One can’t help but seek significance in the death of someone as iconic as Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs. Of all the things that he meant to those of us who have made our careers in the business world, among the most important and lasting, I believe, is that he had a unique and highly visible passion and love for his chosen path. Yes, he was a genius on several levels, but for me, his genius was in his ability to persuade and transform a generation through inspiration. He inspired followership, and therein lies the message for today’s imaging leaders.
In thinking about this notion of followership as leadership’s corollary, it occurred to me that it can make a difference to entire organizations when leaders truly and demonstrably love what they do for a living. Through instilling in the organization’s stakeholders a true sense of mission, the inspirational leader calls upon the unique power of passion, focus, determination, communication, and vision to instill an ethos that will drive the team toward success. The team will want to succeed, and it will follow its leader because he or she has combined these characteristics in a way that brings meaning to the endeavor.
At some point, we all strive for significance and meaning, and we are attracted to those who embody such attributes. We tend to go above and beyond the call of duty when we see how these qualities can transform ordinary human beings into inspirational leaders, particularly in difficult times. Theirs is an art form that includes a talent for motivating those around them to want to achieve and develop.
These are incredibly difficult times for imaging leaders. In a veritable perfect storm, issues have combined to create an unforgiving marketplace—one that is more competitive, less secure, increasingly confusing, and extremely unpredictable. This is not an imaging market that will suffer fools lightly, nor one that will be a safe haven for the mediocre, lazy, or ineffective. It’s tough, and it is going to get even tougher.
Heat and Grace
If you are a leader who truly loves what you do, though, these challenges will not seem insurmountable. They will be a rallying cry for innovation and an opportunity to reinvent the way you manage your time, resources, and assets to show the way forward for those entrusted to your leadership. It is a huge responsibility, and it is most likely to be accompanied by a somewhat thankless audience, at times. The ability to take some heat and still demonstrate grace under pressure, however, will be yet another attribute of those imaging leaders who will embrace these new realities. Opportunity still exists for those willing to pave a new pathway toward its rewards.
When the days seem difficult, and the pressures add to the stresses that naturally accompany leadership positions, think of the lessons that can be learned from Steve Jobs—and the world’s lesser-known leaders like him. I recently learned of the passing of a fellow publisher, a colleague who loved what he did; he died at age 86, having worked at the profession he loved until just four months before his passing. There are countless stories of those who so deeply love what they do that they inspire those around them to achieve new levels of excellence and satisfaction.
Our profession needs such leaders. We need to be surrounded by those who love what they do. We need to cultivate an appreciation for those who step up and take on such a responsibility. We need to be grateful for those who emerge as enthusiastic and confident imaging executives in this time of complexity and uncertainty.
Curtis Kauffman-Pickelle is publisher of ImagingBiz.com and Radiology Business Journal, and is a 30-year veteran of the medical-imaging industry. He welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.