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Pharmacy leadership and the riddle of the 3 frogs on a log

Often, when we start to think about how things can improve, we quickly jump to external sources and resources and become discouraged because we may not have much, if any, control over those resources.

Once there were three frogs on a log. One decides to jump. How many frogs are on the log?

Far too many people will quickly (and erroneously) answer, “Two frogs remain!”

While the answer seems obvious, the correct answer is three. All three frogs remain on the log. Why? Because deciding is not doing. Deciding does not mean that you actually do. Literally millions of people have likely decided they need to lose weight. But until they take the appropriate actions, nothing with change for them.

This is an important concept to understand, especially considering the topics we have been examining here over the last couple of weeks. 

I do not know your exact situation, but I absolutely believe it is safe to say that you would not mind if it were a little better. Obviously, if things are bad, you want to see them improve. But even if they are really good, you can probably make a list of things that would make them even better. Some may feel guilty about wanting things to be better, even when times are good. Do not fall for that trap. No matter how good things are, there are still more people we can help. 

Are all your diabetic patients at goal? Are all your hypertensive patients controlled? Are your vacations long enough? The answer is likely “no” to all these questions. Even if your patients were at goal, there are more patients out there you could help. Even if you have nice long vacations, there is probably another place (or two) that you would like to visit. 

Often, when we start to think about how things can improve, we quickly jump to external sources and resources and become discouraged because we may not have much, if any, control over those resources. I know someone who is looking to hire someone for a call centre in his business but is finding it most difficult to find strong candidates for the position and to hire the strong candidates when he does find them.  He sees limitation his external resources. 

Many people perceive leadership to be something they do to others. I have discovered that leadership is largely what we do for ourselves. As we lead ourselves better, it allows us to more effectively influence others and it creates a cascading effect all around us.

We said last time that it is so important to be bigger on the inside than we are on the outside. We even said that we need to be continuously getting bigger on the inside. 

As a reasonable person, you understand that concept. You make that decision. You are suddenly a frog on the log. You have made the decision. Then your but gets in the way.  You do not jump, and you stay on the log. You know things could be better, but you don’t have the time. You want things to be better, but life has put some challenges on your plate that most people wouldn’t understand. You are getting married. Or there is a baby on the way. You are about to move. You just moved. The staffing at work is super challenging right now. The list can go on and on with good and bad reasons. The end result is we remain stuck.  

Stuck stinks.

But your leadership can improve in the snap of your fingers. Things can begin to change in an instant. Indeed, they already have as you have read this article. How long has that taken? Minutes? Seconds? You have stepped out to read something that the majority of your colleagues would pass right by and in that limited time, you are finding encouragement. You are finding empowerment. You are standing a little taller. There is a gleam in your eye that is beginning to sparkle. Why? Because the decision you have made has shown up in action. You are the frog that jumped. Right now, that action looks like a few short paragraphs. 

So, what is next?  That depends on you. You may know exactly what to do next, and you will. But you also may not be so sure. 

When I started intentionally growing my leadership skills, it was because someone told me that leadership rules and skills could be learned. So, I set out to learn them. This was a humbling experience as I realized how many of those rules I was breaking as a leader. This wasn’t intentional. I simply didn’t know any better. But now, I could see the direct impact in my result, and I could look back over my career and successes and failures that corresponded obeying the rules. 

Be the frog that jumps. It will not be easy, but it will be rewarding.

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn


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