Spirituality and the physician executive. (Reconciling the Inner Self with the Business of Health Care).
* The Role of Spirituality in Business
* New Humanistic Capitalism
* The Promise of the New Century
* Spirituality Versus Religion
* Working on a Higher Plane
* The Merger of Science and Spirituality
FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE the beginning of life on this planet, a self-designing life form has evolved. We are that life form. We must take advantage of the special opportunities self-reflective consciousness brings us. Our challenge is to develop an intelligent and loving design capability that respects and protects all forms of life. It could take until the end of the century to achieve our redesign efforts, but it need not if we awaken to our collective role as the guardians of the health and well being of our planet.
We are destined to become a designer planet-- to take our rightful place in the intergalactic community. With the combined power of outer space technology and inner space spirituality, we will begin the colonization of our solar system and commence our journey to the distant planets. To attain this pioneering capability, we need to act now upon our best visions and highest aspirations.
What is spirituality?
The "s" word (spirituality) can now be spoken with comfort in our health care organizations. International conferences on the role of spirituality in business are common. Spirituality is emerging as a favorite topic in management seminars. Spirituality is often confused with religion. They are very different things. Religion refers to a specific body of beliefs, a tradition, and a prescribed set of practices. Spirituality refers to a broad set of principles that transcend all religions. For instance, the golden rule is spiritual, yet every religion recognizes it as a valid base for interpersonal action.
The most important job of the physician executive is to raise the consciousness of her organization, thereby enabling it to find allies and work with them in a process of community reinvention. Spirituality is best defined as a relationship between yourself and something larger, such as the good of your patient or the welfare of the community. Spirituality means being in right relationship to all that is. It is a stance of harmlessness toward all living beings and an understanding of their mutual interdependence.
You may be spiritual and not very religious, religious and not very spiritual, neither religious nor spiritual, or both religious and spiritual. The best position for the physician executive is to honor everyone's spirituality and respect their religious preferences.
Spiritual principles should form the foundation for all health care institutions, whether they are public or parochial. It is not appropriate to teach religion in non-church related organizations. It is always appropriate to promote spirituality. Indeed, many large American corporations are recognizing the role of spirituality in creating a new kind of capitalism that escapes greed and shares abundance, repairs our damaged natural environment, and promotes social justice among developing countries. In the new century, both not-for-profit and investor-owned health care facilities will demonstrate the socially redemptive mission of this new humanistic capitalism, which focuses upon making every member of the community a consumer, a citizen, and a voter.
Spirituality and the physician executive
The physician executive should be a primary proponent of spirituality in his organization. He can do this in the following ways:
* Model the power of spirituality in his own life. Nothing is as convincing as a life well lived where spirituality is integrated with professional competence to produce outstanding organizational outcomes.
* Integrate spiritual methodologies into clinical practice wherever possible. This can take many forms from praying for patients to supporting programs for teaching healing touch to health care professionals.
* Foster an integrative approach to patient care by combining allopathic medicine with the best of the alternative and complementary modalities.
* Encourage the organization to tithe its profits for unmet community health needs.
* Support collaborative efforts to improve the health of the community. A healthier community initiative is often the best way to do this,
* Create a healing environment. This bmay take the form of a water fountain in the lobby, extensive use of natural light, aquariums, healing music, meditation gardens, walking paths, and reflecting pools.
* Provide optional coursework for employees interested in spiritual development, personal empowerment, and lifework planning. A formal mentoring program is a good way to extend and further personalize the coursework.
* Offer executive coaching to all top-level managers interested in improving their interpersonal and organizational effectiveness.
* Create a healing space that offers massage, biofeedback, and relaxation tapes. Rather than take a coffee break, a stressed staff member can retreat to a healing space for rest and revitalization.
* Explore the power of intuition in patient diagnosis and treatment. In the next few years medical intuitives will take their rightful places as members of the hospital or clinic staff.
* Create an R&D department that develops unique, value-added services melding science and spirituality to generate best-in-the-world practices. These signature services will make the organization a destination institution in the new cyberworid of health care.
