“There are no future leaders. You must wake up and choose to be a leader every morning.”
— Dr. Thom Mayer
Throughout his decades-long career as a leading emergency physician, founder and CEO of an emergency service outsourcing company, and Chief Medical Officer of the NFL Player’s League, Dr. Thom Mayer has made it his mission to create innovative healthcare systems and practices that leave both patients and caregivers in a better place than when he found them.
His newest book, Leadership is Worthless…but Leading is Priceless, is based on his popular keynote address of the same name, and takes direct aim at the notion that leadership is a passive pursuit accomplished in a seminar. He believes the idea that leadership is an attribute strictly reserved for those with impressive-sounding organizational titles is false, and everyone can choose to be a leader.
According to Mayer, leadership is, first and foremost, a verb; something that, whether they realize it or not, is practiced daily by every team member, at every level, of every organization.
By stressing the fact that every individual is a leader, regardless of company hierarchy, Mayer challenges audiences to ask themselves, "How will I lead myself and my team today?”
By offering a series of crisis-tested and widely applicable principles, Mayer shares his invaluable perspective and down-to-earth vision of how to build resilient and innovative systems, where every team member can connect to a sense of joy, take pride in their capacity for a leadership role, and is empowered to take bold action.
Structured around a series of equally memorable and unexpected insights, the book largely draws on Mayer’s extensive experience navigating intensive crisis moments. Whether it be directing the Pentagon’s emergency response team during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caring for over 10,000 NFL player-patients during COVID-19 and creating life-saving sideline measures, or most recently training Ukrainian medical teams in the midst of a war zone, Mayer has a deeply personal understanding of the enormous responsibility and potential of every single individual to take on leadership challenges when it counts most.
Mayer believes the most important piece of truly great leadership is trust. In his book and keynote speaking he says that true innovation happens not at the speed not of light, genius, or brilliance, but trust. The real breakthroughs and paradigm-shifting moments, according to Mayer, can only occur if there is a culture of organizational trust amongst all team members and a corresponding understanding that innovation demands bold choices and frequent failure. Reflecting on his role with the NFL, Mayer advises his readers to use their “Failure as Fuel,” by emulating NFL athletes who spend the majority of their time on the practice field and the film room, learning from past failures to ultimately achieve their improved game day performance.
Despite his hugely impressive resume and experience operating at the highest levels of several healthcare organizations, Mayer refuses to indulge in self-serving grandiosity or pretension, calling instead for a sense of humility and “servant leadership.” This idea pushes readers to focus their time, energy, and sense of mission toward achieving what is best for others. He simultaneously encourages individuals to take ownership of the greater goal while also recognizing their role as a single piece of a much larger system. Mayer lays out the case for breaking down functional silos and seeing the larger connections between how every role in an organization ultimately functions to provide patients and customers with the highest quality of service possible.
Though Dr. Thom Mayer’s personal experience is largely derived from a healthcare background, the invaluable lessons he’s learned as an emergency leader are nearly universal and applicable in both professional and personal settings. For those interested in refreshing their own approach to leadership and inspiring fellow team members, look for Leadership is Worthless…but Leading is Priceless, online and in-store April of 2024, available for pre-order now.
Bring Dr. Thom Mayer to your next event for first-hand accounts and insights into leading today for a better future.
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