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Do you have an attitude?

Posted: January 26, 2012 - 5:30 PM ET - by Elisabeth

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” – Winston Churchill

Maybe I’m a pessimist, but I’ve been thinking about:

The opportunity to be “connected” all the time, from anywhere … and the difficulty connecting to what really matters.

I’ve written before about meetings and events where everyone is so busy checking their smart phones they don’t talk to the people in the room with them. And in the last couple of weeks I’ve read three separate stories about telephones ringing during live performances. Can’t we disconnect long enough to recharge our minds? Are we so important that we can’t turn off our phones for a couple of hours? I can only answer for myself. Yes, I’ve learned I have to, and yes (you knew I would say that, right?), but I will.

The opportunity to access any information anytime anyplace … and the difficulty, with all the information and ideas vying for our attention, in really thinking.

I keep a “read” file on my iPad for when I have downtime; it grows by hundreds of articles a month and eventually I delete a lot of it. Sometimes I “zen” through the headlines and pick the article the universe must mean for me to stop and read.  But I wonder what I’m missing … besides the quiet reading time that I used to enjoy. And I know the only time I’m really thinking – creating an idea or solving a problem – is when I am not in front of a piece of technology.

The opportunity to spend our time, money and attention on anything … and the difficulty, with so many options, in making a choice.

There’s a lot written about the perils of too many choices. People become paralyzed by the number of choices, the potential for failure and the pressure to achieve unattainable standards. Well, I think that last part freaks a lot of us out, but that’s another blog post.

So how do we connect with what’s important, take the time to think about what really matters, and choose wisely? Well, there’s another Churchill quote for that:

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”


What three qualities are most important in a successful leader in healthcare communications?

Posted: January 12, 2012 - 8:53 PM ET - by Elisabeth

Today’s blog post is a reprint from Communiqué. Last year the magazine posed the question, “What three qualities are most important in a successful leader in healthcare communications?” I shared my thoughts on a balanced approach to leadership, and I think it applies to many industries:

While all successful leaders need qualities that engender trust and respect – integrity, sense of purpose, vision, experience and confidence – leaders in today’s healthcare environment may be more successful by achieving a balance in three key areas: determination and flexibility; practicality and idealism; and expertise and a willingness to continue learning.

Determination and flexibility

Determination to lead an individual or a group toward a goal in the face of challenge, criticism or any number of unforeseen events should be balanced with the flexibility necessary to “pivot and turn” when a plan or goal needs to be adapted.  For example, today’s crossroads of media and technology have revolutionized the pace of communication, requiring industry leaders to think quickly, navigate skillfully and communicate effectively with their organizations’ stakeholders.

Expertise and a willingness to continue learning

The previously mentioned advances in social media and information technology have spurred rapid and dramatic change, inspiring breakthroughs in health and medicine and transforming the way information is delivered and exchanged.  Leaders in healthcare communications must understand these new resources and processes in order to assess their effects.  Experience is invaluable, but it can generate bias.  A successful leader needs to be open to new ideas and approaches.

Practicality and idealism

“There must be a better way to do this,” is a popular sentiment among leaders.  That thought stems from the practical experience of having created or done whatever “this” is and the idealism that inspires and drives a vision.  The most successful leaders – in our industry and outside of it – seem to derive this balance from an understanding of their stakeholders’ needs and expectations.


Congratulations to our contest winners!

Posted: January 3, 2012 - 8:00 AM ET - by Elisabeth

The winner was “World peace of mind” by Jennifer Newman. Since she’s a member of our own team, and we don’t want anyone to think the contest is rigged, I’ve also picked an honorable mention award winner. “Love, creativity, strength from peace” by Elysabeth Alfano. I guess peace is on my mind … And one of my favorite places to restore my strength and “peace of mind” is Elizabeth Arden, so both ladies will be receiving a gift certificate.