Are you a doctor, business professional, or both? You may think you are one or the other, but in reality you are both. It’s a thin grey line between both and the way to navigate it successfully is by sticking to your principles. If you compare leaders you admire to those you despise, invariably the primary difference will be in their principles. Principle-oriented leaders are often unpopular in good times and may be seen as ‘boy scouts’ by the unprincipled. But in the end they will shine in hard times and always last over the years. The unprincipled, like those at Enron will eventually be brought down.
Fortunately for everyone, doctors are among the most principle-oriented leaders. This is in part due to the Hippocratic Oath, but more because they typically get into medicine to help people and not to make money. Another good example is in the suppliers. Companies like Varian Medical Systems do not develop great products to make lots of money. Developing great products can only start with the recognition of a great problem. You don’t go in search of money to extract from customers; you go in search of their aches and pains and then offer a cure. Money is only the outcome of the process. This is the essence of principle-oriented leadership.
The bottom line is that most markets are reasonably efficient, so serving the patient’s agenda will always win over your practices or their insurance company’s agenda.