Chapter 17: Faculty Development: Caring for the Soul of MD Anderson's Faculty

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Chapter 17: Faculty Development: Caring for the Soul of MD Anderson's Faculty

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In this chapter, Ms. Yadiny characterizes the essential role of the Department of Faculty Development: to caretake the soul of MD Anderson's faculty. She begins by talking about a retreat held recently to help a department deal with issues of retaliation. She discusses her own experience consulting with this department and recounts an anecdote she heard Bill Johnson (CEO of Heinz) tell about coach. Next, Ms. Yadiny explains her goals in the years remaining before her retirement: she would like the institution to "understand the full scope of what Faculty Development does." She says that the department is "like a shaman" that brings in the whole person and provides a place of hope for faculty. In the final minutes of the interview, Ms. Yadiny discusses why her work has a spiritual dimension. She acknowledges that she has "played a pretty significant role" at MD Anderson, setting up programs and services to minister to faculty however they require.

Identifier

YadinyJA_03_20160404_C17

Publication Date

4-4-2016

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center - An Institutional Unit; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; Faith; Discovery, Creativity and Innovation; Faith, Values, Beliefs; Evolution of Career; Personal Background; The Leader; Professional Values, Ethics, Purpose; Critical Perspectives; Education; On Education; Leadership; On Leadership; Mentoring; On Mentoring; Obstacles, Challenges; Understanding the Institution; The Professional at Work

Transcript

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

What have you seen to be kind of the consequences, if a leader doesn’t pay attention or kind of stays in denial about these emotional dimensions of the process? I’m thinking, you know you see all these leaders, aspiring leaders, going through the leadership training, and I imagine there’s some who just, they want to block out that emotional part, it’s tough. You know, what, what are the consequences?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Well, affairs, divorce, illness, estrangement from children, families. I see some of the younger ones much more aware of the value of family, and who talk openly about the support they get from their spouse, and the time they have with their children, and enjoying that. There’s a terrific article that Clay Christensen wrote, called “How to Measure Your Life.” He actually wrote a book based on that. Clay Christensen is the guy who came up with Disruptive Innovation at Harvard, he’s at Harvard, and he wrote this article, it’s in the Harvard Business Review. I’ll send you a copy if you want.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

He wrote it because he said after graduating from Harvard Business School, when he came back for the reunion in five years, everybody was there with their spouses and their children, and their big jobs, and everything was going well, and then at the ten, fifteen, twenty and twenty-five year reunions, he saw broken families, divorces, second, third wives, estrangement from children, you know big, big jobs with lots of money but fractured relationships and family situations. He thought about this. He’s a Mormon. He thought about this from the point of view of his faith and he said you know, I’m sure that none of those people went into Harvard Business School saying my strategy for life is to have a great spouse for five years, and then have an affair and get a divorce, and have another, much younger spouse, and then lose contact with my children, get a third spouse, you know, and blow up my whole personal life. He said that was probably not how they went into Harvard Business School, but he said because they weren’t thinking in terms of a strategy for their lives, and what their lives were going to be like, and they hadn’t defined that, they focused only on their career. They had a strategy for their career and my God, they saw what it was they wanted to accomplish in a career, but they didn’t factor in the whole life. I love that approach and I think it’s a very wise approach to take as a professional; what is it I want my life to be all about, what legacy am I leaving my children or my grandchildren.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Do you find that there are gender differences?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Yes, absolutely. The younger generation want time with their families. I was talking to a guy at this retreat on Saturday and I said, you know, you’re such great leadership material, you could be a chair someday. He said, “Absolutely not, I don’t want that job. I want to stay in my clinical practice, I want time with my family and children, my wife. I don’t want this. This is not the kind of work I want to do,” yada-yada..

