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Timing is everything in pharmacy leadership

Timing is key for effective pharmacy leadership. Learning when to lead is as important as where to lead. Think of some times when your leadership timing wasn’t right. There are many lessons that can learned by studying the ideal timing of action.

I might as well just come out and say it. I am a nerd. I mean, last week I was quoting Star Wars, which I would hazard a guess you probably haven’t seen too many times before in an article for pharmacists. So, hang on, we are going to go a bit deeper into my Nerd World today and look for another leadership principle that is so important to our success.

In 2018, I had the opportunity to attend a pharmacy conference in San Diego which was held in the San Diego Convention Center. I had attended other events in San Diego before, but come 2018, this Convention Center had solidified its status as the epicentre of popular culture with Comicon International. At these events, some of the biggest announcements for movies, and particularly Marvel movies, had been made. These announcements were made in Hall H and have become a highlight of the event. Now I have no intention of causing any controversy as to whether you like Marvel movies, or you're a DC Comics fan. 

I do, however, intend to pull a lesson for us from it.

You see, when I was at the San Diego Convention Center, I had to make my pilgrimage to Hall H, just so I could say that I had been there and could try to impress my other nerd friends. (Yes, nerds have friends – nerd friends). So, I took the long walk to the far end of the convention center so I could take a picture. 

 

Convention Centre

You can easily tell from this picture that I am a pharmacist and not a photographer, or at least I am not a pharmacist with photographic expertise. It’s a bit blurry, but you can see Hall H at the end of the building. 

But don’t miss this: where are all the people?  Sure, you can see a small handful of people in my picture, but do you have any idea what that picture would look like during the Marvel Studios session? It would be insane! People would be all over Hall H. There would be people spilling over into the streets.

What separates this quiet Hall H picture with a Hall H swarming with people? Time!

Or perhaps for my experience: the timing. If I had taken this picture just a few weeks later, it would have looked dramatically different.

There is an important leadership principle here that we must not miss. Timing is so key for our leadership. In other words, when we lead matters as much as the act of leading itself. Knowing when to lead can be hard to do. We can lead too early, and we can lead too late. When it comes to the time to lead, there is a sweet spot determining when this should happen. 

As pharmacists, we lead people to better health through the appropriate use of medications. One way we do this is through the administration of vaccines, and the timing of vaccines is so important. 

One year, we had flu vaccine in the middle of July and many pharmacists were concerned that it was too early to be administering them. In essence, it was too early.  But fast forward to the end of November and pharmacies still have dozens and dozens of doses. When I would ask these pharmacists what happened, the response was something to the effect of “everyone has one.” Or in other words, it was now too late to capture the ideal window of opportunity. 

Timing is key for effective pharmacy leadership. Learning when to lead is as important as where to lead. Think of some times when your leadership timing wasn’t right. There are many lessons that can learned by studying the ideal timing of action.

Until next time –

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn

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