Know What The People Want


Know What The People Want


Leonard Zwelling

In her column on August 6 in The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan notes what Steve Kornacki of NBC said about the vote on the abortion amendment in Kansas.

The Kansas turnout was very high—276,000 Democrats, 464,000 Republicans, and 169,000 independents. The vote against the abortion amendment was 543,000 meaning many Republicans and independents voted against the amendment. That meant that the Kansas GOP had no idea what its own constituents thought before placing the matter on the ballot. The moral of the story is that you better know what your own people think before making a proposal that they might not like. But to do that, you have to be in touch with the people. At least pretend you care.

At MD Anderson, the president is a faculty member. If the president is to be a part of any group other than the one surrounding his executive council table, it is that of the faculty. Despite this, the current MD Anderson president keeps making decisions that do not resonate with the desires of the faculty.

He will not relent and allow a return of the faculty dining room where so many “free consults” are given and so many new research ideas are born. The faculty dining room was also an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the clinic or lab bench, a place to combat burnout. It was also a nurturing place to bring potential new faculty being recruited. The current president’s stubborn refusal to set aside a meeting, greeting, and eating place for the faculty that cannot be encroached upon by staff or patients is true foolishness. He displays a lack of connection to the very group of which he is a part and of which he is putatively the leader.

The current president has moved the Physicians Referral Service under Human Resources. This is a blatant insult to the faculty who generate the wealth of the PRS through their clinical activities. The PRS should not be lumped in with the support for the staff.

Finally, the current president is driving toward a notion of “One MD Anderson” which belittles the unique role of the faculty in the operation of the institution. To be charitable, this too is foolishness.

We don’t need that on the top of Pickens Tower, but we have it. We also have it in the executives with which the current president surrounds himself. They and he are not ego-syntonic with their jobs and thus are out of touch with the faculty and the reality of a modern cancer center.

If you want to lead a group of high IQ, high performance people—or any group of people for that matter—you better know what they think and what they want.

The GOP did not do that in Kansas. Surprise! Dr. Pisters is not currently doing it in Houston. Pity, but it’s not too late.

2 thoughts on “Know What The People Want”

  1. I hope that Dr Pister reads your blog!
    Second, the Republicans may have underestimated the anger and activism of women miffed by the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v Wade. In fact, they may have underestimated moderate Republicans like me who are really miffed by the Trumpism that has high jacked the GOP. If the Republicans lose the next two national elections, Trumpism will remain but be dissipated like a leaking balloon, and moderate Republicans will rise again. In general, centrism eventually outlasts extremism.

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