Spirituality, community, and the marketplace
This century's transformative vision takes health care organizations beyond simple marketplace values into the realm of spiritual values that promote the social, political, and economic good of the community as a whole. Some physician executives will be challenged by this turnaround in value orientation. They have been schooled in scientific reductionism and market materialism and have yet to learn that good business is always spiritual and spirituality is always good business.
A spiritual orientation requires all providers to come together and form a sacred covenant to jointly meet the health needs of everyone in the community. In a spiritual context, providers view one another as "organs of the same body." Although they maintain their individuality, they also achieve a unity of purpose and function. The eye does not despise the ear. If one part of the body gets in trouble, the others do what they can to come to its aid and restore healthy function. Isn't it strange that the human body has more wisdom than our health care system? And is it not remarkable that physicians who view the body as an interactive, interdependent system do not view the health care community in the same fashion?
Science and spirituality will join in a quantum understanding of the universe. Allopathic and complimentary medicine combine to create an integrative approach to patient care. Redesign efforts in community health lead the way to a redesign strategy for the community at large. Consumers become directors of their own health care via the Internet.
A new mental model is adopted that views limitations in consciousness as the most basic problem facing health professionals and their organizations. Intuition is prized as the most valuable brain skill in corporate management and is utilized to construct alternative, preferred realities. Health care institutions race to develop signature services and thereby become destination places in a competitive global marketplace. Sound fantastic? All of this will happen in the new century, where human imagination is our only limitation and the future becomes history at an astonishing rate.
Time for a new breath
The fears of Y2K are behind us. Hopefully, the worst damage of the Balanced Budget Act has been experienced. It is time to escape the stale air of the old century and breathe in new possibilities. We are not limited by our past or by our present. We are the authors of our planetary saga and the Year 2000 is a good time to begin a new chapter. Truly, we have the opportunity to design a new health care system that serves everyone--one that generates health, designs out disease, and promotes longevity. What a wonderful time to be a physician executive! The best in medicine is just ahead of us. It is time to work on a higher plane.
Spirituality will prove to be the most powerful dimension in future health care. Working cooperatively with its sister discipline, science, it will provide an intuitive approach to diagnosing and treating patients. Spirituality is the philosophy of choice for managing 21st Century health care institutions. A spiritual framework offers a context for bringing multiple providers to the table in a collaborative effort to better serve the community. Unlike religion, which has often separated humanity, spirituality unites diverse peoples in a common effort to improve the human condition.
Roles previously reserved for government are now in the province of global corporations. Governments can no longer effectively change the world. Leading corporations will change it by viewing money as a spiritual energy that can be used to transform our world. Hospitals and health care organizations, in addition to serving members from low-income communities, should seek to improve their education and income-generating ability. There is no way to divorce health from the general well being of a population.
Our multidimensional universe
We are multidimensional creatures living in a multidimensional universe. We must learn to think and act on a higher plane. Supporting the visible universe is an invisible world that responds to our thoughts and intentions. When we change the way we think about the universe, we change the way we act upon the universe. The universe then changes the way it acts upon us. The job of the physician executive in the new century is to seed new thoughts, generate new feelings, and model new behaviors. In other words--to orchestrate the consciousness of the organization. The successful organization is one that cherishes the highest spiritual values, exhibits the most inclusive awareness, and maintains the most flexibility in its repertory of behaviors.
Organizational unity is the key to organizational power. Reality cannot be reshaped with chaotic intentions. An organization that desires to change its external reality must maintain a unified energy field. Love, nurturance, reduction of ego, and a profound respect for all people are necessary ingredients for any unified organizational effort.
To accomplish this purpose, many hospitals will develop internal corporate universities that provide continuous training in higher mental functions such as intuition, precognition, and remote sensing. Courses will be available for trustees, medical staff, nursing, management, and employees in general. As the new century accelerates, a new education will be necessary for all health care professionals. Expansion of consciousness is the prime requisite for any health care organization that desires to maintain its leadership position in the industry.
