Recently I had the opportunity to attend an American Healthcare Executives educational event with Cedar-Sinai Hospital CEO, Tom Priselac. Mr. Priselac has held the role since 1994, in which he has developed strategic and operational innovations to enhance high-quality, safe, and efficient care for patients. Mr. Priselac was extremely down-to-earth and very approachable. Here are six soundbites from his talk that resonated with and inspired me:

Note: Below is my best recollection of the event. It is not intended to be a completely accurate caption of the speaker’s intent.

  1. What is leadership?

Leadership is about driving change – not just having a purview over something. Leadership is not limited to those at the top. The ability to lead has to do with influence.

  1. What are the essential skills of a leader?
    1. Collaborative mindset
    2. Trust (Trusting others and prove himself to be trustworthy)
    3. Respect others and have the respect of others (to be successful in any field)
    4. Be understanding and empathetic
    5. Communication and listening skills
  2. Why do change initiatives fail?
    1. People don’t understand the change and why
    2. People can’t control it (give input)
    3. People are not rewarded for it
  3. How do leaders deal with uncertainty?
    1. Plant seeds that will result in various options down the road
    2. Let the world evolve and work with the team to bring forth the reasonable options
  4. Lessons from the personal growth journey as a leader.
    1. Ask yourself, “Would YOU follow you?”
    2. Work on emotional intelligence
    3. Take care of ourselves- hard work takes a toll
    4. Being right is not enough- the ability to bring people together to share a vision is more important
  5. Mr. Priselac’s advice for young leaders:
    1. Don’t be limited by your job description, fill a need
    2. Have a propensity for community, volunteer, and give back
    3. What we do and what we say shape the culture. Check ourselves to see if our speaking and behaviors align with the values.
    4. Doing what we say we are going to do
    5. Dealing with mistakes by taking ownership and being transparent

Personally, I discovered that improving my ability to bring people together under one vision is critical- and now recognize that seeking the right answer is not enough. Additionally, in my work as an organizational transformation consultant, often organizations work with us to bring about change. Therefore, the reasons why change initiatives fail are quite relevant to my day-to-day work as well. The hour of the virtual seminar with Mr. Priselac was well-spent and one of the best virtual sessions I’ve been to this year.

I hope you find these insights from Mr. Priselac applicable, relevant, and inspiring for your own growth as a leader.

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