Advice from a Senior Hospital Executive

In this week's podcast episode, John describes three communication mistakes that will easily derail your career in many large organizations, if you do not stop making them.

Communication has ALWAYS been a big deal. And with social media, email, and texting, we have so many more ways to screw it up than ever. The higher you progress in an organization, the more important communication becomes. 

It is key to ensuring accountability, completing goals, and executing effectively. Good teamwork relies on effective communication! And your relationship with your boss depends on it.

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Why Is Communication Important?

There are so many aspects of communication that need to be mastered. There is spoken and written communication. And various forms of each.

When I was working as a medical director and CMO, the demands were high. We had many projects in play. And we needed to complete those projects on time and under budget. Accountability was important. And effective communication was a big key to success.

As you move up an organization, communication becomes even more important. Therefore, today I would like to discuss three big communication mistakes. These are mistakes that will impair your performance and derail your career if you don't address them.

Big Communication Mistakes

So, what do I see as three of the biggest communication mistakes? Here they are…

1. Choosing the WRONG MEDIUM

It is easy to default to more convenient methods of communication, using texts or email. But such methods lack the observation of body language and the opportunity to hear vocal intonations.

And it is common for a complicated text or email “conversation” to run into dozens of entries when a three-minute phone call would have resolved the issue.

2. Lacking CLARITY

Too many messages, whether direct or via written word, are incomplete, or ambiguous. When we fail to spend sufficient time crafting our message, or reviewing what we've written, we can easily introduce confusion.

If you are building a culture of accountability, it is totally dependent on communicating with clarity. If a colleague or direct report is not clear on what is expected, it will be impossible to meet expectations.

3. Failure to Use REPETITION When Needed

Repetition is required for important messages. Creating a new corporate culture or adopting new goals requires repetition. It has been shown that repeating a message accomplishes the following:

  • improves learning and understanding,
  • breaks down resistance to the message, and,
  • ensures that no one misses the message when it involves a large group.

Important messages should be repeated in different venues, in different ways to be effective.

Communication Mistakes BONUS: Being REACTIVE

Especially when communicating with your boss, it is best to anticipate what she expects. Then meet those expectations proactively. Develop communication styles and tactics that streamline and enhance the transfer of information. 

You will know you're being successful when your boss no longer needs to quiz you for updates during your one-on-ones.


Communication is a vast topic. But I have covered three major mistakes I’ve seen that you can easily train yourself NOT to make. And there is a BONUS tactic that will help you meet your boss’ needs and set you up for advancement.

For more thoughts on communication in healthcare, you can listen to my interview with Dr. Andrew Tisser on the Talk2MeDoc Podcast Episode #2.

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The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life, or business.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counselor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career.