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What’s “The Arena” Performance 101?

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This week’s interview features Brian Ferguson, Founder and CEO of Arena Labs.  This  blog was previously published on the Arena Labs blog.  It is a companion to Brian’s interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled High Performance Medicine: Healthcare and Innovation that aired on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020.

 

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

–THEODORE ROOSEVELT, CITIZENSHIP IN A REPUBLIC, 1910

 

If you want to be in the Arena, you don’t get there by way of drifting through life.

The Arena is a place of action, and yet it is consciousness that defines its nature: to have an Arena in the first place, you need to have intently decided: This. This is the thing I will show up for. The thing that puts my most cherished values into action. The thing around which I will design my life so that I will not only show up well but show up better and better each time.

The Arena is the space for that thing, for the body doing that thing. It’s a context for risk. People act differently in different contexts. Think of yourself in different spaces. What are the contexts in which you are raucous, loud? What are the contexts in which you are reserved, quiet? What are the contexts in which you have swagger? (Ok silly question, you always have swagger.) When it comes to developing excellence, context is an interesting thing. What happens in one context has everything to do with how far you can go in another, some of which is predictable, and a lot of which as unexpected as it is tied to the very best of our unique human nature.

The Arena is there so that you can ask, and test: how far can we go?

The rules of the Arena are established so you can accept and fully take the risk with and for others­–the only way to tap human potential­–and play all-out while holding the sanctity of safety.

Performance is the knowledge deployed in the Arena. As Kristen Holmes describes, “performance is the science of human thriving.” It has three key aspects:

  1. The identification of the internal and environmental conditions that catalyze individuals and teams to play at their best.
  2. The understanding of the physiology of stress and fear and anxiety, and of our interdependence with others.
  3. The disposition to apply this science in one’s own body and lifeworld so to catalyze growth.

Performance knowledge springs from across sectors concerned with bodies and the care for human life. In recent years, a revolution in this knowledge has been driven by research and applied science in athletics, the military, and the performing arts.

At the end of the day, performance is a mindset: the humility of the expert learner. It is the trust in a collective’s ability to perform at its very best by nature of its diversity. It is deep curiosity about human nature, rigor in applying findings. It is a love of humans and what we might be able to do when we are working from the very best of our nature. And it is the wisdom to know that what you can control and what you can’t, with a big appetite for full ownership of what you truly can—a lot of it an inside job.

The Arena is the place for performance, for which we’ve relentlessly trained and practiced.

The place in which we activate, and then see what happens.

 

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify and iHeartRADIO. Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

 

About the Author

Alexa Miller is a visual artist, writer, and facilitator by training, she has worked with thought leaders engaged in human-centered paradigm shifts in healthcare for the last two decades. Most known for her arts-based teaching with doctors and study of the role of observation in the diagnostic process, Alexa is an original co-creator of Harvard Medical School’s “Training the Eye: Improving the Art of Physical Diagnosis,” and contributed to the touchstone 2008 Harvard study that measured the impact of visual arts interventions on medical learners. She currently teaches a course on medical uncertainty at Brandeis University and studies high performance mindset through her work at Arena Labs.

Photo credit: Joel Harper

How Do Physician Led Organizations Respond to Change?

Physician LeadershipThis blog post is a companion a Voice America interview with Robert Falcone, MD in which he talks about his career progression and his current role as CEO of the Columbus Medical Association. This organization epitomizes the change effective organizations need to make to thrive and continue to meet their missions. Much of the content is drawn from the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Physician Leaders by Metcalf, Stoller, Pfeil and Morrow-Fox.

“Leadership plays a critical role in any health care organization’s long-term success, and innovation has become a strategic necessity in today’s health care environment. In short, physician leadership and innovation have a greater impact today than ever before. Despite the volume of resources exploring both leadership and innovation, most approaches provide merely anecdotal directional solutions that lack sufficient information to actually allow leaders to make measureable change. Add to this equation the impact a diverse workforce and increasing competition have on health care organizations, and leaders face an even greater challenge.

