Next-generation Radiology Leadership

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Curtis PickelleIt is always encouraging to see the profession’s top-tier institutions embrace the notion of helping to develop tomorrow’s radiology leaders. It not only is the right thing to do for a profession in transition, but it validates and underscores what has become, for me, a vocational mandate. I have been dedicated to the idea of supporting imaging executives as they achieve success through innovative and proven leadership strategies; a recent experience and a new development prove that others whom I respect are equally dedicated to this mission.

Cheryl Proval and I recently participated in the annual RBMA Executive Education Program in Scottsdale, Arizona, at which a faculty of leaders in health care and radiology specifically addressed some of the most pressing issues facing the industry today. The idea that the RBMA is dedicated to educating tomorrow’s leaders is encouraging and worthy of support. The nonphysician leader in today’s radiology practice is faced with a deluge of data, information, uncertainties, and difficult decisions. It is good to know that they can find tactics and strategies to help them navigate these with current techniques and solutions, all of which were on display at the meeting.

Equally encouraging and inspirational is the fact that the ACR® has recently announced the formation of the Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI), launching in 2012 at its first invitation-only event at Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus in Illinois. Elsewhere in this issue you will find an interview with Cynthia Sherry, MD, FACR, chair of the ACR Commission on Leadership and Practice Development and medical director of the RLI.

The entire premise of Radiology Business Journal was—and is—the idea that leadership is the key to success in an increasingly complex health-care arena. Likewise, it is clear that current trends in leadership, when applied to the practice or hospital setting, can make the difference between success or failure in a less forgiving marketplace, such as the one that we are faced with today. It is only going to get more competitive, less forgiving, and less predictable in the future. When I launched this publication, the value proposition was very clearly stated in our tag line: For leaders in medical imaging services. It is with this position within the business of radiology in mind that I offer my applause and support to both the RBMA and the ACR for these programs.

Leadership today is a nuanced art form. To be successful, leaders need to be superb communicators, intellectually curious learners, innovators, analyzers, thoughtful and pragmatic strategists, and passionate about the profession that they have chosen. Nothing less will get the job done. Nothing less will result in the ideal result of leadership: followership. People will follow those they admire, respect, and feel confident about; it is the ability to instill confidence in and among the constituents that is the hallmark of true leaders. The best way to nurture such confidence is through demonstrating enthusiasm and passion for your chosen profession.

Leadership is also not for everyone. It is certainly not for those who are not fully committed to reinvention and innovation. It is, likewise, not for those who just wish that everything would stay smooth and uneventful—those who thrive on routine and predictability. Process geeks are not really inspirational leaders. Sure, the trains will run on time, but where will they be headed, and what will happen when they arrive?

We wish the RBMA and the ACR the best of luck in the continued development of their leadership courses, and we encourage you to take full advantage of the resources available to help you achieve new levels of leadership within your organization. RBJ is dedicated to making that happen, and we are pleased to share this vision with such prestigious institutions.

Curtis Kauffman-Pickelle is publisher of ImagingBiz.com and Radiology Business Journal, and is a 30-year veteran of the medical-imaging industry.