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Handwashing 102. It's time to come clean

Over the last year and half, how many times has the topic of handwashing come up as a means of infection control? More than once, right? From public service announcements to signage in restrooms, we are constantly being reminded not just to wash our hands, but to properly wash our hands. 

What can we learn about leadership with handwashing, especially in challenging times?

There is a very important principle that we must be sure not to overlook. It goes something like this: when you use your right hand to wash your left hand, your right hand gets clean in the process. It's pretty obvious, but we can often overlook this simple fact. 

You and I are leading our groups and teams through adversity right now. And so is your neighbour, no matter what business that is. It could be a doctor or a grocery store. It could be a bank or a dry cleaner or something else completely. Essentially, we all function as dirty hands in the current environment. While we may look upon this topic in light of a pandemic right now, I have a high degree of confidence that we can look back and see how this principle applies to adversity in the past or you could reread this several years from now and find value in this concept with the adversity of the day. 

We are all functioning as a “dirty hand” – we all have some adversity that we are working through. Yet when we use one hand to wash the other, both hands get clean! When we address the issues that affect others, it can help us to resolve our issues as well.

Many years ago, during the H1N1 pandemic (remember that one?), by addressing vaccination needs of a neighbouring business (a bank), they helped us out by promoting vaccinations on their digital sign to the entire community.

A colleague of mine in Charlotte, NC, has partnered his pharmacy with neighbouring businesses to promote wellness, testing, and even host a blood drive! 

Sometimes the opportunities are not all that obvious. Sometimes you have to look a little closer. And even sometimes our neighbours have found other “hands to wash.” But do not miss this point: we all need to be washing our hands.

Let me share another idea about handwashing: it is proactive. It is something we initiate to prevent something negative from happening. 

I do not know what all challenges you are facing personally or professionally right now, but if it is anything like what I see where I am, everyone appears to be hurting badly for workers. Help wanted signs and ads are everywhere. On LinkedIn, I am being notified daily of new and existing opportunities in the marketplace. 

Remember our previous lesson – in the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. You may find that through some handwashing you are about to find a wonderful opportunity to improve your business. 

While I cannot comment on what that may look like, I can comment that you need to wash your hands to find out….

Until next time -

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn



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