As the health care landscape becomes more complicated, the need for strong leadership increases at an ever-increasing pace. Physician and hospital leaders face more complex challenges as health care reform moves forward along with increasing competition and downward price pressures. The annual survey of top issues confronting hospitals, conducted by the American College of Healthcare Executives’ (ACHE’s) in 2012, asked respondents to rank eleven issues affecting their hospitals in order of importance and to identify specific areas of concern within each of those issues. The survey was sent to 1,202 community hospital CEOs who are ACHE members, of whom 472, or 39 percent, responded. Financial challenges again ranked No. 1 on the list of hospital CEOs’ top concerns in 2012, making it their No. 1 concern for the last nine years. Patient safety and quality ranked second. Health care reform implementation, which had been the No. 2 concern since it was introduced to the survey in 2009, moved to No. 3 in 2012. (www.ache.org/pubs/research/ceoissues.cfm)

In this continuously changing environment, the importance of strong physician leadership is accelerating at the same time that many physician leaders are retiring.

One primary reason for a potential leadership void is the pending retirement of the baby boom generation. Health care organizations have only recently begun to invest in developing their leaders. A 1995 survey of 122 CEO’s of healthcare institutions discovered that 31% of these organizations offered in-house leadership programs. In 2002, the health care industry spent only 1.25% of their payroll on training and development while the top corporations spent 4% of payroll on these activities

—Hopkins, O’Neil, FitzSimons, Bailin, Stoller

Leadership and Organization in Healthcare: Lessons from the Cleveland Clinic, 2011

With this rapid rate of change, questions on how to lead and where to innovate remain puzzlingly philosophically: What is the role of physician leadership in a time of looming uncertainty? How will organizations innovate to overcome challenges that are largely unprecedented? In a new climate of business, is there a formula for creating success in both areas?

Every system, including the human operating system, is built to get the results it gets. Moreover, every system has a design limit, which when reached cannot be surpassed unless it undergoes transformation. For human beings, reinvention means new ways of being, thinking and acting. Not surprisingly, reinvention and mastery are tightly linked. All of us, regardless of our talents, must learn to lead ourselves. “Conventional thinking”, writes Lee Thayer, “always and inevitably leads to conventional results” (Thayer, 2004). Slowly but surely we are learning that the process of transforming ourselves and our organizations is not just about acquiring more knowledge or changing our business strategy but also about exposing the hidden contexts that shape our ways of being and acting and limit our opportunity set for leading ourselves and others more effectively. Change resides in new ways of being, talking, and acting, which are shaped by our underlying yet hidden beliefs and assumptions (Souba, 2009). The kind of learning required to shift our worldviews is enormously challenging, but it is essential for effective leadership in health care given the enormous disequilibrium and turbulence in the environment.

—Wiley W. Souba, The Science of Leading Yourself: A Missing Piece in the Health Care Transformation Puzzle, 2013″

For leaders charting the course for the organizations impacted by the major changes in health care, it is critical that they look at both their leadership approach in this dynamic environment. The Columbus Medical Association is one organization proactively setting the course for these changes and Robert is a great example of a leader who has continually reinvented himself as he faces each successive organizational challenge.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Columbus Medical Association

The Columbus Medical Association (CMA) has had a rich and honored history in central Ohio dating back to 1892. As it approaches its 125th anniversary, a compelling story of physicians who have come together to better serve the residents of the community can be told. Decade by decade, physician members of the CMA (formerly called the Academy of Medicine of Central Ohio) collaborated on issues that had an impact on patients locally and sometimes nationally. One of many highlights was the coordinated effort to administer the polio vaccine to the community in 1955.

In addition to the many ways the CMA physicians have responded to community needs, its membership has also looked ahead to find ways to proactively address issues that impact the health of central Ohioans. Indeed, the Columbus Medical Association Foundation (CMAF), Physicians CareConnection (PCC) and Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS) are all affiliate organizations of the CMA that were born from the vision of CMA members and are now thriving organizations serving community needs.

Today, physicians are more diverse and are practicing in an immensely more complex health care environment than they were in 1892. However, CMA physicians continue to look for ways to improve the health of their patients and the central Ohio community through advocacy, education and old-fashioned compassion.

 

CEO Perspectives: Changes in Primary Care

Changes in Primary Care1This blog was written as a collaboration between Maureen Metcalf and Jim Svagerko. It is a companion to the VoiceAmerica interview featuring Bill Wulf, MD and Jim Svagerko MA, PCC, talking about the leading work Central Ohio Primary Care with 300 physicians is doing and preparing for health care reform and new innovations in medical care over the next five years, and how it became a leader in their field and what they are doing to shape how the field of medicine and how it is practiced.