As spirit, you are. As soul, you know. As mind, you think. As emotions, you feel. As body, you act. When these five levels of your spiritual anatomy are in alignment, you have achieved enlightenment. Human growth is a process of unfoldment that takes the potentiality of spirit and manifests it at all the other levels of your being. Happiness is becoming who you are (spirit). Unhappiness is trying to become who you are not.
Human consciousness has three important properties: (1) it propels you into experience, (2) it interprets the experience once you get there, and (3) it is a running adding machine total of all of your experiences. Your consciousness is always additive, never subtractive. Therefore, if you want to become more conscious, you can only do so by gaining the requisite new experiences. Since all experience is gained in spaces (environments), a design for space is a design for consciousness. This means that every physician executive should be planning to encounter new experiences that will bring the associated consciousness.
When is the last time you went on a medicine walk, sat in a sweat lodge, or pursued a vision quest? If you have not done these things, then you do not have the consciousness that goes along with them. For you, these realities simply do not exist. Can you analyze your dreams, enter a meditative state, or celebrate your personal mythology? You probably were not taught to do these things in medical school. Most physician executives are left-brained. You can't get into the future with your left brain. The future can only be perceived or created with the right brain. If you want to prosper in the new century, you must balance both sides of your brain. This is a good prescription for your personal and professional growth. You might also want to consider getting a coach who can help you develop new capacities of consciousness.
Spiritual qualities of a physician executive
Although every physician executive will develop and experience spirituality in a unique manner, there are many shared characteristics we can identify. These include the following:
* Become a mature individual.
Becoming who you are is the work of a lifetime. It means your soul qualities are perfectly reflected in the lower vehicles of mind, emotions, and body. You have become an integrated, mature individual.
* Discover and utilize your unique potentials. You are one of a kind. Spiritual insight enables you to realize your uniqueness and use it to serve humankind. Your soul contains your birthright. It is an act of grace that gives you tremendous potential that can be developed with a little will and effort.
* Follow some spiritual path. Many paths lead to the Spirit. You must find the one that speaks to you. It may be inside or outside an organized religion. You may explore alone or with the help of a mentor.
* View your life as a spiritual journey into greater awareness.
* Assume responsibility for yourself and what is around you. In the last analysis there is no one else to hold responsible. You are the center of your universe. What is out there is your creation. Never accept an unacceptable reality--change it. There are no problems--only preferences. You cannot change anything you do not own. By accepting responsibility for what is--you can call into existence what can be. Self-responsibility is self-empowerment.
* Manifest a concern for social betterment. Ultimately any spiritual path requires you to manifest a concern for social betterment. The physician executive must seek to improve working conditions in his or her organization and living conditions in the community.
* Expand self-awareness. Spirituality cannot be divorced from a rapid growth in consciousness. Spiritual practice expands awareness and develops a multidimensional systems perspective in the practitioner.
* Experience continuous revitalization and renewal. The physician executive on a spiritual path is committed to continuous revitalization and renewal. Frequent sabbaticals provide an opportunity for soul refreshment and rededication to the task of improving health care.
* Maintain physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Spirituality by nature is holistic. The body/mind vehicle is viewed as a sacred instrument that can be utilized by the soul in this dimension. Any spiritual practitioner realizes the value of a healthy lifestyle and attempts to practice it.
Characteristics of a spiritual health care organization
As spirituality is incorporated into a health care organization's mission, values, and vision, a set of characteristics emerge. These are:
* It places the good of the community before the good of the organization. This is a tough criterion of spirituality for any organization. The question is simple--does the organization act in the best interests of the community or does it put its own welfare first and foremost?
* It is driven by its values and vision, not just its bottom line.
If spirituality is good business, organizations should do both good and well.
* It views its budget as its primary ethical and spiritual document. All of its values can be located in the strategic plan and the budget. The ultimate ethical issue is resource allocation.
* It shares its abundance in a tithing program that gives back 10 percent of its profit to the community. This is not to be confused with the organization's community benefit program that covers uncompensated care, bad debt, and charity care.
* It perceives itself as an instrument of social justice.