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I was going to say, are there gender differences. Are women more attentive to?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I think women get stuck with still, with a lot of the care of families, and when they have, you know, they’re really great clinicians and research scientists, they go home and frequently, they’re in charge of families, but I see a lot more balance now too. I see a lot more guys saying hey, you know, I’m leaving, I have soccer practice this afternoon, or I’m coaching a baseball team, so I’m out of here, and I love to see that. I love to see that.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I’m wondering if well, there’s always been the kind of maxim that once men begin to demand time for family life, then institutions will start recognizing that that’s an important value to support. So I’m wondering if that is going to help shift some areas of resistance, or some areas where it’s been slow to be “family friendly,” in the institution. Do you think that’s the case?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I think it has shifted things somewhat. I think you see a lot more involved young parents, male, dads, who are doing more, but I also have found that they don’t claim paternity leave.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interesting.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

You know? Most of them don’t. They may take a month, but then they feel compelled to come back. Unlike the Swedes or whatever, where paternity leave, or the Danes, they actually will do it, I think. I could be wrong about that, but I think I’ve read that they do. But that’s a societal thing, right? Here it’s just like even though you may want to do it, there’s this male thing that’s going on, that doesn’t really support men doing that.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

And that the pressure is here. You know, there’s no health in healthcare, right? There is no health in healthcare. We’re insane, the way we live and work. We’re out there preaching don’t smoke, don’t do this, don’t do that, but we’re eaten up by stress and lack of sleep and everything else, it’s crazy. The competition of academic medicine is fierce, fierce, and I think some chairs have done a much better job of setting up departments in which they’re encouraged to take paternity leave, they’re encouraged to spend time with their families, they’re encouraged to have a life outside of medicine. Chairs can make a real difference in that area. Oh yeah, they really can, they can make a real difference. So, we were talking about the emotional side of things, and emotional intelligence is hard won in academic medicine. I think we need to do a better job of talking about it, of helping people deal with, grow their emotional intelligence, and be more effective in that part of their lives, and more well-rounded. Yeah, so that’s why I talk to my shaman friend, because he talks to me from another part of myself. He addresses another part of myself and he reminds me, you know, don’t get out of balance in this way. Do your meditation, do your practices, do your yoga, spend time with your daughter, spend time with your husband, you know take time to get out in nature and go for walks, and understand that life has that part of it too. Sometimes I just need to be reminded. For some reason, I got myself into this kind of institution, right, this kind of work. Isn’t it interesting? And I ask myself why, and yet, I’ve really grown enormously in this context, so I was called to do this for some reason.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interesting. Are there other ways in which you feel you’ve grown, that you haven’t touched on so far?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I’ve become certainly much more aware of my own tendency to make myself wrong and feel shame, so I like the work of René Brown, on shame and vulnerability, because I think a lot of people have, are very vulnerable, and they hide it in so many ways. They hide it with this confident exterior or with this kind of know it all presence, or with being bullies. I could point out a number of bullies here, who hide their own vulnerability under that bullying exterior. Any time you see a bully, you know that there’s a self-esteem issue there and a need for power and control.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Absolutely.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

So you see that and you think ah-hah, I get it, what you’re doing, do you get it, what you’re doing to other people, to make yourself feel better and to feel stronger, less vulnerable?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Do people hear it, when you call them on that?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Sometimes. And there are some people I would never say it too because they’re too dangerous. There’s danger around. That’s why, the team I worked with on Saturday were appalled when they got their data back, because I exposed them and I may have exposed them too ruthlessly, or too blatantly, because they couldn’t get away from it, you know there was no leaving the room or saying oh, that’s not my data, because it was their data. But the chair was relieved, because she said to me, it’s all out on the table now. I’m not going to—there’s no retaliation here, but we as a team, have to deal with the reality of this data. She said, “I knew it was there, but I couldn’t get it out of them in the department meetings.” No, because they were—they felt unsafe. So, when we’ve worked with teams around the institution, and when I’ve had a consultant work with me, who has been the lead on it, I see him, like—it’s kind of like pulling the scabs off in a way. It’s a terrible way to put it, but in a way what you’re doing is you’re saying to the whole team, I hear your pain, but this leader is asking you to step up to the plate here to help out. So we’re working with the leader on making it safe, and indicating, in our conversations, you know, there are a lot of people here who don’t think you’re going to back them up, so if we expose the problems in this way, you better be there to back them up, or you will never get them back, the trust will be gone. So this is your opportunity to help them grow and help you get a bigger, more solid team. That’s been an eye-opener for me.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

