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Good governance

July 10, 2009

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a selected meeting of directors of hospitals and other relevant cure and care organizations. The reason was a farewell party for one of the director generals of the department of Ministry of Health, who happens to be one of my favorite clients.

She’s called Diana, and appears to be a true leader. I’ve had the pleasure to attend two previously held farewell parties being organized for her in the past 5 years and a certain pattern is manifesting itself in my observation.

First of all she’s always organizing the get-together around a theme. This theme is based on what matters to people. Being it good governance, or the position of women in leadership roles.

A large selected number of invitees is being moderated by a national well known talk show leader or journalist on the subject and after that all people can make their own sense of it. The famous last words are always Diana’s words in which she radiates a thought provoking statement.

A few years ago this statement was on arts, artists and psychiatric patients. People that need psychiatric support, but are great artists in their core being. Since then I’ve visited more than once a few exhibitions of these artists. And I’ve bought a nice painting as well.

Yesterday the message was about good governance. She referred to Aristotle’s’ virtue (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue#Aristotle.27s_virtues) and admitted that the Wikipedia was a great source of reference. Aristotle defined a virtue as a balance point between a deficiency and an excess of a trait. The point of greatest virtue lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_mean_(philosophy)”>(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_mean_(philosophy)) sometimes closer to one extreme than the other. For example, courage is the mean between cowardice and foolhardiness, confidence the mean between self-deprecation and vanity, and generosity the mean between miserliness and extravagance. How many leaders in the room would have thought of ‘virtue’ as a key performance indicator? The surprise to me came when Minister Klink addressed a few words to Diana. He referred to Jim Collins’ concept level 5 leadership (http://harvardbusiness.org/hb-main/resources/pdfs/comm/microsoft/level-five.pdf). Be fierce and strong willed but humble at the same time. Humility and Will form true leadership. This remains a challenge for all the leaders working in healthcare. This morning’s newspaper announces that the same Minister has decided to slowdown the free market concept in healthcare. Too many things have gone wrong. Too many decisions were made out of balance. Excessive behavior resulted in failures. It is a pity a great female level 5 leader has left. Nevertheless she’ll come back somewhere else. That’s for sure.

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