August 24, 2017

“We all should have our own personal definition of leadership.”

Leadership Maxim No. 4 is essential to becoming an effective leader. Think about it…how can you truly lead if you have not defined what leadership means to you? It is difficult to lead without a compass and that is why it is so important that we each have our own personal definition of leadership. That definition should reflect our core values, beliefs, guiding principles and personalities.

Coming up with something so important and personal takes some time and effort. It took me an entire year. When I was starting out as a young hospital administrator, I gave a presentation at a conference in California. After my talk, someone in the audience asked me how I defined leadership.

I didn’t have a good answer, because I hadn’t really given it much thought. So, I came up with something in the moment and left the conference determined to have a thoughtful answer to this question, even if it was just for myself. After a tremendous amount of reading, speaking with colleagues and thinking about leadership, I crafted my definition, which still holds true for me today. I believe that leadership is the sum of three things: vision + structure + PEOPLE, with people by far being the most important element or ingredient in the leadership definition and equation.

These words guide my actions and decisions every day as the leader of Texas Children’s, and in many other areas of my life. I am proud to say that I know many of you have developed your own definition of leadership and it helps guide you both professionally and personally.

Hannah Conley, has been with Texas Children’s for 10 years and is currently a supervisor at the Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cypresswood location. She has spent a significant amount of time developing her personal definition of leadership and was heavily influenced by some of her past leaders. Over the years, Hannah has had some really amazing leaders and, unfortunately, some not-so-good ones. But each of them helped mold her definition of what an effective leader should be and what kind of leader she aspires to be.

Hannah believes that an effective leader is someone who leads by example and guides their team in the right direction instead of just telling them where to go. She also believes a good leader is someone who values their team members’ input and is always willing to listen and consider their opinions and ideas.

At Texas Children’s Pediatrics Cypresswood, Hannah puts her leadership skills into action every day by having and promoting a positive attitude and demonstrating how to truly care for patients, families and co-workers. Most recently, Hannah was asked to help brainstorm and develop ideas for streamlining and standardizing some of the clinical and non-clinical processes and procedures at Texas Children’s Pediatrics’ practices across Greater Houston.

Many of the ideas that came out of those brainstorming sessions have been implemented at the Cypresswood practice and will be implemented at the other practices shortly. Hannah will continue to be responsible for helping ensure everything goes smoothly at her practice as well as at the other 51 practices. I have no doubt she will put her leadership definition into action and inspire others to do the same.

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 four 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 of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters 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.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

August 17, 2017

“We lead in our professional lives and in our personal lives.”

Leadership Maxim No. 3 is one of my favorites because it exemplifies what a true leader is  ̶  someone who leads not only at work but, even more importantly, at home.

See I don’t believe you can compartmentalize leadership. Of course we need effective leaders at work, but we also need people who lead at home, where it often matters the most. I’ve found the most valuable leaders are those who are leading in their families, within other organizations and in their communities. They are the people making a sincere and dedicated effort to have a consistent and positive impact on the people and the world around them. In turn, they bring that same sincerity and compassion to Texas Children’s. And that’s what makes the best leaders.

Deborah Parrott, a West Campus nurse at the Cancer and Hematology Centers, is a perfect example of someone who goes above and beyond at work and at home. Deborah’s co-workers say she always goes the extra mile for her patients and for her team, providing comfort and support or an encouraging smile at just the right time. These small things go a long way in creating a positive experience for our patients, their families and Deborah’s colleagues. Deborah is also a part of “West Campus Lead,” a year-long program that helps employees hone leadership skills. She applied for the program to build her confidence and expand her ability to impact others.

She demonstrates this same passion and initiative in her community. After work, Deborah pours her energy into her family and several volunteer efforts, such as fundraising for The Periwinkle Foundation, which provides support to patients and families at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. She participates in the Foundation’s Cycle for Life and its annual kickball tournament. Deborah also rides in the MS150, which raises money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

But her most beloved volunteer effort involves The Periwinkle Foundation’s Camp YOLO (You Only Live Once), a camp dedicated to Texas Children’s teen patients who are struggling with adolescence and life threatening illnesses. Deborah has volunteered at Camp YOLO since 2006, her most recent post being a cooking instructor. Over the years, she has witnessed the positive healing power the camp has on young people, and she says her involvement in Camp YOLO and her job at Texas Children’s are two of the biggest blessings in her life.

Deborah’s leadership philosophy is: “We’re all in this together. We all have the power to make a difference no matter where we are and what we are doing.” I couldn’t agree more and am truly honored to have Deborah and the countless others who are dedicated to leadership at work and in their personal lives as members of our Texas Children’s family.

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 four 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 of the blog post. 

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters 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.

So make sure you respond to the question at the end of

Mr. Wallace’s blog post to be entered to win!

