leadership dot #2006: generalist

Have you ever heard of a hospitalist? I had not until a friend was in the hospital, then I learned that a hospitalist is a doctor who cares for you (just) in the hospital. Instead of having primary care doctors or specialists make rounds, a hospitalist cares for admitted patients instead. The hospitalists are on duty 24/7/365 so a physician is always available to handle emergencies and on-going care.

“Hospitalists know every specialist and department,” reads the brochure. It seems that hospitalists are the healthcare equivalent of a utility infielder in baseball or a stringer in journalism. They are the good voice in the chorus or the administrative assistant who handles a variety of tasks.

In short, their specialty is being a generalist.

There are so many areas today where people specialize: coaches for each aspect of the game, accountants for certain types of businesses, lawyers who practice in one segment of the law and tradesmen who complete one segment of a construction project. All this specialization leads to depth, yes, but it also leads to a more narrow view of the whole.

Think of how you can incorporate the hospitalist concept into your organization. Is there an area which could benefit from a generalist? Or maybe someone to handle a variety of tasks? Or perhaps you just need someone well-trained to handle the extra workload or to increase your capacity at certain times of the year?

Generalists may not be specialists, but they certainly are special.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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