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Pharmacists – Expand your options

Have you ever had something gain your attention multiple times in a short period of time? 

Several years ago, in two separate instances in two separate situations, I heard someone mention a particular book.  It was a book I did not have and had not read before, so I decided I should probably pick it up and read it. Little did I know that there was a chapter in that book that would greatly shape my perspective and philosophy about leadership and life in general. 

I look back now and wonder how many times that book may have crossed my path before I caught on. But when I finally did catch on, it was like a sore thumb demanding attention.

I tell you that story because I am going through a similar situation now. Will I learn something as profound? I don’t know. Yet. But I think there is something here that I should share with you.

One of the things I am doing this spring is working with pharmacy students at a nearby pharmacy school. As part of my duties and responsibilities, I am working with some students on patient engagement skills. These students are early in their careers and are very much in the infancy of developing their professional personas. And they are very much following a formula. What I have gleaned so far is that pretty well everyone is following the same formula. The risk this poses is that by coupling a formula with inexperience, these students are missing opportunities to gather information and provide practical solutions to patients.

In working with these students, I find myself repeating the phrase: Options are empowering. After repeating this phrase to at least a half a dozen students, I realized that perhaps there is something here for me to learn as well.

How often do we find ourselves in situations where we feel like we have very little choice? This is the only thing we can do. Occasionally, we may look at the opposite position and then make a choice. Often, we may defend the decision as being the lesser of two evils.

We gather in this forum to consider situations from a leadership perspective. As leaders (and just as a reminder, we are all leaders), we are looking to lead others to a better place. One of the many things leaders need to do is consider the options. Perhaps solution A is not practical at this time and solution B carries with it some highly difficult logistical challenges. When we are able to get more and more options to advance ourselves forward on the table, it is so empowering! 

Maybe you are facing a tough leadership situation right now. If not, you likely have a tough situation waiting in the wings, right around the corner. I encourage you to keep this principle in mind: Options are Empowering. You may just find that more options will help you advance forward more confidently.

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn


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