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

August 1, 2017

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

If you have worked at Texas Children’s for even a few short weeks, you have likely heard or read this. It’s my first maxim in a list of 10 Maxims of Leadership that I began sharing with employees years ago. These maxims represent the philosophy by which I have led for many years, and they continue to guide me daily.

Over the years, these maxims have become more than my personal philosophy – they have become the core of our leadership culture at Texas Children’s. And nearly every day, I see some way in which these maxims are brought to life by employees who embrace leadership boldly and deliberately.

These employees, whether leaders by formal title or not, seek and find ways to make Texas Children’s better every day. They take personal accountability for making sure our patients and their families have the best possible care, as well as an exceptional experience. When they see a problem, they come to the table with a thoughtful solution. And in many moments of innovation, employees often come to the table with an idea that counters a challenge before it even happens.

These employees are the leaders who have made Texas Children’s successful for decades. They are the reason why we have and will continue to thrive and find ways to provide the high quality care our patients need, when and where they need it for decades to come.

And regardless of who we are and what we’re contributing to the organization, it’s always a good idea to share stories of exceptional leadership. So for the next few weeks, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I want to share just a few of the countless stories of shining leadership at Texas Children’s. We all play a vital role in the care of our patients and their families, and we all have an opportunity to do something every day that could change a person’s experience or outcome at Texas Children’s.

I’d like to hear from you … how has good leadership influenced the way you work?

 

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

Over the next four 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 of the blog post. And yes, it starts today with the question above!

In September, the Corporate Communications team will collect all of your comments and draw the names of 100 commenters 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.

The autograph session and tour are a great way to bring the awesome players of two winning teams together. At Texas Children’s Hospital, everyone is a leader, and we are looking forward to hearing from leaders across the entire organization over the next few weeks.

This opportunity is one of the benefits of the Texas Children’s Hospital partnership with the Houston Texans football team. Since our launch in 2015, we have reached thousands of children in our local communities through fun, educational camps, school programs, special hospital visits and appearances with the Texans players, cheerleaders and TORO. Together, Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are inspiring children in our community to lead healthier, more active lives.

Click here to watch a video about how Texas Children’s and the Houston Texans are leading in patient care and on the football field every single day.

June 16, 2017

In honor of Father’s Day this Sunday, I thought I’d share one of my favorite blog posts from a couple years ago about two incredible people I adore – my children. I’m grateful for the lessons they taught me and for the honor of being their father. 

About 23 years ago, I became a single dad to my two young children, Emily and Ben. Emily was 11 and Ben was 9, and I was just 38.

I sat them down, and I said, “Look, guys, let’s do this. We’re going to be a family, and we’re going to be a great family unit. I will do everything I can to be the best dad and mom for you that I can possibly be. It’s going to be just the three of us together, and we’re going to make this work.”

And with that, I made them a promise. I promised that I was not going to remarry until they were out of high school. With all they were already experiencing at the time, I didn’t want them to be concerned about a new person joining our family.

They said, “Dad, that’s awesome. That sounds like a good plan.”

Well, Emily graduated from high school, and she went off to Stanford. A couple years later, Ben graduated and headed off to the University of Oklahoma. And the day I took him to college, after I had gotten him all moved in and was about to leave, he turned to me and said, “Dad, you’ve done what you promised Emily and me. Now, we want you to find someone for you.” And fortunately I did, and Shannon and I were married in 2003.

It was really quite touching. As a young adult, Ben assumed that it might have been a sacrifice to make such a promise to him and Emily so many years before. But what they may not have fully realized was that working hard to be the very best dad I could be for them also helped me to be a better man and a better leader.

When I became a single parent all those years ago, I had recently joined Texas Children’s as the CEO. It was an incredible learning and formation period for me as a leader. And having such a significant transition in my personal life could have potentially impacted me and my leadership positively or negatively. It was really up to me.

You know that one of my maxims of leadership is “We lead in our professional lives and our personal lives.” I was getting a firsthand lesson on that through my children, because in my efforts to be a successful parent and to help maximize my children’s success as young people, I, too was growing.

One of the most important things I learned from them was how to listen. Taking on the role of both mom and dad meant that I had to really refine my listening skills. They were smart, ambitious children who were curious about life and asked lots of questions. Tuning in to their individual needs and feelings and really learning how to listen to them helped me become a better leader by becoming a better listener.

Through my personal experience, I learned how to listen to the organization. Having the ability and willingness to listen to the organization is critical to being an effective leader. It means I must make sure I’m approachable and accessible for all of you so I’m aware of the big issues, as well as the subtle nuances. My children taught me that.

I believe if you have children, there’s not a more important leadership role for a man than being a father. Applying my leadership skills to being the best dad I could be to Ben and Emily helped me in return. And I’m so grateful to them for the lessons and experiences of fatherhood.

Whether you are a dad – or a mom who’s wearing both hats – Happy Father’s Day to you. There’s no greater responsibility or reward than growing and learning with your children and leading your families.