Seeking an MBA – Interview with Atish Jaiswal – 003

Why Consider Pursuing an MBA?

Today I’m bringing you my first interview. It involves a colleague who is seeking an MBA. The topic was mentioned on my blog at Top 10 Reasons to Pursue a Business Degree. This interview should provide additional insights in to the issue.

You may have been expecting an episode addressing mentors, but I decided that I wanted to present this conversation first. The episode about mentors will follow this one.

Today’s episode is a little bit different from those I plan to present in the future. Instead of interviewing an expert on a topic, I’m having a conversation with a family physician who is just beginning his journey to a nonclinical career.

The Proper Way to Pivot – 002

The Process to Follow When Seeking a New Career

In this episode, we explore the proper way to pivot to a nonclinical career. Granted, there may be various ways to make such a change. But there is good evidence that following this process will minimize your risk while optimizing your odds of success.

There are four major phases, some of which can easily overlap. I plan to use this model of the four phases to help organize future episodes of this podcast. These phases definitely follow the steps I took as I transitioned from full-time family physician to hospital chief medical officer. While there is no ONE, this is a model that has been shown to work.


You may notice that they follow the steps outlined in a book written by Jenny Blake called Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next OneIt’s a book I highly recommend, in part because Blake helps assure the reader that taking small, yet effective, steps can get you to that new career or business without risking everything.

Getting Acquainted with Physician NonClinical Careers Podcast – 001

Introduction to Physician NonClinical Careers Podcast

Welcome to the first episode of the Physician NonClinical Careers podcast.

This podcast is an offshoot of this blog. But instead of addressing emerging physician executives exclusively, I’ve designed this podcast to inspire, inform and support doctors looking to pivot to any nonclinical full- or part-time career.

The podcast will include episodes addressing general topics, such as leadership, management, education, negotiation, motivation and self-confidence. I will also talk about specific issues related to pivoting to a career in hospital or medical group administration.

However, I’m certainly not the expert on all nonclinical jobs for physicians, so this podcast will include many interviews with experts in nonclinical medical careers, employers, and physicians who have already completed a pivot to a new career.

In this first short episode, I describe why I started this podcast, a little bit about my background and my goals for the podcast.

Use the Audio Player at the Top of This Post.

I will be posting episodes right here on VITAL Physician Executive. But I encourage you to subscribe on the Apple Podcasting AppStitcher or Google Play.

I also list the ways that you can reach me, including by:

  • email at
  • voice message at my Voice Message Page
  • adding comments at the end of this and future posts
  • commenting in the Apple Podcast App

I’m very interested in hearing from you about a particular expert or nonclinical career.

I really appreciate your support. Thanks for being a loyal VPE reader, and now, Physician NonClinical Careers listener!

Here is a list of resources mentioned in this episode:

Right click here and “Save As” to download this podcast episode to your computer.

The easiest ways to listen: – –

If you’re ready to move on, here is Episode 002: The Proper Way to Pivot.

How to Support Physician NonClinical Careers Podcast Launch

Help Me Create a Powerful Podcast

I’ve witnessed an explosion in interest in physician nonclinical careers over the past few years. Whether because of increasing frustration and burn out, or a desire to “scale” our impact to larger groups of patients, physicians want to expand into new areas.

physician nonclinical careers launch

In order to help support this movement, I am joining a small group of physicians who are creating podcasts to help support our colleagues in this process.

I Need Your Help

I cannot do this alone. Only with your support, can we get the word out and make the launch of Physician NonClinical Careers Podcast a success. The bigger the splash, the better. So, I’ve set up a campaign that needs your support NOW, so that the launch on October 17, 2017 is a success.

How Can You Help?

The best way to help is to click the link below and Support the campaign by sharing it on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr:


Why Is This So Important to Me?

For over a year, I have been writing a blog addressing leadership, management and productivity. On occasion, I write about nonclinical careers for physicians. I do that because an executive leadership position is just one of many nonclinical careers a physician might consider.

In the process, I’ve come to know many physicians who are frustrated, disillusioned and burned out. While physicians often seek a nonclinical career because of a calling to do so, the disillusionment noted above certainly contributes to the decision to pivot.

physician nonclinical careers burnout

I’m passionate about helping physicians find their true calling. Many of us committed to a medical career long before we fully understood the financial costs and the true nature of the work we’d be doing. When the realization hits that it’s not what we expected, it makes sense to consider an alternate career.

