FROM THE CHAIRMAN
by Michael Gregory, M.D.
August 31, 2012
Last Friday, I sat with one of our newest junior executives who asked me, "Why is it that people spend so much money hiring us when they don't take our advice?" My gut response was, "Thank God they don't know what we know." He was obviously frustrated that he had joined what he believed to be an industry leader, and the very people who were paying his salary did not want to hear what he had to say. My more experienced friends would say, "Welcome to consulting." However, this young man was not hired to recommend; he was hired to do. Doing is what we do at Apogee. In fact, in this young person's mind, anything but actionable results is a waste of effort. He is Apogee.
Clearly, there is more to the story. In our business, our partners hire us as a result of the expertise we possess. We are somehow able to see things a little differently, deliver more consistently, or as in many cases, we simply allow our partners to improve their performance in their “real” jobs. In my brief, read very brief, life as a consultant, I have recommended, advised, consulted, and blah blah blah'ed myself to death. The fact is that no one wants to hear about his or her own problems, and few people are willing to listen to you when you tell them how to solve those problems. What we do is more challenging.
We don't recommend…we DO! Apogee is a company of action. We build and operate the solutions we recommend. Actions consist of two things and two things only: what we say and what we do. The last three words of that sentence are the most important three words in the success of any business. However, the previous words are much more important than the last three. You have all heard, "talk is cheap." And it is. Have dinner with my five-year-old, and you will realize this quickly. Get into an argument with your spouse, and realize that where you live and the lives of your children depend upon communication. What is said and how it is said is at least as important as what is done. Relationships depend upon communication to such an extent as to be nonexistent without it.
Apogee must deliver on its commitments, but in order to do so, we cannot allow partner hospitals, the very people who are paying us to help them, to tell us how to do our jobs. However, we can never forget the importance of communication and understanding when we are thousands of miles away from a situation. We are experts, but our partners live the problems we discuss. While Apogee may launch four hospitalist programs in a month, none of our clients cares about that. As far as each client hospital is concerned, its hospitalist program is the only one on Earth. At the end of the day, we are responsible for that one hospitalist program.
Almost none of us will be buried in the communities we serve. We need to listen, try our best to understand, and hold our ground when we believe we are serving our partners' best interests, but we must always be willing to admit we do not know everything and constantly remind ourselves that, at the end of the day, Apogee exists to serve others.
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