16 years ago we said goodbye to my dad

16 years ago we said goodbye to my dad. He taught me about challenging broken systems in a parking lot once….

At the time, he was the Head of the Anaesthesia Department for a few Ontario hospitals and was also the acting President of the Patient Safety Committee. We were heading to a presentation he was about to give.

We stepped out of the car when an anaesthetist from one of his teams saw him and walked over. I’m certain the man didn’t know that my father was about to speak about patient safety.

The individual started to talk proudly of how many ‘on-call’ shifts he had done that week. Basically, saying that he was surviving on very little sleep.

I could see that my father was not impressed.

After the man left he then explained that doctors get paid extra for each ‘on-call’ shift they do, so if they are doing numerous shifts a week, they are making a lot of extra money.

Doctors also prided themselves on an approach of being almost superhuman, believing that they could do anything.

These attitudes were creating dangerous cultures at Canadian hospitals – exhausted doctors don’t make effective ones.

Money and ego were more important than the safety of patients. This was one of the biggest challenges he was having to battle.

I see parallels with this story and what I’m seeing in business today. The traditional corporate system still very much acts without humanity at its core and has in many ways monopolized our understanding of how we think and talk about the private sector and business in general.

But there is another way – it’s what I talk about in my book, Return on Humanity: Leadership lessons from all corners of the world. It’s also why my Dad is one of the people the book is in loving memory of; so much inspiration came from him over the years.

Without question his impact and memory live on….



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