It’s not too often that the act of landing on the moon is discussed at an„EMS conference. But that’s exactly how Jay Fitch, PhD, started his speech for Pinnacle 2008.
“Neil Armstrong landing on the moon created a ‘we can do anything’ attitude,” Fitch said to a room crowded with EMS leaders at 8 a.m. on July 30. “That ‘we can do anything’ attitude really ruled. And it ruled in EMS.” However, Fitch said, the balance of power has shifted with the advent of a global economy. That ‘we can do anything attitude’ is no longer a reality.
Instead, the industry’s leaders of today and tomorrow need to focus on goals that are attainable and sustainable.
“We make a demonstrable, positive impact on those we care for,” said Fitch, a founding partner of Fitch & Associates, which sponsors the conference.
Because EMS makes a necessary and measurable impact on its patients, Fitch suggested the leaders in the room at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina make their organizations truly patient-centered. He asked how that goal could be attained. Members of the audience buzzed with ideas, such as surveying patients to determine what they need and then listening to what those patients said.
Fitch took it one step further. He created a scenario with a front-page article in a major national newspaper. The subject of the article was, “What was the vision that guided„EMS?” He then asked how each person in the room would answer the question in the article, how they would want„EMS portrayed.
“Our profession needs to clearly articulate our goals,” Fitch said.
His answer: Create a built-to-last framework. His two-step process included preserving the core ideologies, purpose and values of EMS, and stimulating significant progress.
EMS organizations need to radically evolve to become more progressive and sustainable. He suggested becoming a learning organization in which every member of the group is a valuable member of the team and is encouraged to advance their learning. He suggested sharing best practices with others across the nation. This is the reason Fitch & Associates created Pinnacle, to be a forum for learning and change.
“It’s not enough to have a vision,” he said. The world that we live in is being affected by large, global forces. The profession is moving rapidly and is being shaped by these forces. The only way to have sustained impact is to become a great leader, Fitch said to the attendees. To be a good leader with a lasting vision takes initiative, sacrifice and maturity. Great„EMS leaders who take initiative create a lasting impact.
“You have a unique opportunity to impact Ú the lives of those in your communities,” he said. “My message to you is: You can take one more step. You need to take one more step. That may be your first step on your way to becoming a great EMS leader.”
Jennifer Berry is the editor of JEMS.com.Click here to contact her.