Of course, a medical school, hospital, clinic, HMO, or insurance company is not likely to change the world all by itself; however, it should support such efforts to the best of its ability.
* It practices the servant theory of leadership. Power often corrupts. creating a clouded vision and a corresponding lack of accountability for the right exercise of that power. In a spiritual organization, the person with the most inclusive consciousness and breadth of spiritual vision should exercise the most power in a top executive position.
* It endorses collaboration rather than competition. Competitors are viewed as allies. Using the body as a metaphor, all health care agencies are viewed as organs of a single body-the community. Translating this philosophy into action, a spiritual organization would subsidize its competitor if it got into trouble. Just as in the human body, if one function begins to fail, the whole body rallies to its support.
* It goes beyond treating disease to improving health and realizing the highest human potential of its patients and community. It operates a child potentiation program for its youngest community members and a sage-ing program for its elders.
* It encourages patients to assume personal responsibility for themselves and their health.
Patients are viewed as co-participants in the healing process. Physicians assume the role of guides and fellow travelers.
* It values spiritual development when selecting and promoting employees. Executives are expected to walk the talk.
* It utilizes ritual and ceremony to empower itself, generate energy, and create its preferred future. A spiritual organization remembers its past, celebrates its present, and envisions its future. It uses the power of spirituality to time travel.
* It assumes responsibility for "what is!, A spiritual organization transforms its community because it freely owns all of its problems. It can therefore change what it sees as its own creation.
Ask yourself how well your organization meets these spiritual criteria. Better yet, share the criteria with your board and executive management staff and launch a much-needed discussion about why your organization exists and whom it serves. Such soul searching may break the hypnotic spell of the health care marketplace that has overcome the consciences of many CEOs and their corporate leadership teams.
The new century is here. It will surpass what we can imagine, yet we will be its creators. It is a splendid era, a golden age of medicine, health, and well being. It is made possible by the long delayed merger of science and spirituality. The physician executive will play a key role in this social transformation and become a change vortex in the organization and community.
RELATED ARTICLE: Spirituality and the Physician Executive
The physician executive should be a primary proponent of spirituality in health care organizations. Nothing is as convincing as a life well lived, where spirituality is integrated with professional competence to produce outstanding organizational outcomes. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
1. Model the power of spirituality in your own life.
2. Integrate spiritual methodologies into clinical practice wherever possible.
3. Foster an integrative approach to patient care by combining allopathic medicine with the best of the alternative and complementary modalities.
4. Encourage the organization to tithe its profits for unmet community health needs.
5. Support collaborative efforts to improve the health of the community.
6. Create a healing environment.
7. Provide optional coursework for employees interested in spiritual development, personal empowerment, and lifework planning.
8. Develop a formal mentoring program.
9. Offer executive coaching to all top-level managers.
10. Create a healing space for staff that offers massage, biofeedback, and relaxation tapes.
11. Explore the power of intuition in patient diagnosis and treatment
12. Create an R&D department that develops unique, value-added services melding science and spirituality to generate best-in-the-world practices.
Leland R. Kaiser, PhD
Spiritual Qualities of a Physician Executive
Although every physician executive will develop and experience spirituality in a unique manner, there are many shared characteristics, which include the following:
1. Become an integrated, mature individual.
2. Discover and utilize your unique potentials.
3. Follow the spiritual path that speaks to you alone or with the help of a mentor.
4. View your life as a spiritual journey into greater awareness.
5. Assume responsibility for yourself and what is around you.
6. Manifest a concern for social betterment.
7. Expand self-awareness and develop a multidimensional systems perspective.
8. Experience continuous revitalization and renewal by taking sabbaticals.
9. Maintain physical, emotional, and mental fitness.
Leland R. Kaiser, PhD
Characteristics of a Spiritual Health Care Organization
As spirituality is incorporated into a health care organization's mission, values, and vision, a set of characteristics emerge. The spiritual organization:
1. Places the good of the community before the good of the organization.
2. Is driven by its values and vision, not just its bottom line. If spirituality is good business, organizations should do both good and well.
