The Editors of Hospital Quarterly asked Sheila Weatherill (and several other individuals in a leadership role) if any one book made a memorable and significant difference in their lives. This is her response.
"One of the books I keep with me in the office is Art of War. You have to look past the title, because the most intriguing thing about it is that the goal is to avoid conflict, by choosing your ground so that a fight never happens. A military campaign is a very different context but to me, the lesson is the same: if you have to fight, you haven't done your job. (Although I have to admit, I love old war movies!) That's something I try to instill in my executive team: leadership isn't about forcing an agenda of your own, it's about knowing the people you work with, so you can find the ground where you can agree and move forward. To build that consensus, you have to see things whole - from different points of view and over time, so that when you take the first step, you see how the situation will unfold (but you also prepare to adapt along the way). But the deepest lesson for me in Sun-Tzu is the simplest: leadership begins with the Way, the principles of the society you're defending in the first place. I do this job because I believe in the system and the people who work in it; that's the glue that holds winning teams together today, the same as it did 2,000 years ago."
Sheila Weatherill is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Capital Health, one of Canada's largest integrated, academic health systems. Capital Health was rated the number one health region in Canada in 2003 by Maclean's magazine and has held the same rating for the previous four years in the category of communities with medical schools.
Sheila is the Past President of the Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (ACAHO) and active in many other community and professional organizations.
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