. Leaders that are listening to this, ask yourself the following. Do you have people that work for you because they feel like they have to to earn a paycheck or because they want to, because they are connected to you at a visceral level, because you're treating them with kindness, you're showing vulnerability, you're being authetic and transparent and you're engaging them at more of a kind of like an organic level. Ask yourself that you have people that work for you that feel like they have to because they're providing for their families or because they want to, because you've engaged them, you've captured them and you're part of them. You're a team and if you're honest with yourselves, you might be surprised with the answer that you get. Now that was wonderful and I think that anyone listening was taking down notes as I was, and and they're going to try to incorporate some of this into their practices moving forward. And one of the questions that I was going to ask, but I think you answered it, is whether or not this was your leadership style prior when you first got into leadership, and it sounds like it may not have been. I mean, it's a great question. I appreciate I did kind of touch on it. No, when I started out young, younger, I'll never for you. Can I tell a quick story because my wife, my wife is is, is...

...a great person. She's been great console to me and she's big support. And this is I was still living in Boston. I was probably twenty, my late S, and I was just, you know, I was getting in a leadership and I was excited about being a leader. And I don't know how we got onto this topic of leading and how do you want your how do you kind of leader do you want to be? And this was kind of like tongue in cheek. We were joking with each other and kind and I see she goes, well, what kind of leader do you want? We're talking about like, you know, leaders that are feared and leaders that are loved. We were just we're kind of talking about the topic and we were joking and I sort of looked there and I said, well, I want to be feared, not loved, and she said, well, why? I said because I think fear last longer than love, and she said, well, that's the stupidest blank thing I've ever heard. Now, if anybody's listening that's from Massachusetts or Boston here that you know that sometimes we use colorful words as adjectives. So I can't tell you what she actually that blank was, but you can only imagine. She said that's like dumb and she was right. Now. It took me some time because early on in my career, when I was a lot younger, I was hyper aggressive. I was a guy who basically said, you know, give me the ball, coach, and I'll get you the first down. It's kind of football season now, so I'll get you the first down or I'll get you into the end zone. Now, I may leave some carnage along the way, but I'll get that ball into the end zone. I'll achieve the mission, I'll achieve the goal, and we all know those types of people. We do okay. Well, I was sort of like that a little bit. Now, if I worked for you, you loved it because you were like, Hey, give corus that project, he'll get it done and he'll get it done pretty darn good. They'll do a pretty good job at it, but he'll get it done. And I would, I would, I would always achieve the goal, always, but every once in a while, you know, people would say, well, John, you achieve the goal, but you left some carnage along the way. You might want to rethink the way you're doing. So early on in my career I was much more rigid and and what I'm talking to you about probably wasn't in the paradigm that I was living in, it wasn't in my construct but you evolve as a leader, right. It goes back to lifelong learning. You're constantly learning from people, you're learning from people you want to emulate and you're learning from people that you don't want to emulate. And so I have over decades, I have become the leader that I am today. And I would tell you, and I'm not suggesting, by the way, that the leader I am today is perfect. And if anybody on the listening to this thinks they're perfect, they're crazy. We all have our IDIOSYNCRASIES, we all come to work with all our idiosyncrasies, but that's kind of part of the fund right. But I've learned a lot through this journey. So No, I wasn't the leader I am today when I was twenty five and thirty and thirty five. It wasn't until I got into my early s that I started this self, this ex self exploration around leading, and I'll tell you, you know, it's interesting. What I guess what really started me to think about it is in a past life I had a job. I was at I you know, I went from Massachusetts General Hospital to the bake here health system in Tampa, to Jupiter Medical Center, back to Tgh and Tampa, because I wanted to get back to academics and get back to doing what I'm doing today, and it...

