Four Leadership Lessons I Learned from a Colonoscopy

doctor holding clipboardYou may find it hard to make the connection between any medical procedure and leadership, let alone a colonoscopy! I know I would have never put the two together until my recent experience.

I heard most of my life how awful a colonoscopy could be.  The prep is difficult, the drink you have to take is horrendous, and…it’s a colonoscopy! Guess what? I found it wasn’t so bad after all.  Was it the most fun experience I’ve ever had? No. Was the drink I had to drink delicious? Of course not…but it wasn’t that bad either.

The day before you can only have fluids to ‘clear your system’.  I actually enjoyed drinking the fluids and enjoyed the broth I ate.  I felt energized rather than depleted by the process.

When I arrived for the procedure – the process was seamless. I was seen within 15 minutes of arrival and greeted by the staff who were organized, pleasant and competent. The drugs were as wonderful as I had heard and I awakened in a totally alert state with no grogginess at all.

My husband played taxi cab driver for me and stayed with me all day to ‘be sure I was ok’, A friend called in the afternoon to check on me to see how it went.

As I went through this experience I found some parallel’s to effective leadership today.  Call me weird, but here are the four leadership lessons I learned from a colonoscopy:

Leadership is Not as Bad as We Think

We often hear that it’s difficult and demanding to be a leader today. Many people will shy away from a leadership position because of what they have heard. However, Leadership, like medical procedures, can be pleasant, healing and even fun – what a novel idea – Go figure!

We Need to Clear out the Clutter

Just as our bodies need to be cleansed occasionally, so do our lives! It’s important to clear your desk and your emails as well as address under-performing staff.  Until you get rid of the old you can’t make room for the new. Rid your desk and workplace of clutter as well as your personal life.  You’ll be amazed at the energy you’ll discover.

Make Sure You Have the Right People Doing the Job

Having the right people trained and prepared to fulfill their role on your staff is essential.  Providing them with the resources to be effective is just as critical.  As you provide that to your people – they will then offer them to your customers and each other.

A Strong Support System is a Must

Every strong leader must have an equally strong support system in place. It felt so good for my husband to be there with me.  Leaders with strong support systems are more resilient and creative than those without one.

The procedure was over before I knew it, there was no bad news, AND I walked away with four valuable lessons about leadership!

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