THE PHONE CALL & THE SIMPLE QUESTION
Years ago, while I was serving in a leadership position at a growing health care company, I received an unexpected phone call from one of our administrators. She had a simple question and desperately needed an answer. She asked, “How do you get people to do the things you need them to do?” I was momentarily stunned by such a simple question, because it seemed to demand a simple answer. I really struggled to come up with anything short yet comprehensive; it was like trying to stuff an elephant into a thimble.
I can’t remember the answer I finally gave to her, but I will never forget how I felt after I hung up the phone. I knew my answer had been inadequate and I could tell she knew this as well. I began to doubt and question my own understanding of leadership and was deeply haunted by my failed attempt. From this point forward I could not rest; I was determined to find a more adequate reply.