Given the drunken brawl that is the American conversation on health care reform, it's high time we "...place principles before personalities!" as is said in 12-step circles. Today, I'm sticking closer than usual to the context of my blog--applying principles of recovery to leadership.
Why? Particularly after this week of insanity, I hope you’ll agree that something new is needed in this "debate." Also, politicians and media personalities alike bear many similarities to addicts. For these reasons, over several posts, I'm applying a number of the tried-and-true 12 steps, and a selection of the powerful yet lesser-known 12 traditions of recovery to the health care reform effort.
The steps were designed as a roadmap for individuals wishing sobriety, while the traditions apply to groups of people in recovery. Let’s take a look at the first step and tradition:
Step 1: "We admitted we were powerless over the current state of health care--that our current medical delivery and health insurance systems had become unmanageable."
What Step 1 can do for us: remind us that extraordinary problems require extraordinary efforts to be solved. And until the vast majority is convinced that the current situation is unmanageable, the will to change it will be absent. So far, despite very good arguments (cost, quality, access) the administration’s attempts at piercing the veil of denial have been ineffective.
What's needed: people need more convincing (or must come to their own conviction) that we've hit bottom with the current system. While millions go un- and under-insured, those that have insurance seem in denial, or apathy, when it comes to their neighbors.
Tradition 1: "Our common welfare should come first; access to quality, affordable health care for everyone depends upon the unity of the American people and our leadership."
What tradition 1 can do for us: remind us that what we're really talking about will require sacrifice, and is not what you can do for me, but what we can do for the greater good of all of us. That's the "common" in our common welfare.
What's needed: greater engagement among all of us in the conversation, and more accurate representation by our politicians. It’s time we and they put our common welfare above rhetoric, bile, and political / economic gain.
Are we ready to apply this step and tradition to the current debate? I don't know, but I hope so. As I’ve said before, I hope we can look back at this time as one of courageous leadership--when our leaders and each of us committed to health care for everyone in this country.
What do YOU think? Is this a good application of recovery? I invite you to chime in, as I’m always learning!
The Recovering Leader