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Leadership and the new health code

Regional Command South medical advisors partnered with U.S. Army Special Forces troops to conduct a three day medical seminar for the Afghan community of Shinkey, a small village of about 50,000 people, March 15, 2010 (Credit: U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Kenny Holston via Flickr) Get ready for your next doctor's visit to take longer than last time. New regulations are set to take effect October 1 that will drastically change the entire healthcare industry. The shift is how doctors code ailments and receive reimbursement from insurance companies. For decades the U.S. has used the ICD-9 standard of coding, which has approximately 14,000 diagnostic codes, but come October 1 that number will expand to over 70,000 codes as the U.S. implements ICD-10.

In the old system there were about 16 ways to code a broken femur, for instance, while in the new system that number will skyrocket to 750. The American Medical Association has long opposed the move to ICD-10, arguing that it will cause a nightmare of backlogged payments that will wreak havoc as doctors and their assistants attempt to learn the vast new codes. While proponents for the move cite that ICD-10 is already the worldwide standard of codes, in reality each country has specific alterations it makes, lessening the power of the "we need to update because the rest of the world already has" argument.

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A lesson from Churchill

Winston Churchill giving the 'V' sign on Downing Street after arriving back in London from Washington where he had discussions with President Roosevelt (Credit: Imperial War Museum) The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating article on the revival of Confucianism happening in China. The comeback, fueled by government backing, seeks to restore the ancient philosophy to the prominence it once enjoyed. Traditional Confucianism emphasizes social rituals, personal morality, and honor for elders and those in leadership.

At the center of this philosophical restoration is China's President, Xi Jinping. In order to understand why the revival is happening, it is imperative to understand the leader who is largely responsible for making it happen. Among other characteristics, Mr. Xi is known for his sweeping national "China Dream", a bid to re-establish China as a great world power. He is also known to abhor the Western predilection of personal freedom, instead favoring a philosophy of collectivism and social cohesion through national strength.

A more robust sketch of Mr. Xi is not within the scope of this article, but I bring him up because I believe it is essential for leaders to attempt to understand and study other leaders around them. It is paramount on two levels: the global and the local. By global I mean that we must consider those leaders, both current and historical, who exerted influence on a large scale. By local, I mean those leaders who are closer in proximity and who we might call contemporaries.

Winston Churchill is an excellent model for such consideration.

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Leading in a data-driven world

Trouble in data center (Credit: Arjuna Kodisinghe via Fotolia) China has been in the news recently for its economic turmoil. The stock market fluctuations of the past few weeks can largely be attributed to concerns about the state of the world's second largest economy. The Wall Street Journal released the results of a survey this week on economists' perception of the state of the Chinese economy. The most stunning finding was the degree to which economists distrusted the numbers that the Chinese government was releasing about itself. More than 96% of the 64 economists surveyed by the WSJ said China's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) estimates "don't accurately reflect" the state of the Chinese economy. Basically, most economists think the Chinese government is fudging the numbers.

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A leader's awareness

Presidential contender Donald Trump, speaks to the media after arriving by helicopter during the 1st first day of the Women's British Open golf championship on the Turnberry golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, July 30, 2015 (Credit: AP Photo/Scott Heppell)Breakdowns in communication seem to be dominating the headlines. Whether it is Donald Trump's combative verbal altercations with journalists and other politicians, or Hillary Clinton's private email server, issues related to communication reveal how important this basic component of daily life is on a national and international level. Even more recently, the two Texas high school football players who violently tackled an official over the weekend are now claiming that they were baited into the action by a racial slur from the official.

It can seem overwhelming to try to address such a large issue when it comes to leadership, and more often than not leadership advice related to communication stays vague. Well-meaning platitudes get tossed about, but the unresolved issue still lies beneath the surface. We would do well to look at leadership communication in a more specific context if we want to glean wisdom on how we can grow as leaders.

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A leader's flexibility

Indian man doing yoga (Credit: byheaven via Fotolia)Leadership principles are often declared as self-evident truths that always work. These truths are enumerated, often with an illustration of their effectiveness in the life and practice of the author. While many of these leadership principles are, prima facie, true, there are a host of leadership principles that need to be parsed in more detail to elucidate when they might be useful and when they might be ill-advised, or, even, harmful.

Such a leadership principle is that leaders need to be flexible. Often espoused as an incontrovertible maxim in the ever-changing cultural and sociological landscape of contemporary life, flexibility is, when closely examined, something worth more than cursory attention.

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