That sounds like a really good situation, because sometimes, in these sorts of contexts, the person who calls in the consultant for help is actually the source of the problem, and they may not step up with their piece of what needs to happen to make the situation better.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

They may not. I’ve seen chairs and leaders. It’s painful, and I admire them for taking it on, this is not easy work. I really appreciate it when teams understand what the leader is going through too, that they’re asking the leader to grow, but you better be prepared to grow yourself as well, because you can’t just blame up, right?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right, oh yeah, totally.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

You need to take responsibility for the way the team functions. It’s hard.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Interpersonal dynamics, wow. Yeah.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

You know, when you look at how—if we look at the shamanism thing again, it’s just human psychology, it was another form. It was the beginnings of human dynamics and human psychology, yes, and leaders in tribes, for instance, were put through various tests, and the medicine man or the shamanic figure, whoever that was, was put through various tests, personality tests, personal tests, to see if they could grow into the role, because you acquired power, personal power, insight, psychological insight. Some people on that path to power chose the dark side, literally either fell into it or chose that, resonated more with the dark side, and some chose the path of light and of enlightenment or whatever. But you can see that in institutions; people who have chosen the dark side of power, and others who have—and become big bullies and big, you know, I want to say testosterone-driven egomaniacs, and others, you know, even women who have chosen bullying over insight and subtlety and interpersonal knowledge, you know knowledge of self, and others who have become quite enlightened leaders.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

That’s quite the question to ask a leader to look at, you know, have you chosen the dark side or the light side.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

The dark side or the light, yeah. I’ve never asked a leader that.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

That’s the question you ask, you know, in front of your bathroom mirror, you know during a dark night of the soul. You may not want to admit that, or even asking the question sometimes.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Yeah. That’s why having a really good coach counts. I heard Bill Johnson, who was CEO of Heinz for 15 years or 16 years, give a talk at a leadership summit, maybe three years ago, and I took extensive notes. He stood up there, he didn’t have slides or anything, he had a yellow pad like this, that he’d made notes on, and he had his wife in the audience. He talked about the fact that his executive coach, who helped him write a book on leadership, was the person he’d thrown out of his office more than any other person, and hung up on more than any other person, but he always called her back, because she was the only one who dared to tell him the truth. So he took her to meetings with him, she watched him, worked with his team. She gave him really brutal feedback and she was the one, she was the shaman. She was the shaman for him, and he said he couldn’t have done it without her, but he was smart enough to say, I needed her to tell me when I was being a jackass, or I was using, you know power inappropriately, or I was not using my vulnerability. I was so impressed with this guy and he said, I’ve got my wife, there’s my wife back there, and when I come home at night, she’s always been the one to say leave that CEO personality at the door, you’re not a CEO here, so some on in and set the table. Wow.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well that’s, you know, that’s another commentary on how easy it is for a person to lose themselves in a role and lose their life in the process.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Right, yeah, lose themselves, that’s a good way to put it, and they do, we can lose ourselves. My husband is that for me. He knows when I’m functioning from the CEO personality and he says stop. Not that I’m CEO, but you know when I’m out of touch with myself. Stop.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Very valuable, to have those mirrors around you, mirrors and reminders.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

You know, and there are times when you have to gird your loins. This guy, Bill Johnson, gave an example of when he decided that he had to shut down Heinz Soup, the division, and he brought all the executives and their wives to a hotel, and he brought them into the ballroom, and he delivered the hard message. He said I’m sorry, but we have to shut it down. And he had packages for them and he explained how this was going to work, and the wives were there. This was devastating, these people were losing big, big, big careers, right? But it wasn’t making money and they just couldn’t continue. He said he went upstairs to his room and cried like a baby.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, I bet.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

