ACR RLI Leadership Summit 2016 HighlightsRLI Summit

Do you think those in business have little to teach physicians about how to work effectively in a hospital? Think again.

We are all aware of rapid change in health care delivery and payment structures, and leadership skills can help physicians navigate that change. What can you do to better prepare yourself for impending changes? Try participating in the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI) and attending their annual Leadership Summit. The frameworks you learn during the Summit bear remarkable relevance to radiologists in this changing healthcare environment.

Leaders from across the radiology sphere gathered less than one month ago for the 2016 annual RLI Summit at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. With ever more challenges on our horizon and threats to the current practice paradigm in radiology, this critical meeting brought together thought leaders over four days to address issues such as: understanding and achieving operational excellence, learning to govern effectively and cultivate environments where people can grow and thrive, understanding the critical role of emotional intelligence in leading a group of individuals, effectively building and harnessing one’s own personal brand to achieve goals, and more. In both didactic and workshop-style sessions, participants engaged each other in challenging scenarios and case examples often rehearsed in business school curricula and learned to tackle the innumerable challenges a visionary leader must overcome while building a radiology department or practice.

Our ingrained mental models, the lenses through which we see the world, sometimes prevent us from making the changes we intellectually know are right for our practice situation or environment. When action is required — as the first session leader at the RLI Leadership Summit, Anton Armbruster, PhD, taught us — the law of least effort often takes hold, and nothing at all changes as inertia prevails. Sometimes it’s easier to do nothing despite the crisis at hand.

However, as we were challenged during the conclusion of Dr. Armbruster’s session with a summary point from Robert Kegan, it is key to remember that “[e]ven small changes in our big assumptions can have big implications for permanently altering our once-captivating equilibrium.” Taking deliberate steps towards a larger goal, such as putting up signs in patient waiting areas describing each radiologist’s specific role and specialization to help patients understand their role in the care team, helps that goal to incrementally materialize.

Radiology, as many have said, has an image problem — among our colleagues in other medical specialties, we are sometimes perceived as overpaid, underworked, and frankly spoiled. Some radiologists in past times did our medical specialty a bit of a disservice by perpetuating this stereotype, but branding has the power to bring about positive changes to that perception. J. Mark Carr brought to the RLI Summit an invigorating discussion on personal branding — which peaked with two separate three-person panels discussing personal branding stories and lessons.

During this session, participants discussed intentional and unintentional components of one’s brand that are established daily by the things you do and don’t do, and the things you say and don’t say. People know who puts out quality work. For example, your colleagues will know exactly which person will meet a stated deadline, and which person will not. These pieces that work together to create a personal brand are important for one’s career; they determine how others see you.

There has never been a time when the field of radiology has faced more potentially transformational challenges or when thought leaders in radiology were more in demand. The face of radiology is changing in the present, and it is up to those who engage to determine how and to what extent. The ACR RLI Leadership Summit provides one of the most interactive, dynamic classroom and workshop-style forums for radiology’s best and brightest to engage and contemplate solutions for the problems of today and tomorrow.

In an age of collaborative healthcare teams, coordination of care, and integrative and precision medicine, radiology must work together with healthcare providers in all other specialties to streamline service line care and maximize patient outcomes. In such times of uncertainty, it is only through unity of vision and purpose that groups can succeed, and often through such stimulating forums such as the RLI Leadership Summit that new ideas for radiology’s future take shape. For radiology residents and fellows interested in attending, you can apply for the RLI Leadership Summit Scholarship or contact your state radiological society to see if there is available funding.

Vivek Kalia, MD MPH MSK Radiology Fellow at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and Kazim Narsinh, MD Senior Radiology Resident at UCSD

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