Simone On Leadership

By

Leonard Zwelling

         One of my favorite people in all of academic oncology is
Joseph V. Simone MD, former leader at St. Jude, MSKI and The University of
Utah. Joe has retired to consulting now, but he is never short of wisdom. His Maxim’s
have informed us all for years about the truths of academic medicine. My
personal favorite is that “institutions don’t love you back.” Perhaps at no
other time in my career do I detect the need for wisdom from the elders as I do
now and, as usual, Joe does not let anyone down.

         In the latest issue of Oncology
Times
for which he writes a regular column, Dr. Simone penned one called “The Making of Great Leaders” which is significant for what it says about great
leadership and what I infer about the plethora of lousy leadership in America
today. After all, you need go no further than the two hopelessly flawed
candidates for President of the United States.

         Here are some of the Simone points of wisdom:

1. Leadership matters and it matters a lot.

2. Leaders are often chosen irrationally despite #1.

3. Longevity in an organization of any kind is not a
qualification for good leadership.

4. Technical excellence, as in biochemistry, is not a
qualification for good leadership either.

5. Leaders are really born, although their skills can be
improved with time.

6. Integrity and ethical clarity matter, too.

7. Would you want your kids to work for the leader?
(Trump? Clinton? NOT!)

8. Delegating is key, but holding the most important
elements for yourself is more key.

9. Good leaders have workers who take pride in their
work. The leaders also understand the nature of the work—first hand. (Hospitals
cannot be led by basic scientists.)

10.            
Courage,
character and grace under pressure are indicators of great leaders

11.            
 People working for great leaders know what is
expected of them.

12.            
Great
leaders take satisfaction in the success of the team.

13.            
Great
leaders have principles and they will live by them. They are also willing to
die for them, dying means, in this case, being fired or quitting.

Joe,
I hope I did your piece justice. It is one in a long line of wise essays you
have constructed over the years.

Dr.
Simone recently told me in an email that he has reached his 80th
birthday. I can have only two last wishes. I hope I can live that long and more
importantly, I hope I can be even half as wise.

“Old
guys rule!”

Leonard Zwelling