Tag Archives: Conflict of Interest

Six leadership lessons highly worth learning from psychology of a physician

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Be your own physician?

We all know that medical practice in any field is a noble profession; but what is little known are unique lessons that we should learn from the mindset of a medical practitioner. We are talking about just a good physician, leave alone successful ones.

Let us look at what does psychology of a physician teach us:

  1. Managing conflict of interest
    Getting into medical profession entails lot of efforts, time and money worldwide. It is natural that motto of getting into this field for most is earning name, fame and wealth.
    It is also clear that every visit to or by a physician fetches a fee for him/her.
    Now, a physician is faced with conflict of interest – treat his/her patients or customers for self-interest or serve them selflessly. Good doctors would always manage this conflict by rising above self and greed, and serve customers keeping in mind their interests. They prescribe minimum medicines and pathological tests and discourage patients to make frequent visits. Many have grace to charge less fees from those, who can’t afford.
    Let us draw a parallel to above the stock options scheme in corporates for employees and top management. Such options have a singular motive of driving employees to perform well, so that company profitability improves, which in turn would reward employees with more options. But, when it comes to top management, conflict of interest creeps in – should company performance improve to increase value of his/her substantial stocks or should it improve to increase values for customers and employees, even if it means slight dent in company’s profitability? Many CEOs allegedly and subtly act in favor of the former – serving self-interest.
  2. Maximum availability
    A physician is available 24×7 to his/her patients, at least in India. Their work-life balance is heavily tilted towards work.
    I am not suggesting that it is good for them, although it is good for their customers. What is more significant lesson is that they don’t make any excuse for non-availability. Their dedication for duties is total.
  3. Memory management
    Did you notice that a good doctor’s memory is very good. He/she would remember history of his/her patients correctly, correct medicines’ name, spelling (usually complex), potency and names of manufacturers for innumerable number of ailments and case histories of other patients.
    What is the key – inbuilt sharper brain or they pop up some pills to sharpen their memory? Not any of these. It is registering the information without any conflict in mind and recalling it without any stress.
  4. Motto of service to customers
    A physician’s actions are completely oriented towards his/her customers and obtaining the results for which they have approached him/her. They never compromise their attitude to serve.
  5. Maximum confidence and concentration
    Successful practitioners give their advice or prescription with total confidence and rarely side or back track. Their focus on duties is deep.
    They are never shaken by patient’s condition, however adverse and do maintain their composure effortlessly. They are attached to their duties but detached from their customers while serving them unflinchingly.
  6. Marvelous understanding of their own body
    In leadership programs or schools, reference to this quality is by and large missing. It is extremely important to understand how you or your body would react to different situations, what triggers your emotions and how to manage the same.
    Doctors do very well on above count and hence, rarely fall sick or fall prey to sickening situations.
    A good leader needs to understand his/her body (including mind) well in order to be robust, consistent and persistent in his/her pursuits.

So, a good physician is a great case study at business schools and organizations!

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Where would Big Data eventually lead us to!

Biggest buzz around the world today – Big Data! Last 15 years have seen dramatic change in the way we live and work. Today, we are leaving digital traces or signals behind for most of the things that we do and these are being captured by internet service providers, web hosting companies, search engine organizations, cell phone service providers and so on. When it comes to wellness and ways of living, lot of data gets generated, if you are using smart sensors and household gadgets. Your behavior as consumer, corporate employee and citizen can be and actually getting measured one way or another.

Enormity of data being collected can be understood by a simple estimate – data captured from the inception of human race until about year 2000 is being collected today in just 2 days and this speed is getting accelerated each day!

Scientifically as per quantum mechanics, our life comprises of digits 1-0. Interestingly, most of our actions are being digitally stored external to us and are accessible to people, we have no clue of!

Bigger data would bring bigger means and methods

Data are not merely being collected; but also analyzed through a variety of models called “analytics” and then presented to managers or individual users. These analytics present the information in descriptive, predictive or prescriptive form.

Big Data has brought and would further bring benefits in following areas:

  1. Statistical ability to understand past performance and anticipate results through trends and tendencies.
  2. Identifying problems or improvements.
  3. Consistency in decision making; actual decision may still be different and diverse.
  4. Better and consistent product quality and service to customers
  5. Driving cost lower and higher productivity.
    This would make bigger players even bigger and edge out smaller ones.
  6. Competitive strategies.
  7. Easier adaption to market dynamics.
  8. Following sectors would witness exponential growth:
    1. Internet, Web Hosting and Browsing and Search Engines
    2. Statistics, mathematical modeling, data mining and analysis
    3. Telecom hardware and hand held devices manufacturing
    4. Telecom services
    5. Cyber security
    6. Investigation industry
    7. Virtual war weapons and carriers for same
    8. Armaments for defense and destruction
    9. Wellness and medical fields
      Emphasis is expected to shift for customized treatments
    10. Social media

Bigger data would mean bigger conflict of interests and/or confusion

One thing that never goes down with humans is greed to get more information! When you have information, you can’t resist using it. If you can use it; you would also misuse it!!

When means take over morals, conflict of interests would start to reign. Many corporate managers are already complaining of big confusions with flood of data/information.

There are very clear signs that Big Data would bring:

  1. Private or public life to hinge on mechanics, not on morals.
  2. Quantity of data would make quality of data and decisions poorer.
    Nature does not permit quantity and quality to go concurrent indefinitely.
  3. Crucial Corporate or Government decisions would be clamped by mental abilities of data analysts.
  4. Nearly everyone stands to lose privacy and sleep.
  5. In name of upholding values and governance, Corporates and Countries would indulge in dirtier tactics.
  6. Rise in stress, blood pressure, heart and kidney related ailments and mental disorders.
    If you measure your blood pressure, it rises about 10 points compared to when you don’t measure. If you go to doctor for such information, you would find it at least 15 points more. If you start maintaining history of your blood pressure, your focus would be more on reading than its control!
  7. Rise of rivals and their retributions at company, community, private or public levels.

How to arrest fall from rise of Big Data

Drive for Big Data is driven by business interests. Social and ethical responsibilities have taken a back seat, if action of investigation agencies and individuals in some countries is any indication.

Hundreds of thousands of people are involved in data mining and analysis; so it is also difficult to regulate their attitude and approach. More the buzz for Big Data, more are chances of it getting busted.

There are 2 rules of nature in this context:

  1. Nothing – real or virtual – is one sided.
    By working on one aspect, we create the opposite. It is for this reason that one who can develop, can also dismantle or destroy. However advanced technology may go, it would never be immune to issues. This demands a balanced but not blind approach to data.
  2. When we observe or measure anything, we are bound to disturb that.
    It is a different thing that we fail to notice. An example is measuring your blood pressure as mentioned before or you wanting to say something; but becoming conscious only to fumble.
    Therefore, we need to define extent of measurement and monitoring.

If we want to save ourselves from perils of Big Data, we need to draw a line between means and morals, quantity and quality, reports and rationale. If we fail to do, what looks lucrative today would soon turn ludicrous!

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