But he said that’s what it takes. He said you’d better be able to go somewhere and cry like a baby, because you’ve hurt people. But you had to make that tough decision, you know, and you had to get in there and deliver that message and say thanks and here’s what we’re going to do for you, but you can’t cry in front of them, but you have to go somewhere and cry like a baby because it’s tough and you just lost a bunch of friends.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, because it’s not just a business moment, it’s a human moment.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

No, and you have to help them find other paths and other jobs and everything. I thought, this guy is really real, you know, and he said, I bring my wife to things like this because afterwards, she’ll tell me where I was full of shit, you know, or if I wasn’t being true to myself.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

I wanted to ask you too, you mentioned the fact that you’re thinking about end of time here with MD Anderson. What is it that you really want to accomplish in whatever time you’re going to remain at the institution?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

I want the institution to understand what it is we do in my area, the full scope of what we do, and we need to do a better job of communicating that to them, because many of them don’t know. They may know Walter Baile and what he does, they may know Bob, they may know me, they may know Janice Simon, but they don’t—or Warren Holleman, but they frequently don’t know that we all work together, right? And that my view of the work we do is coherent. I almost say we’re kind of like the shaman group in the institution, we carry that way with us, we open up that way for people, so that we’re not just talking about, so when are you going to be promoted and what’s all that about, and what’s this brilliant career you’re going to have. We bring in that other side of their lives, we understand that there’s that other side. We address the full human, personality, soul, if you will, family person, lover, mate, parent, child, all of that, that we both walk with them on the way, we have some wisdom about what that’s all about and how painful it is, how challenging. I’ve never really found a good way to talk about what we do fully, but I think I’m finding it right now, in what I’m saying to you, that that’s what we do, we’re kind of the shamans of the faculty, you know? Some of them would roll their eyes if I said it that way but it’s Clay Christensen’s, how are you going to measure your life? Your life. Not just how many awards are you going to win, how many trophies are you going to get, how many certificates. You know, are you going to get the Lasker Award or are you going to get this award or that award, or even win a Nobel Prize. People who have won Nobel Prizes, at the end of the day, they go home.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

So what is home life like, what is your other life like? What is your life?

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

It’s kind of interesting, people talk about the heart of MD Anderson, but the soul of MD Anderson is certainly in the faculty, it’s in the staff, and the soul needs to be a whole thing. I mean, so you hold the soul of the faculty and make sure that there is a soul for the faculty, that it isn’t something that’s parked at the door, you know because it’s only the brain that’s important.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Yeah, and we overvalue the brain here and yet, you know, it’s strange to think about it. We’re a place of hope and of a lot of death and dying. A lot of people end their lives here, and who’s looking after them? The place that I found, the group I found most soulful, and if I were to die at MD Anderson, I’d want to be in their hands, is palliative care. When my friend Elizabeth died in palliative care, it was such a relief, because they carried us, you know, to the other side with her. That was quite an experience and I knew that they got it, what’s it like to be a real human being, and they ministered to the whole family, to all of us who were in the room with her for days and days, and to her. It wasn’t just about her and her passing, it was about everybody else in the room too, and our acceptance of it and our ability to look at it and be there with her. It was really something. I wrote to Eduardo Bruera afterwards, the chair of the department, and I said we’re so lucky to have you and your whole team, and I mean the doctors and the nurses and everybody who came in, they honored the life and the death of Elizabeth.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

You’ve mentioned spiritual texts and kind of the spiritual dimension so often, I’m wondering, do you find that the work that you do has a spiritual dimension?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Oh, yeah.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

