November 25, 2019

Maxim No. 5: The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and a strong work ethic.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I joined the Texas Children’s family in January of 2004, I embarked on a career- and life-changing journey. The journey has been full of growth, opportunities, and yes, some stumbles, every one of which have taught me valuable lessons. Throughout it all, I’ve realized that Texas Children’s’ core values apply not just to Shannon the nurse, but also to Shannon the person. You see, one of the things that makes Texas Children’s so special are the values so many of us personally believe in our hearts and demonstrate in our personal lives. I believe many of our 15,000+ employees are connected to Texas Children’s so deeply because the organization selects team members with a winning attitude and strong work ethic, abiding by Mr. Wallace’s Maxim No. 5: The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and strong work ethic.

Recently, my leader, Gail Parazynski, was talking to a group of team members and one of the things she said really stuck with me – “We don’t expect people to be perfect.” What a refreshing thing to hear from your leader! At Texas Children’s, we know perfection is unrealistic. We do, however, expect people to show up ready to give their very best. We know that when people are doing their best and are focused on common goals and outcomes, outstanding results will follow. For us, those results are paramount because they optimize health for the children, women, and families we serve.

About eleven years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Wallace. At the time, I was a manager in the pediatric intensive care unit and was just discovering who I was as a leader. We talked about several things and I saw a little glimpse into his leadership philosophies. At the end of our meeting, Mr. Wallace told me “attitude makes a difference!” It resonated with me because I had always considered myself a “glass half full” person. As I’ve grown and evolved as a leader, that statement still stands out. A winning attitude can inspire, motivate, and comfort those you lead.

Mr. Wallace’s blogs showcase some wonderful examples of our One Amazing Team. As I look around me each day, I see those examples too. I hope you will take a moment to look around you and recognize your colleagues who are demonstrating a winning attitude and/or a strong work ethic – these characteristics not only make an amazing difference for our patients and families, but also for each other.

I’d like to hear from you … what key characteristics do you think makes someone a good leader and why?


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

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 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 Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.

November 15, 2019

Maxim No. 4: We all should have our own definition of leadership.

When I think of what leadership means, I am struck by how often our society paints it to be “the people in charge of making all of the decisions,” or “the people with all of the power.”

True leadership is not about power at all. A true leader knows their job is to serve first, above all else, those who are entrusted to their direction. Leading is not about handing down tasks and making sure the work gets done. Anyone can do that. Leading is striving for excellence. “Excellence is never an accident; it is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. – Anonymous.”

When you become a servant leader and hold yourself to a standard of excellence, those under your guidance will naturally want to follow you. They will want what you have. They will want to do an excellent job because they will feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves. Leadership allows the freedom to let talented, skilled individuals excel and become excellent leaders as well.

Great leaders create more great leaders. When I, manager of STAR Kids Care Coordination with Texas Children’s Health Plan, think about some of the most influential leaders I have looked up to; Irena Sendler, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Howard Schultz; these people never imposed their power, their ideas, their philosophy on any person. They simply believe in something and had the integrity and guts to stand up for it. They believe every individual is worthy and deserving of excellence and set an example that leadership is more than extravagant, impressive words; leadership is action.

Being a leader at Texas Children’s has been an opportunity for me to work with some of the most brilliant and creative individuals, and has helped me see the potential leadership of my staff. At Texas Children’s we all strive for excellence, and I think that makes us all great leaders.

I’d like to hear from you … what’s your personal definition of leadership?

 

 


Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!
Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 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 Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.
November 12, 2019

Maxim No. 3: We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives.

As both a senior project manager with Patient and Family Services, and a father, Maxim No 3: We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives, spoke to me with a certain resonance.  While I try to abide by the philosophy “work is work, and home is home,” the lessons I take from each can impact the other and often do.  In such, I have noticed it is best to take control of these moments in my life and learn from them, and not just let them wander idly by.

Most of you, I imagine, would think that qualifies as common sense, but sometimes when you get bogged down by life, in and out of work, common sense is anything but apparent.  In my mind, leadership stands in large part to taking ownership of the good and the bad. I see opportunities, both at home and at work, where I can intervene and help situations come to a better resolution.

In project management, my days are varied and rife with chances to help guide, influence and direct people into a lane that will help them better use their own gifts and learn new ones.  An example some nursing staff might relate to is being forced to learn a new system or process for doing something.

Understanding their point of view is vital in helping see the best way to assist them in better accepting new changes.  Sending in someone who cannot explain why this new way of doing something is a benefit to the staff and/or the patients will cause strife and a potential rift in a relationship with the people you were set to help.  Leadership isn’t just about directing, but understanding what you’re trying to direct to.

At home some of those same principles apply.  Try talking to a 6 year old and understanding their problems, and you might see some potential areas for improvement.  Then try explaining to them how they should make changes so things will be easier for them.  The result, they may try some of your suggestions for a short time, but then revert back to their old behavior after things don’t immediately change.

If you take that same 6 year old and really talk to them, and see things through their eyes, you’ll notice that same logic you use on adults won’t always apply to children.  Leadership at home is more about being there, compassionate, understanding, and applying small nudges to help them grow into their own person.  With home life, to me, it’s about the small, almost unnoticeable steps that eventually lead someone down the right path.

Leadership at home and work is mainly about knowing and understanding those you come in contact with.  With staff, it’s about understanding and trying to see how your leadership can make both their lives and the lives of patients better.  While at home leading is usually done by providing an example, listening, and helping people up when they fall down, because that’s what family and friends do.

I’d like to hear from you … how do you lead at home and in your community?

 


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

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section. 

Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 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 Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.

November 4, 2019

Maxim No. 2: Leadership applies to everyone.

I started my role at Texas Children’s Hospital in November 2018 and quickly realized that even though I, a Decentralized Quality Improvement Specialist, am not a formal leader our culture here at Texas Children’s allows everyone to lead. We all are leaders in our own way, some more visibly than others.  Some people are leaders and they do not even realize that they are leading, but we are all watching and learning from their actions.

My current role was vacant before I was blessed to join my team in the Mark Wallace Tower Outpatient Pediatrics areas.  As excited as I was, and still am, I quickly understood I was diving into the world of being an informal leader.  Many of my colleagues will call with quality and safety questions knowing I will have the answer.  In that moment, it is my job to lead them. It is my job to help them with their concerns and move them in the right direction. I must be willing to question, I must be willing to ask for help if I don’t know and I must be willing to do the work with them to solve the problem.

Being a leader is not always about knowing everything or having the right answer the second you are asked.  Leading is knowing when to ask for help or knowing when to say, “I’m not sure, let me get back to you.”

Often times, leaders are expected to know everything. What makes someone a good leader is their ability to help their team or their peers find the right way and their willingness to work alongside them to get to the goal. Leadership is knowing when to step up and take control or when to step back and watch and learn from those you are leading. A true leader yearns for new knowledge every day and seeks out opportunities to be taught. When you look at leadership in this way, we are ALL leaders.  Leadership is something we can ALL do. Leadership applies to everyone.

Although, I have only been here a short time, I have grown and learned so much by watching my formal leaders and my peers, soaking in all of the knowledge they can give me. What I do with that knowledge is up to me.  I have chosen to use it to guide the decisions I make and the advice I give as an informal leader to those around me.  If we all keep the mentality that WE ARE ALWAYS leading, we cannot fail.  Leadership is not a class and it is not a title.  Leadership is what you do when no one is watching.  Leadership is a choice.  What will you choose?

I’d like to hear from you … how do you embrace your power to lead and make a difference every day?


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

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.

Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 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 Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.