As president and CEO of the Texas Medical Center, I interact every day with other leaders from the institutions that comprise the largest medical city in the world. Because I work with such a diverse group of constituents—more than 60 member institutions, representing more than 100,000 employees—I often reflect on an experience I had nearly a decade ago that influences my approach today.
The Harvard University Program on Negotiation taught me important lessons that help me to understand the unique needs of each of our members. Before the three-day program, participants prepare for roles they’ll play in simulated negotiations. The exercise forces everyone to take a position and argue for it, regardless of their personal convictions.
For example, one person might represent an offshore drilling company while another makes the case for environmental protection. As you might imagine, the facilitators encouraged us to defend our positions vigorously. But we soon saw how that passion led us to move swiftly away from any chance at reaching a mutually beneficial outcome. We became entrenched, and our own opinions became obstacles to progress. I learned a great deal about myself and how to better engage in productive negotiations.
The lessons I learned long ago continue to help me better understand the Texas Medical Center institutions I work with in this unique ecosystem. Some CEOs and leadership teams are naturally collegial, while others may view collaboration as dilutive or contributing to a loss of full control. Fortunately, the Harvard program identified these different styles of negotiation, and I often find myself recognizing them in the course of a discussion.
So what’s the key to negotiating? The answer seems simple, but it requires a great deal of commitment and much more time than a three-day program. My life experiences have taught me that it is most important to patiently build meaningful, trusting relationships over time. In both our personal and professional lives, it is the richness of these relationships that determines our happiness and success. I recognize that this seems obvious, but so often I observe people either intentionally or unintentionally creating barriers that obstruct the path to forming sound and productive relationships.
I continue to learn every day. Some of the most challenging situations I face are often the most exciting and satisfying to work through. The journey continues as I learn more about myself and the incredibly diverse talent at all levels of the Texas Medical Center.
William F. McKeon
President and Chief Executive Officer
Texas Medical Center
A "silent heart attack" is caused by ischemia, a temporary blood shortage. Sometimes the shortage causes the pain of angina pectoris. But in other cases, there is no pain. These cases are called silent ischemia, or "silent heart attacks." https://t.co/UKu4mglkKJ
After seeing photos of herself from a family celebration, Adriana Mercado was shocked at how unhealthy she looked. Now, thanks to a walking routine, she’s lost 70 pounds and improved her overall health: https://t.co/dx7z4STihG @FocusedonHealth #endcancer https://t.co/NVmGyo6r8W
University of Houston@UHouston
Coogs, we love you ❄️SNOW❄️ much! Happy #CougarRedFriday https://t.co/d43lBGfJBX
@debadrita_j Thank you!
@EstopinalCathy We're sorry to hear about your brother, Cathy. You're in our thoughts.
@niceguy__AZ We’re sorry to hear your experience hasn’t been exceptional. Please send us more information, including your full name and date of birth, as well as whether your appointment is at Banner MD Anderson or MD Anderson in Houston, to email@example.com so we can look into this.
VA, Prostate Cancer Foundation seek solutions for aggressive prostate cancer https://t.co/uGXX5vPImo via #VAntagePoint
Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn Smith on being named the dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. https://t.co/dtRU3UC1Am #education
@debadrita_j This is beautiful! Can we share this on Instagram and credit you?
RT @BCMHouston_News: Traveling with an #elderly family member this #Thanksgiving week? Make sure to pack extra medication in case #travel p…
RT @BCMHouston_News: .@bcmhouston @BCMHeart's Dr. Christie Ballantyne and team report promising results for #triglyceride lowering treatmen…
RT @UTH_CVSurgery: Congratulations to Dr. Anthony Estrera @estrera_md, honored and appointed the Hazim J. Safi, MD, Distinguished Chair in…
VA News brings you the latest updates from the department. In this week’s episode, learn about the Veterans Legacy Memorial and a new telehealth program for Veterans in rural areas. https://t.co/vTTreXluWT
Hall of Heroes: Veteran helicopter pilot survived being shot down https://t.co/WAMIvONNqq via @waff48
How Much Water Do You Really Need? Most of us feel like we never get enough. Is that actually true? https://t.co/R6q6VbYuH5 https://t.co/ngKKM3AcWb