How so?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

And if I didn’t—you know, sometimes, as I say, that’s why I call my friends who are consultants but very deeply spiritual people, and I know a number—I have a number of friends who get it, that the work we do is spiritual work, it really is.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Why is that?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Because you’re working with the complete human being and you’re going down to soul level, and when people open up to you and tell you what they’ve experienced and what has hurt them the most and damaged them the most, it’s like what you do Tacey, it’s soul-level work, you know people dare to cry in front of you and become very vulnerable. That’s the soul. So what are we here on earth to do, what are we here on earth to accomplish? So, what I’m here to do, for some reason, I got planted in MD Anderson, and I think I’ve played a pretty significant role, and I’m proud of what my group has done, and I want the faculty and the trainees that we work with to understand that we minister unto them, professionally and in whatever way they need us. Some do need us for more spiritual discussions, some need us for more psychological repair and help. Some need us for just what we know and understand; how do I manage this team, how do I develop this team. Okay, we’ve got all these levels of expertise, experience and knowledge, but at the end of the day, what is it we do? We minister to the souls of the faculty and the trainees, that’s basically it, and I think it’s hugely spiritual and you have to really honor that, and the only way you can honor it is to honor it in yourself at the same time, self-compassion. It’s tough, I’m not so compassionate to myself. So that’s what I was talking to my friend on Sunday morning, who is a really first-rate executive development person, deeply spiritual, and we did a two-hour walking meditation that he took me on, and he guided me through the whole thing, and it was unbelievable and just what I needed. He’s actually the person who put me on to the shaman guy, so he’s done 15 years of very serious spiritual development and I’ve done a lot of work myself. So I think that’s what it is, you know, and I think that people get it when they’re with you, that this is who you are and that you can go this way or you can go that way, which way do you want. I’ll open up myself to you, I’ve got a whole range of things, see, see, we can go whatever way you want. Some people, I intuitively sense that they need that deeper conversation, and so that’s fine and they’ll go there, and other people, they just don’t want to go there and that’s fine.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And with some people it changes. Some people may start and they need a little longer to develop trust, or they may not think that a particular conversation, like an interview like we’re doing, like an ostensible conversation about career or leadership development could even take them to that place, but then they start to realize wow, this is actually possible, to go out of that comfort zone or go down a different path.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

And I need it.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And they’ll take it, yes.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Yeah, I need it.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Right. So, I think it’s always interesting. I always say you work with people where they are, you know, you don’t try to push, you just work with people where they are and do what you do, and allow those possibilities to present themselves, and then the person will take what they’re ready to take. I mean, my practice is gentler than yours is, you know, in a sense it’s your job to be a bit confrontational at times.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Sometimes.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

And push people. You need to look at this if you want to advance. Mine is a little bit of a gentler process.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

We end up at the same place though, with the real story, the real goods.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, it’s very true. Exactly, and with people who appreciate that you’ve offered them that opportunity, you know? Yeah, it is, it’s a very interesting thing, allowing—I always call it opening a space where people can pour out who they are and take a look at it, and how often does that happen in someone’s life, where they have that. It’s very rare, where it’s not oh, I’m going to cut your salary because of what you’ve revealed, or I’m going to, you know, attack you because of what you’ve revealed. We’re here to make that a growth opportunity.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Right, yeah.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Very cool.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Yeah, it is.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Is there anything else that you’d like to add at this point?

Janis Apted Yadiny:

No, I don’t think so, I think that tied it up beautifully.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Oh, good.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

And thank you for letting me ramble on there, because I really hit on some things that were meaningful to me, in how to talk about this work.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, well, that’s, that’s what we’re here to do. (laughs)

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Thank you.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Well, I want to thank you so much for the time you’ve given to the project.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

My pleasure, it’s great.

Tacey Ann Rosolowski, PhD:

Yeah, it’s been a real pleasure. Well, I’m turning off the recorder, at about 22 minutes of three. Thank you again.

Janis Apted Yadiny:

Great, thank you.

Chapter 17: Faculty Development: Caring for the Soul of MD Anderson's Faculty

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