According to the Community Action Network, “A healthy community reflects a sense of mental and physical wellbeing and is the foundation for achieving all other goals. Good health is often taken for granted but is essential for a productive society. For example, every community needs a healthy workforce upon which to build its economy and healthier students are more equipped to learn and be successful academically.”

While the business of healthcare is run by physicians and administrators, health impacts every one of us. It is our responsibility to own our individual health because it effects our ability to enjoy life. Many of the challenges we face are a direct result multiple factors within the economy, and some health issues are a consequence of socio-economic disparity. Insurance plays a role when sometimes it is difficult to get access to the highest quality healthcare with the limitations on coverage. Additionally, factors in families and schools can play a role when adverse childhood events leave a lifelong impact on overall health. Injurious childhood events often contribute to mental health and drug and alcohol issues later in life. Often, the cycle continues. Many of these factors are interrelated and solving them requires cross-sector focus on community health. Communities like Franklin County in Columbus, Ohio, have strong collaborative processes to address these complex issues.

While each of us plays a role in our own care, the linchpin of health care delivery has been determined to be the primary care physician. Dr. Wulf is the CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care (COPC), a group of 300 doctors at 50 offices in four counties. His clinical interests are preventive care, population management, and maintaining a continuum of care for COPC patients. As the CEO of an organization that is nationally known for its exceptional care and innovative business model, he continues to look at what COPC will do next to meet patient needs in the context of a dynamic health care environment. Here are a few of the changes COPC is talking about:

  1. Move from pay for service to pay for outcomes: COPC is beginning to be paid for creating value for patients as they move from strictly fee-for-service payments. This shift completely changes how medicine is delivered and how doctors and all professionals associated with care delivery focus their efforts. COPC has taken a comprehensive approach to change that considers the overall system and how practices operate, the culture that encourages procedures as the foundation to manage risk, and physician scheduling and daily activities.
  2. Move to a culture of vibrancy and collaboration: Significant change is enabled by a culture of mutual respect and collaboration where all team members are encouraged to voice opinions.
  3. Leadership development: COPC has invested in physician leadership development through a variety of methods. Metcalf & Associate’s Maureen Metcalf and Jim Svagerko were engaged to support COPC, and assist them in their development. They guided the leadership team through their own personal development as well as a deep dive into the workings of COPC. Maureen and Jim will continue their work with COPC this summer and fall. In addition, COPC sends their physician leaders for education through a local professional association and their leadership team is using the Innovative Leadership Workbook for Physician Leaders, supported by Metcalf & Associates, as a team activity along with peer coaching to support growth and development, as well as promote a culture of growth and mutual support during its transition.

One of the key trends we see in health care is a shift in focus from the “all-knowing” physician to patient owning health outcomes. We are seeing a dramatic increase in “wearables”, everything to medical devices like an insulin pump to the standard Fitbit® and calorie counting apps. Many of us are using these devices to manage our own behaviors. Primary care physicians and other healthcare professional are also using these apps and the data they provide to manage the chronically ill.

It is crucial that leaders in health care arm themselves with resources to assist them as they move through these undefined areas. It will be necessary for leaders to first gain an understanding of their leadership style and abilities before they can hope to lead others. One way is through careful discernment with an executive coach/advisor to explore and present opportunities for the leader to move into a space that will allow them to create a climate and atmosphere that will serve future health care needs.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the author

Maureen Metcalf, founder and CEO of Innovative Leadership Institute, is a renowned executive advisor, author, speaker, and coach who brings thirty years of business experience to provide high-impact, practical solutions that support her clients’ leadership development and organizational transformations. She is recognized as an innovative, principled thought leader who combines intellectual rigor and discipline with an ability to translate theory into practice. Her operational skills are coupled with the strategic ability to analyze, develop, and implement successful strategies for profitability, growth, and sustainability.

In addition to working as an executive advisor, Maureen designs and teaches MBA classes in Leadership and Organizational Transformation. She is also the host of an international radio show focusing on innovative leadership, and the author of an award-winning book series on Innovative Leadership, including the Innovative Leaders Guide to Transforming Organizations, winner of a 2014 International Book Award.