September 23, 2018

Maxim no. 6: “Leaders lead people; managers manage an asset, process or thing.”

Leadership Maxim No. 6 is one of my favorite maxims because it highlights two distinct, yet very important, skills that are essential to running an organization like Texas Children’s – leading and managing. With more than 14,000 employees across our system, it takes exceptional leaders and managers throughout every level of the organization to ensure we deliver the best care to our patients.

I spend most of my time leading people, but I also spend a lot of time managing our organization’s operations. People often ask me: What is the difference between leadership and management? I believe the primary difference between management and leadership is that leaders don’t need to be in a management position or have a specific title. Anyone can be a leader.

Alex Sardual is a great example of an outstanding leader and manager. Alex has been with us for a little over a year and is currently the assistant clinical director for the PICU in Legacy Tower. He leads a team of more than 200 employees, including patient care managers and unit-based nursing educators who oversee the day-to-day clinical operations of the PICU. He also manages the human resources, financial and administrative functions in the unit.

Alex has an outstanding leadership philosophy: a leader is someone who believes in and nurtures his or her team and helps them clear the path to success. These principles guide Alex as he cultivates a work environment that engages, encourages and empowers his team. He understands the personal goals of his staff and directs them to areas or projects that keep them challenged, engaged and aligned with our goals as an organization.

Alex believes that if you make sure your staff is acknowledged and they feel heard, they will be empowered to come up with creative solutions to resolve any work challenges that may arise. I completely agree with him.

When Alex prepared his team for the move to Legacy Tower, many members of his team were apprehensive about how everything would work and the planned cohorting of patients and teams. Alex made sure to engage his team and gave everyone an opportunity to provide their suggestions and feedback and then ensured their thoughts were included in the Legacy Tower PICU plans. He and his team replicated what worked well in the old environment and changed some things for a better fit in the new environment.

Throughout it all, Alex kept his team informed and updated and made sure to translate the concerns of his staff back to the leadership team. Alex says he sees himself as the guardian of positive thinking – some days it’s easy to show the bright side of things, and other times, you have to point out the silver lining. That’s perceptive leadership and solid management.

I’d like to hear from you … how do you balance leading and managing in your role?

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the past few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog has been highlighting employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post poses a leadership question that Texas Children’s employees may respond to in the comments section until October 19. 

Afterward, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

“Leadership always influences or determines outcomes, not some of the time, but all of the time.”

Over the course of many years of dedicated effort and thoughtful consideration, I have refined and developed a list of ten leadership maxims. You hear me share them often, in person, Connect stories and on this blog. These maxims guide me daily and represent my leadership philosophy, and they are the core of our leadership culture.

Every day, I see employees bring these maxims to life. Whether or not you have a formal leadership title, I see you discovering ways to make Texas Children’s better every day. You take personal accountability for making sure our patients and their families have the best possible care and an exceptional experience. When you see a problem, you work collaboratively and thoughtfully to identify solutions. There are so many moments, where I have seen you challenge yourselves and others to think bigger and address situations, sometimes before they even happen.

You are the leaders who have made Texas Children’s successful for so many decades, and you are the reason we will continue to thrive and find ways to provide the highest quality care for our patients, when and where they need it for years to come.

It is immeasurably rewarding to hear about employees who boldly and deliberately embrace leadership at Texas Children’s. So for the next few weeks, I want to share just a few of the countless stories of shining leadership at Texas Children’s.

When we posted this series last year, we focused on Maxims 1-5. This year, we are focusing on Maxims 6-10. These posts are especially exciting to share because they give us a chance to highlight the outstanding teamwork we have across our system.

Thank you for taking every opportunity to improve the experiences and outcomes at Texas Children’s and for playing such a vital role in enhancing the lives of our patients and families.

Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will highlight employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.

In October, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.

September 17, 2018

It’s that time of year again – football season. The regular season kicked off a couple weeks ago, and for the next few months, football will dominate our weekends.

Whether you’re a fan of the pros or a little league parent cheering from the sidelines, I think we all recognize the faithful dedication required for any sport. And personally, beyond the excitement of the actual game, what I appreciate most is the incredible tenacity of any athlete to return game after game with renewed determination.

I see that relentless spirit every day at Texas Children’s. It takes an incredible amount of energy and dedication to do what you do across this organization on a daily basis. Every child and woman in our care is precious, and everything we do, directly or indirectly, touches them, renews their hope or delivers an answer for which they’ve prayed. That’s infinitely powerful, and it’s why every single day at Texas Children’s is game day.

Click here for the Texas Children’s-Houston Texans “Every day is game day” video

With that power comes the responsibility to be ready, for everything, every day. Because every day, we have a chance to take actions and make decisions that prepare us to be catalysts for something amazing or to help someone in need. As the President and CEO, I’m very deliberate about how I ensure I’m game-day ready. Without fail, this is what I do every day:

  1. Pack my positivity. I don’t think in terms of a glass being half empty or half full – I simply appreciate the contents and believe whatever the amount, it’s enough to nourish someone or to give life to something. In other words, I am perpetually positive. I believe you can extract goodness from any situation and that this outlook removes doubt and worry, and makes more room for creativity and to dwell in possibilities.
  1. Seek ways to learn. The opportunity to grow intellectually or emotionally every day fascinates me. As soon as I get up, I start reading – combing through emails, reading the news, reviewing the financial markets. I enjoy the immediate jolt of engaging with new information. I read as much as I can, and I talk to as many of you as I can. Honestly, that’s where I learn the most, because when I talk with you, I’m exposed to all the insightful and innovative ideas you have.
  1. Manage my energy. Years ago, there were lots of books, articles and seminars about how to manage time. I’ve seen that shift is now focused on managing energy, and for me, this has been life changing. We all have a maximum pool of energy, and we must deploy that energy at the right times and in the right places. I’m a morning person, so I try to tackle my most important or toughest tasks in the mornings. I make mindful choices about how my time is spent, whether at work or at home. And I try to engage and surround myself with people who have a warm and positive energy.
  1. Take care of my body. Because I am a pretty early riser, I’m able to exercise most mornings. Whether I swim or lift weights, I feel great satisfaction from being active and doing something that’s good for my body. Throughout the day, at the office, I make sure that I’m eating well. Even when I have a day packed with meetings, I plan accordingly so that I provide my body with what it needs for me to think, feel and be at my best. And as many of you know, I walk the hospital often. This is always a good way for me to stay on the move and also to connect with many of you.
  1. Pray. Prayer could easily be at the beginning and the end of this list, because I do it very often. Prayer and meditation insulates me with a sense of peace and calmness throughout the day. Subsequently, my mind is clearer when I must make difficult decisions, and I am reassured about the direction in which to lead our organization.

We all have a game day plan – it’s why we are one amazing team and how we do so many amazing things every single day. I want to hear from you below. Tell me how you get game-day ready. How do you prepare your mind, body and spirit to be the very best for our patients and our people every day at Texas Children’s?

Share your A-game … win tickets to the Texans vs Cowboys game!

Mr. Wallace wants to know what you do to make sure you bring your A-game to Texas Children’s every day to help us provide the best care possible to our patients, their families and our colleagues.

We will randomly select two winners from the comments below to each receive a pair of tickets to the Houston Texans vs Dallas Cowboys football game on October 7, 2018.

The two winners must be Texas Children’s employees. The drawing will be from comments posted between September 17-23. Winners will be notified by the Corporate Communications team by September 25.