Chapter 15: The Division of Diagnostic Imaging Creates a Leadership Development Program

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Chapter 15: The Division of Diagnostic Imaging Creates a Leadership Development Program

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Dr. Hicks begins this chapter by talking about the vision he created for the Division in 2010, even before he took over as head, with a particular focus on developing internal leadership. Dr. Hicks explains that the division created a program of “Ten Things You Need to Know in a Year” to counteract the fact that the Faculty Leadership Academy did not address some practical skills that division leaders needed. These fell into three categories: knowing and managing self; managing others; systems management. He describes the pilot program the division ran and the positive results: the Leadership Academy began to absorb some of the division practices. He confirms that in the next fiscal year, the division will be working with HR and Faculty and Academic Development to continue the program. He also stresses that leaders need a support network for coaching and problem solving when challenges arise.||Session Four: 24 July 2018

Identifier

HicksM_03_20180703_C15

Publication Date

7-3-2018

Publisher

The Making Cancer History® Voices Oral History Collection, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - Building the Institution; Leadership; On Leadership; MD Anderson Culture; Building/Transforming the Institution; Growth and/or Change; Professional Practice; The Professional at Work

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Now did you have a strategic plan for this when you took on as division head, I mean kind of envisioning the contours of all of this? That’s the fun part isn’t it? [laughs]

Marshall Hicks, MD:

Yeah, well I mean they asked for that. I created a fairly lengthy document. That was my summer in Colorado in 2010, right before I became division head in September, was really creating that vision and providing it. This was after I was selected, they wanted to really have a more detailed vision, and it was really about all of these areas. There were some changes that needed to be made in certain areas, but really, it was starting to take things to the next level for all of these areas, but a lot of it is leaders. Getting a permanent chair in Diagnostic Radiology, recruiting David in for CSI, establishing Interventional Radiology as a separate department, creating a leader there. Mike Wallace became the interim chair there. Creating opportunities for great leaders to step in and help take things forward was really a major goal of mine to take it forward.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Were there specific leadership support initiatives you set in place as division head, to create that environment, to promote leaders from within, develop your skills?

Marshall Hicks, MD:

It took a little while but about a year before I went upstairs [to the presidential floor], so it’s been about two years now, we established a leadership development program in the division. It was really based on the experience of watching leaders either develop or struggle with development over the course of time, and realizing that we offer—the Faculty Leadership Academy is great, it provides great opportunities to many people who pursue degrees outside of here, but there are just some practical things to being a leader that are not always developed or provided as an opportunity for development. So we actually looked at creating a program that would be like what are the ten things that you really need to know in a year to be a successful leader. If you can’t do these ten things regularly, if you haven’t mastered them, then you’re going to struggle.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

I’m dying to know what they are.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

And as we broke it down further, it started to take the shape of, there are things --self-directed, self-leading, knowing yourself and managing yourself. There’s managing others, as the second piece. Then there’s systems management; what do I need to learn to be successful in particular in MD Anderson. So we broke it down. We ended up prioritizing, but we had a list under each of those and it really became more of a year and a half program, two-year program. We ran a pilot, put about 15 people through it for one year and took two or three things from each of those areas and said here are some things we need to do. You know for managing others, one of the big things of course is conflict resolution and difficult conversation, so we pulled in Walter Baile [oral history interview] for his workshop and the model was used was on these ten topics. It may have been nine or eleven, I can’t remember exactly, but the original idea were the top ten things. The model was let’s have a workshop or a session, and then let’s have some follow-up round tables and maybe share articles and talk about experiences and problems that they’re having. It was really as much about educating as it also was developing a network for leaders, so that leaders had somebody, you know “I’ve now got a different conversation coming up next week or two weeks from now, I remember having this conversation, I remember it was in my little group. I’m going to call and talk this through, maybe even role play a little bit and stuff.” Walter did a great job with the workshop. Then we’d have the follow-up roundtable with some articles that people read ahead of time, to talk about. It was things like managing a meeting, it was networking and the concept of managing peers. Now you’re in a role as a faculty member and the next thing you know you’re a section chief. You’ve got peers you’ve been working with for years and now you’re managing them. How is that different? How do you have to think of yourself differently? Things like that. In systems management it was realizing a need to get people connected with key individuals for whatever level they’re at in the organization. They need to be comfortable reaching out and talking to people, whether it’s in Finance or whether it’s in HR, different things like that. So it was providing some structure around that, around those three areas. I got feedback from it. It was ending, finishing right when I went upstairs, so when we took an assessment—and then of course the Leadership Academy that’s created at the institution level, started to absorb or take some of these best practices. That was one thing I presented right before I went upstairs, was actually what we were starting to do there. So I think some of these can be incorporated, but the concept was that’s great if it can be incorporated but the concept locally was practical learning. Then the networking opportunity to create a leadership support structure within the division.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

That was the concept. What came out of it from the feedback was the stuff we did was great but where I really need help is in managing others, managing performance. So it’s more than just a difficult conversation in conflict resolution. It’s how you—it’s really managing that process, from the first coffee talk, all the way through what could end up in an HR action. Oftentimes when you’re at this end, you look at the appraisals and everything is groovy, everything is fine, or nobody has had the conversation or whatever. Then you’ve got a situation that’s worse than it needs to be because it was never really dealt with. A lot of that, when you talk to leaders, they’re not comfortable with that, they were never trained in it. They were never supported in doing that. They don’t know what to do. That’s the feedback we heard. So now going forward, that’s what we’re going to focus on in fiscal year ’19, is working with individuals from FAA and HR to create sort of a mini program around those things for our section chiefs and department chairs.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Wow, that’s really neat, yeah.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

It was a while coming but to me it’s so important to support the leaders.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Is it unusual for a division to have created something like that internally?

Marshall Hicks, MD:

I think so. I’m not aware of anybody else that’s done it.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

I haven’t heard about anybody else, and I guess that was my final question because we’re at 11:05, we’ve gone over a little bit.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

No, just as an aside, I watched leaders struggle and it was the same thing. It’s like, I just cannot let this happen anymore. I’ve got to provide them support, and it’s practical stuff. I’ve seen people get these degrees and they still don’t get it, you know? So it’s what can you do on a very practical level.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Well and the conversations in leadership training now is that leadership is really a set of behaviors that have to be integrated into a person’s normal way of being. It’s not a checklist of, oh did that, did that, did that.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

Exactly right.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

And it takes self-knowledge. It takes subtle shifts in how you interact with people, and that just is a process and people need to be supported throughout it, and they need feedback. Yeah.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

And unfortunately for some of these things --and like most things, you don’t get better at it unless you do it and use it. Some of these things, like the difficult conversations, you don’t have a lot of them, but probably more than you realize. Then it’s the preparation and it’s having the resources and support when you need it. They say leadership happens in the moment. All this coaching is great but the coaching works best for me when I’m in a situation and I need to run it past somebody or talk to somebody, because it’s in the moment. You can prep all you want and then something comes up that you’ve never seen before or heard before and it’s like okay, what do you do now. Anyway—

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Well thanks very much.

Marshall Hicks, MD:

Thank you. Good to see you again.

T. A. Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, it’s always an interesting conversation. Let me just say for the record, I’m turning off the recorder at about seven minutes after eleven. Thanks so much for your time.

Chapter 15: The Division of Diagnostic Imaging Creates a Leadership Development Program

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