Employees who have mentors are happier and more productive. Mentors motivate, listen, and act as a North Star, providing principles that help guide their mentees toward career success and fulfillment. Despite these obvious benefits, one pre-pandemic survey found just over one-third of U.S. workers have a mentor. Too many companies still do not offer mentorship programs and, without formal channels, it can be difficult for individual employees to find a mentor.
A single post cannot take the place of a mentor, but our Council Fellows alumni did offer pieces of advice that have guided their career.
Preferences cause problems.
“Leland Kaiser, a healthcare visionary and futurist, once told me ‘there are no problems, only preferences.’ It fundamentally changed the way I saw the world. My lousy sleep wasn’t a problem, it was because I preferred to bring my laptop into bed with me. Patient safety gaps weren’t a problem, it was because we preferred to tolerate behaviors that undermine a culture of safety. Having 30-40 million uninsured Americans wasn’t a problem, it was because we preferred to sustain a system that limits access and equity.”
Under promise and over deliver.
“Under promise and over deliver. It’s how people want to be treated.”
“Early in my career, Joe Hutts told me, ‘We can make mistakes with the head, but not with the heart.’ That really stuck with me in that health care must focus on mission first. That helped guide me as I chose which companies I wanted to work for and what kind of company I now want to build.”
Mood follows action.
“I’m a fan of the Rich Roll podcast, and his go-to advice is ‘mood follows action.’ If you wait for your mood to hit a certain place before you do anything, you’ll be waiting a long time. You actually have to do things in order to feel inspired, creative, accomplished, etc. I find that to be so true. My job is to take action.”
Keep your prices high.
“My dad spent time in the military and as a community development specialist with the U.S. Agency for International Development in Laos during the Secret War in Laos, so I picked up lots of colorful (also off-color) advice. Two things that have stuck with me to this day. Whether they’re useful is debatable but they’re fun to repeat in my dad’s laconic style: ‘If there’s something to eat, there’ll be something there to eat it.’ And, ‘Keep your pants up and your prices high.’”
Do the right thing and success will follow.
“Always do the right thing, no matter what, and success will follow. Sometimes that means doing things the hard way, but it’s always worth it. Early in my banking career, I learned how important it is to provide world-class service if you want to differentiate yourself and create raving fans. At GE, this advice served me well; we created strategic programs that required us to do the right thing by our customers so that they kept coming back. Today, we’re bootstrapping a young company, with limited time and resources. But I know how important it is to really listen to our clients and make sure they know they are valued. That means spending time in their seats and understanding their pain so we can develop better solutions. I know that if we invest in our people and in our clients, the winding road will lead to success.”
The Importance of Team
Nothing is more important than moving the whole team along. The whole team means everybody from customers to shareholders.
According to a 2021 survey by The Harris Poll, 81 percent of employers say an obvious willingness to learn is a key characteristic they look for in new hires. The Nashville Health Care Council’s Council Fellows program offers emerging health care leaders to share their unique industry experiences and learn from peers who are leading top health care organizations of all sizes and geographies. Click here to learn more and tell us: What advice has impacted your growth the most?