By Robert L. Moore, MD, MPH, MBA, Chief Medical Officer
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sail.”
The COVID pandemic was a storm that caused not only loss of life and disability, but tremendous lasting stress to the health care delivery and public health systems. Since March, the storm is settling down, and we seem to be beginning a prolonged recovery phase. Staffing shortages, financial stresses, and anxiety about COVID, the economy and world events are major headwinds to this recovery. These headwinds are diverting leadership energy away from collaboration, innovation, and quality improvement activities.
It is possible to move forward against headwinds. Sailboats do this by trimming their sails, and carefully navigating their boat to a heading as close as possible to directly into the wind, and then changing tack periodically so that the net movement can be directly into the wind. The skipper (leader) needs to pay close attention to the wind, communicating quickly with a crew that knows they need to work together to achieve their goal.
As clinical leaders, I hope you are in a phase in this pandemic recovery in which you can trim the sails, and refocus your teams on moving forward with performance improvement and collaboration activities. Our teams at Partnership HealthPlan of California (PHC) are here to support you in this effort.