We too often forget that the truth in all matters, is that in the end all that matters is that Good is the greatest force of all.
- W. Somerset Maugham
All healthcare leaders rely on communication as the essential tool in setting plans, getting results, and continuously developing their staff. In our work with healthcare leaders, we have learned many lessons which are not only effective in the unique healthcare business arena, but have been translated across to professions such as school administration and corporate organizations. In this chapter, we will explore a practical strategy for maximizing strategic leadership communication copyrighted as the PACT System. This system has not only been validated through field use over the past 20 years in an array of organizations, but more importantly, it is an intuitive system which can be readily understood and practically applied immediately to your organization and specific leadership responsibilities.
The PACT acronym stands for the four essential values that are expected in all leadership communication, and indeed, as centric elements of organizational strategy—pride, accountability, commitment, and trust. Each value is augmented by a set of couplets that portray the pros and cons of specific action relative to the value, in essence, what happens when a leader adheres to the constructive, positive aspect of a particular factor, and the liabilities and fallacy of inadvertently employing the negative, regressive side of the particular tenet. The chapter is premised on a handbook of over 500 PACT Factors currently employed by the physician leadership cadre of New Jersey's largest medical and healthcare systems, as well as many sectors of the Veterans Administration Health System. We have selected for you the most prominent and universal strategies in the hope that a number of them will have immediate value in your specific situation, as is the intent of this entire book. As you will soon see, they are logical in construct, easy to grasp, and very practical in their application regardless of your particular leadership role, as they are all based on the real world of strategic leadership communication that we work in every day.
In order to put this chapter in context, we begin with the performance matrix (see Figure 2–1), which depicts the basic three performance categories of any work team. Superstars, or action agents, drive the action and are the exemplars of a work unit. They thrive on change, lead the action, define excellence within the organization, act as positive charismatic physician leaders, and fully support the team's goals and organization's mission through their performance. They need little encouragement, but should not be taken for granted. Accordingly, the physician leader should apply the first component of each PACT Factor to the superstar and provide sound direction, full support, maximum available resources, and sound communication to the superstar.