...fit beautifully with where I was in my career and what I wanted to achieve in my in my career. But when I think back, you know I was I was when I was first in Tampa. I had a couple of situations where I was treated by a bye B by, by a president of a division poorly, and I really poorly, quite frankly, and I never lost that feeling on how demoralized I felt as a as an executive. Really, I mean it was not good, and I remember calling up to my old leaders in Boston to help me through this because I was struggling, and one of my mentors said to me, don't lose this feeling right now, John, like don't lose it. Like here the things you can do to to get through it, but don't lose this because what you want to do is you want to you can learn earn just as much, and sometimes more, from the people you don't want to be like then from the people you want to be like, but don't lose this feeling of how you feel right now and make a promise to yourself that you won't make any person you lead feel the way your leading to feel the way you're feeling right now. Does that make sense? And so it has. And I'm fifty four now. That was probably fifteen years ago, if not longer. I still have the I know the situations I was in, I know the the environments and the topics we talked about. I have the person vividly in my mind and I've never lost that feeling and I've made a promise to myself that I would never make another individual feel the way that I was made to be to feel. It was transformational for me. That started me on this journey to be a very different leader than I was when I was twenty five, thirty and thirty five compared to what I am today. It's just kind of the journey that I went on. And Look, there's ups and downs to that journey. Right I mean not every but you're going to have good days, you're going to have bad days, but you sort of evolve as a leader. So that's a little bit of how you know what my journey look like. Like I said, it's not perfect. There's lots of right ways to go after this kind of stuff. This is just kind of my lived experience and how I became the leader I am today. And, quite frankly, folks, it seems to work because results are there, people are engaged. I have a lot of executives that have followed me from company to company, system to system. I mean I've got people that have working for me today at Tampa General that have worked with me for twenty, twenty five years. So I mean, it does work. I'm far from perfect, but no one is perfect, right. So we're all on this this kind of journey together. Yeah, hopefully that helps. It does, and it sounds like we all need to do a little self reflection right now and just ask ourselves, you know, have we made people feel in a way that would demoralized and or have we felt that way ourselves? And you're right, hold onto it. That is that's wonderful advice. In addition, you mentioned in our precall that you really seek out constructive criticism from your staff, and I think that that also requires a lot of vulnerability, because we don't like being told things that we're doing poorly. But it sounds like that is another surefire way to get you on the path of bettering yourself as a leader or even not in leadership. How do you seek out constructive criticism from your team? You have to create a safe environment. It's not always easy for the team to do it to the boss, but I actually encourage it. Like I will say it's...

...this is the time for you to coach up, this is the time for you to provide constructive criticism. I'll give you an example this if that helps. This was early on a tgh. We were looking at an accountable care organization and I really wanted to go with this one group and I was really enamored with the group and I like the feet, the the the CEO of the group, and I kind of like the vision and and my team was spending a lot of time with their group. They were also comparing it and contrasting it to another group and the other group fit more along the lines of what we needed to do. And I kept pushing them towards this other group and they kept going in the other direction. They finally came to me and they said, John, you're the boss and we can do what you want, but here's why this is. You're about to make the wrong decision. They coached me up. They were direct, they were specific, they were candid and that you know what I said at the end, and am making a very long story short. They said, you know what, guys, you're a hundred percent right. I was about to make the wrong decision. We're going in your direction. That is an example of allowing your team to be in safe space to coach you up. Now, if you do that, a lot people start to believe it and start to naturally do it. I'll give you one other quick example. Even comings. So you know, we're a big place. We have our construction companies that we typically use. I'm in the process of introducing some new construction companies. Were in a meeting and I've got my construction team there. I've got a new construction company, general contractor, there. They're presenting who they are, they're presenting why they would be a good group to maybe work with, and my guys that work for me we're kind of struggling with that. So in the meeting I pushed pretty hard in the meeting because I didn't like what my guys were doing and what they were saying right or wrong. I was feeling like they weren't being respectful of the general contractor. I got a little bit angry and a little bit fussy about it. No coaching or anything went on, but I was pushing them right and I was making my guys feel uncomfortable, the head guy in particular, anyway, meeting ends. We agree that the two construction groups are going to get together and spend more time to learn each other. And this wasn't to go do a job. This was just a get them on the list so when jobs came up they would be considered to be a general contractor. Just like all hell systems. We have a open process and RFP process. We got a whole sort of very transparent process around that. But that after a noon, my my director, came to me. Young Guy, great guy, Great Guy, absolutely up and comer, smart, well educated, really good guy. He comes into my office and he says, I'm going to test what you've been teaching us. You've talked a lot about coaching up. I'm going to test it and I'm very uncomfortable right now because I've never done this. I'm in the CEOS office and I'm about to tell you how I feel and I'm about to tell you why I think what you did was not right. So he comes into my office. I'm in my office on pointing over to my sitting area here, and I said sure fire away. So he spends like twenty minutes telling me how he feels, what he thinks I did wrong and how I could have done it differently. I said, I really appreciate that. I'm like, that is awesome. So I'm immediately connected to him now in a in a in a way that I'm...

