Straight Talk - "Life lessons"

July 3, 2014

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we celebrate our 4th of July and honor those who serve our nation, I’d like to take a step back from our daily healthcare challenges and review some “life lessons,” offered by one of country’s most distinguished soldiers, United States Marine Corps General Peter Pace, the 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Gen. Pace was keynote speaker this past spring when Leadership Collier (LC) celebrated its 25th Anniversary, with NCH Director Debbie Curry as co-chair of the event. Gen. Pace spoke about his 40 years of service, starting in Vietnam as a platoon leader. He began his leadership comments by recalling four of his Marine colleagues who died in the conflict. Here are the seven leadership truths from Gen. Pace’s comments.

  1. Deciding where you are going to spend your life and with whom is a key early decision. The company you keep is going to change you more than the other way around. Are the leaders in your life good, moral, ethical, honest, competent, and motivated to do good? Today, would you join? If yes, great. If not, you can’t get away too quickly.
  2. Are you in the position and do you have the humility to assimilate new tasks as if they are your own? Many times, we are asked to accept responsibilities we are not fond of doing. Every job has good points and bad. You are better off being enthusiastic and responding with alacrity—both you and the job will come out better.
  3. Leaders make decisions and sometimes, mistakes. If you aren’t making mistakes, then you haven’t been given enough rope. Now, try not to make the same mistake twice. After a misadventure, don’t fire someone who just got educated.
  4. Avoid conformational bias. Nobody is perfect. You need to hear if you have a bad idea or in the vernacular, “Your baby is ugly.” Ask plenty of questions all the time and expect to have answers based on reason. It is easy and non-threatening to ask to be educated. “Help me understand,” assists both the inquirer and the responder.
  5. Always set your moral compass high, avoiding immoral or illegal activities. Getting distracted and cutting corners is how these poor behaviors start; and then they grow out of control. If you get off track, always think about the eventual consequences.
  6. If you have integrity, nothing else matters. Conversely, if you don't, nothing else matters. Those without integrity may be well known, but those around them often turn a blind eye. Their behavior tells the story, and sadly, it rarely gets better.
  7. Everyone influences everyone around them. We should all be caring; everyone wants a caring leader and colleague. Take five minutes a day with non-work conversation. Take care of your people and they will take care of you. Organizations led by people who care, are the ones that grow people who care.
These seven simple yet profound truths from Gen. Pace are for everyone—from military, business, government, communities, and families—to take to heart as we celebrate our nation’s birth. Happy July 4th.


Allen S. Weiss, M.D., President and CEO

You may contact Dr. Allen Weiss
and The NCH Healthcare System
by clicking here:

Please feel free to share Straight Talk:

To view past issues of Straight Talk click:

Join us on Facebook at: