South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday May 18, 2021

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November 2004 - Volume 1 - Issue 4

Publisher’s Note

Donkey or Elephant …
Every Vote Counts!

Has it really been four years already? In the year 2000, I was living in Birmingham, Alabama, and still a premature Boomer. Yet, in political terms, this month seems like "déjà vu all over again."

As you entered the voting booth this week (and hopefully you did), didn’t it seem like only yesterday when we were inundated with lock boxes, hanging chads, and on-the-mark impressions of Al Gore and George Bush on Saturday Night Live.

Yet, here we are again in the midst of it. Although hopefully this one ended on Election Day! I know a lot of folks despise the process but I, for one, find it fascinating, this year in particular. Think about it: Over the past year, we’ve been treated to the spectacle of a variety of personality types and styles unmatched since the days of Richard Nixon, Eugene McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Nelson Rockefeller, and Pat Paulsen. (I know my age is showing.) But it was so easy to make fun of these men and their traits, from Joe Lieberman’s less than charismatic delivery, to Rev. Al Sharpton’s revival meeting style, to Dennis Kucinich’s unkempt appearance, to Howard Dean’s now infamous "Aarrrgh!"

But even though we rarely saw each candidate only to the extent that their handlers exposed them (except when, in a rare and stressed moment, they lost a little control — see the Dean reference above) one thing has emerged this year: the incumbent President George Bush and the Democratic candidate John Kerry presented distinctive styles of management and leadership.

As I watched the debates, critiques and one-on-one interviews with people like Tim Russert unfold on television, it caused me to think. (That phenomenon alone is worth noting, since rarely does anything on TV make me think these days.) One of the things it prompted me to think about was this: What if individuals who run health care facilities were chosen not in one of the traditional ways (i.e., demonstrate qualifications for the position, exhibit an admirable work ethic, schmooze key board members or discredit rivals in a way that would make Machiavelli proud) but, rather, had to campaign for the position?

What would each president or CEO run on? What current or even past presidential candidate’s image would they most resemble in style and philosophy? Are they great communicators like Ronald Reagan? A charmer like Bill Clinton? Or youthful and energetic like John Edwards?

Like the daily popularity polls or job approval ratings, perhaps his or her standing among employees would fluctuate, depending on whether the administration announced a nice salary increase — or layoffs. Would criticism be levied against "cabinet" choices (those individuals chosen for upper management positions) or would past decisions or even indiscretions come back to haunt someone?

Does a CEO candidate have any off-the-wall relatives he might want to ship out of South Florida until the election is over? Where would he stand among the "liberal" members of your staff? How about the "vast right wing conspiracy" in nursing or dietary? Would the potential CEO be seen as a defender of high standards who can maintain employee morale while always doing what’s best for the institution’s patients, or merely a pawn of special interest groups, like radiology or surgery.

Most importantly, once the CEO is in office — could he be re-elected? Would he want to be? And, if so, would he ever consider boosting his chances by ordering a hostile takeover of another facility, ostensibly to find those wickedly misguided doctors, more commonly known as WMDs.

Hey, it could happen.

Hope your Election Day was a good one!

Charles Felix

You can reach Charles Felix at
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