...not connected to a lot like directors. Normally I don't work with a lot of directors. This director and I get very close because he does something that endears me to him. Right. I like, I just I have this connection because in my mind I'm thinking this is exactly what I want, this is exactly the type of culture I want, and he's doing it in a very respectful, constructive, healthy way. Right. So he gets done. I listened to him, I asked some clarifying questions. I spend time understanding. Then I said to him, do you mind now if I share with you how I felt? And I'm now given the opportunity to tell him how I felt and how I think he could have behaved differently and what he could have done differently. Now, out of that we came to an agreement and an understanding that I could have done a few things differently, he could have done a few things differently, but together we're going to walk down a path on this, opening up the the the contract list of more contractors in a very different way, but allow him and his team to do the work that they would do. And it was great Olivia. It was wonderful. Here's a director, so he's like four levels away from me if you think about it, because it because in my world I have me, I have evps, some senior VP's, VPS and directors. That's powerful, right. And for the audience, and particularly the leaders that are listening to this, ask yourself if you really create an environment like that. I mean honestly. I mean you got to have like a like really ask that question and, by the way, don't run out and ask your people if you do it, because nine times out of ten everybody's going to go yep, you do it, Yep, Aha, you do it, you're great, you're great, you're great. You can't do it like that. You got to be more organic it's got to be more natural, it's it's got to be you know what I'm talking about, but that's the type of organization, in my opinion, you have to create, because when you create these safe environments to do what I'm describing to you, incredible things happen in your organization. Incredible things happen and and I've got example after example after example of Real, real results that have come from creating an environment like I just described. So hopefully that's helpful. Well, I think that the proof is is in the data and, as you mentioned that there's a lot of scientific research that is backed everything that you're saying, their results that are backed. I know that I wish that we had more time to talk about leading authentically and leaning with transparency. So we are going to have to make sure at the end of this that you tell all the listeners how we can continue to follow you and hear about things that you're putting out into the world if we're not a part of the Tega steam, so that we can also benefit from it. I am also a firm believer that people don't leave jobs, they usually lead leaders. So it's a bat that you have so many leaders that are following you as is. Is also just evident that you know you're leading the way, that people are really responding well to and they want to be in that environment. I know that we're running out of time, so with that, can you let us know where we can follow and learn additional tips and tricks on leading the way that is really transformational, as you mentioned? Sure the I think the best and easiest way to do it is just pull me up through Linkedin, because our websites and leading the change with John like a is. You can connect through that, which is a site that the hospital runs for me,...

...but just connect with me through linkedin. That's like the easiest and most universal way to do it and and I would encourage you to do that because what I enjoy when people connect with me through Linkedin is they use the chat room and I don't get back to everybody, particularly if people trying to sell something that just don't have the time to get back on that. But when people have real questions about things they hear or they read or they see, I'm usually somebody who can respond back or somebody from my team responds back. So coming in through linked in is probably the best and most easiest way for most people to get into me, so that that's what I would that's what I would do. Fantastic. Or we will definitely make sure that all of your information is posted for that. And then we can't be to hear as of healthcare podcast without asking you who those warriors are out there. Who are your healthcare heroes? Who would you like to give a touch out out to? You know, I'd like a big shout out to our nurses and our doctors and our respiratory therapists, environmental services workers, and the list goes on and on. Those are my heroes, particularly through the pandemic. If you have an opportunity, and I'm sure most, if not all, of you've already done this, get out there and tell your team how much you appreciate them, how much you support them, how much you love them. Let them know that you see him and that you hear them, that you're there for them. These men and women are on the absolute front lines of this pandemic. They are saving lives. They are the beacon of light and hope for our communities through this entire pandemic. They are truly sacrificing for all of us. They are my heroes. I can't think of a better way to end this, and I would also like to go ahead and congratulate you again and officially refer to you as Dr John Corus. Congratulation and thanks so much for being a part of the hero as healthcare podcast. We look forward to continuing to follow this journey with you. Thank you, and thanks for your time. Those are this was great. Thank you to take care. You've been listening to heroes of healthcare. For more, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit us at heroes of healthcare podcastcom.

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