Navy Rear Admiral and White House physician Ronny L. Jackson was nominated this week to head the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA is the government’s second largest department responsible for the care of 9 million military veterans at over 1700 government run health facilities. Besides being a physician, it is hard to understand what Dr. Jackson has done in his career to prepare him for the massive challenge of leading the VA.
A White House official described the informal interview process used to select Jackson, which did not include the extensive vetting that typically accompanies a Cabinet selection. “The President has full confidence in Dr. Jackson’s abilities to give our veterans the care they’ve earned,” spokesman Raj Shah said.
As I read newspaper accounts of Dr. Jackson’s nomination, I thought of the blog my colleague Barb Krantz Taylor wrote last week on hiring successful leaders. I’ll leave it to you (after you read Barb’s blog) to judge the process used to select Jackson as nominee and to make a prediction regarding the likelihood Dr. Jackson will succeed in his new role.
One of the great medical advances of the 20th century was the germ theory of disease. It states that many diseases are caused by micro-organisms. Before the acceptance of germ theory, you could die from a broken arm–and many did. That all changed with an idea we think of as basic today: surgery needs to be sterile.
It took several decades for germ theory and sterilization to be fully accepted by the medical community. Some physicians who were unwilling to believe or act on this new information continued to use practices that killed or maimed their patients at an alarming rate.
Too many leaders in 2018 act like those physicians who were unwilling to learn about or accept germ theory and the need for sterilization. They continue to rely on invalid and unreliable selection processes, management and leadership techniques and team building approaches that are no better than surgery practiced by pre-germ theory physicians. The results are predictable and alarming.
It is time for all leaders to practice like physicians who understand the germ theory and to use the knowledge available to become extraordinary leaders and build high performing organizations. The Bailey Group is ready to be your partner! Just send me an email to find out more.