3. Views its budget as its primary ethical and spiritual document. The ultimate ethical issue is resource allocation.
4. Shares its abundance in a tithing program that gives back 10 percent of its profit to the community.
5. Perceives itself as an instrument of social justice.
6. Practices the servant theory of leadership. The person with the most inclusive consciousness and breadth of spiritual vision should exercise the most power in a top executive position.
7. Endorses collaboration rather than competition.
8. Goes beyond treating disease to improving health and realizing the highest human potential of its patients and community.
9. Encourages patients to assume personal responsibility for themselves and their health. Physicians assume the role of guides and fellow travelers.
10. Values spiritual development when selecting and promoting employees. Executives are expected to walk the talk.
11. Utilizes ritual and ceremony to empower itself, generate energy, and create its preferred future.
12. Assumes responsibility for "what is." A spiritual organization trans forms its community because it owns all of its problems and can therefore change what it sees as its own creation.
Leland R. Kaiser, PhD
Lee's Book Picks
Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life
by Gregg Lavoy
New York, New York: Three Rivers Press, 1998
What is your unique calling in life? Do you have a sense of destiny? What role do you play in the overall purpose and plan for this planet? This is a book filled with deep insight on the spiritual life and makes many suggestions for being authentic and finding your way in the world.
Awakening Corporate Soul
by Eric Klein & John Izzo
Lions Bay, B.C. Canada: FairWinds Press, 1998
If you want to incorporate spirituality into your workplace, this is an excellent primer. This book integrates leadership, organizational development, and spirituality and lays out all the basics you need to build a solid foundation for your organizational efforts.
Synchronicity: The Inner Path of leadership
by Joseph Jaworski
San Francisco, California: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 1996
If you are interested in why sometimes everything along your life path comes together in an almost unbelievable way, this is a must-read. This is the remarkable story of one man's journey to an understanding of the issues of leadership.
Lee's Spiritual Leadership
Jesus, CEO, Laurie Beth Jones
New York, Hyperion, 1995
The Path, Laurie Beth Jones
New York, Hyperion, 1996
The Heart Aroused, David Whyte
New York, Currency Books, 1994
Love and the Soul
New York, HarperPerennial, 1995
The Tao of Leadership
New York, Bantam Books, 1986
Leading With Soul
Lee Bolman & Terrence Deal
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1995
Mind of a Manager, Soul of a
Leader, Craig Hickman
New York, John Wiley, 1990
Leadership and the New Science
San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 1994
Sound Mind, Sound Body
New York, Fireside, 1994
Visionary Leadership, Burt Nanus
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1992
The Global Brain Awakens
Palo Alto, Global Brain Inc., 1995
The Soul of a Business
New York, Bantam, 1993
The Leader as a Martial Artist
New York, Harper San Francisco, 1992
The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook
Peter Senge (et al)
New York, Currency Books, 1994
Spirit at Work
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1994
The Phoenix Agenda
New York, John Wiley, 1993
The Corporate Mystic
Gay Hendricks & Kate Ludeman
New York, Bantam Books, 1996
Seeker and Servant
Anne Fraker & Larry Spears (Eds)
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1996
Futures by Design, Doug Aberley (Ed)
Philadelphia, New Society
The Soul of Politics, Jim Wallis
New York, The New Press, 1994
Managing the Unknowable
San Francisco, Jossey-Bass, 1992
The Age of Participation
Patricia McLagan & Christo Nel
San Francisco, Berrett-Koehler, 1995
Awakening Earth, Duane Elgin
New York, William Morrow, 1993
Family of Light, Barbara Marciniak
Bear & Company
Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1999
Leland R. Kaiser, PhD, is President of Kaiser & Associates, a health care consulting firm in Brighton. Colorado. He is an Associate Professor in the Executive Program in Health Administration, Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Colorado at Denver. He teaches physicians about leadership for the American College of Physician Executives. Visit www.kaiser.net for information on creating healthier communities, additional resources, and course information. Lee can be reached by calling 303/659-8814 or via email at Ikaiser@kaiser.net.
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|Author:||Kaiser, Leland R.|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2000|
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