Over the past year, I’ve heard from hundreds of physicians searching for resources to help them make this pivot. There are few resources out there, such as books, coaches, and conferences.

I Want to Contribute

Now I’d like to do my part. So, I’m very excited to be launching my new podcast on Tuesday, October 17 called Physician NonClinical Careers (with John Jurica).

In the podcast, I will post interviews with physicians who have already transitioned successfully into a new career (coaching, medical writing, expert witness, UM chart reviewer, medical advisor, etc.).

I’m starting an online campaign to raise awareness of the launch and I’m asking you to help propel this movement to give physicians more career choices. Click below because it will strengthen our profession and empower our colleagues.


I really appreciate your help getting the word out. Time is short, so don’t delay. I need at least 100 Supporters by Tuesday morning (only 2 days from now) to make this work.

And please suggest topics and recommended guests in the Comments!


Together we can make a change for the better for our colleagues.

Next Steps


Top Clues Reveal the Victim Mentality

Leaders Must Avoid Falling Into This Mindset

Did I reveal the victim mentality in myself in a recent blog post? I think I did.

In an article for my blog a few months ago, what I wrote was perceived as critical of certain physician leaders. I linked to examples of their writing that were popular with physician readers. They pertained to issues that physicians find very intrusive, that promote burnout, and often interfere with the practice of medicine. 

In quoting their articles, I made it look like I was critical of their writing, rather than simply pointing out the popularity of such topics with their audiences. I received several critical comments from my readers.

After trying to defend myself, I finally came to the realization that I was wrong and needed to apologize to the authors of those articles. But I made a major blunder, forgetting the proper way to apologize that I previously described, or the way that Michael Hyatt recommends when admitting a mistake.

Here is what I wrote:

“…In closing, let me apologize if I somehow seemed critical of your efforts.”

Do you see the blunder? I should have written this:

“…In closing, let me apologize for being critical of your efforts.”

A reader pointed out my mistake, and further stated that an appropriate apology does not include the word “if” but simply accepts responsibility and asks for forgiveness.

reveal the victim mentality fails at an apology

I was clearly not communicating as a leader, because what a leader does is own up to a mistake, apologize, and make a commitment to fix things going forward. On the contrary, I was approaching it with a victim’s mentality.

Effective Leaders Use Deep Work Wisely

Apply Cal Newport's Advice and Limit Shallow Work

I was becoming really nervous about my lack of preparation for a strategic planning retreat. The CEO, the senior executive team, and several physicians and board members were going to meet in three days to discuss a variety of important issues. One of my assignments was to present a 30 minute review of an important project. This would set the stage for selecting one of several possible approaches to the project. I would need to do some deep work for this presentation.

First, I had to create an outline of my presentation and complete some background research. Then, I would design my slides and organize and rehearse the presentation. Because I had not even formulated the overall message of the presentation, I was getting really anxious about it.

I had little uninterrupted time at the office to prepare because I had double-booked my usual meetings in anticipation of attending the retreat. At home, I was similarly unable to extract myself from the usual interruptions of phone calls, texts and other urgent problems.

Enabling Deep Work

I decided to use one of my time-tested tactics to help me focus and create some dedicated thinking time for this problem. On the following Saturday, my wife was planning to run a short errand. I informed her that when she left, I was going to go on a brisk walk, so not to worry if I wasn’t home when she returned.

walking alone use deep work

I followed the plan and walked for about 45 minutes around our neighborhood. During that time, I was able to focus and mentally review the pros and cons that I wanted to present. I fashioned a short list of steps for the proposed project and a timeline in my mind. When I thought about a couple of background items that I needed to follow-up on, I dictated a reminder into my cell phone voice recording app.

Monthly Leadership Favorites – September 2017 Edition

It’s time for the VITAL Physician Executive’s Monthly Leadership Favorites – September 2017 Edition. In this feature I share inspiring and enlightening advice from respected leaders, generally from outside of healthcare (but not always).

The title of this month’s post is a misnomer (the Monthly part), given that I did not post a Favorites list in August. That was intentional.

Since I reduced my posting frequency from twice-weekly to weekly, I did not feel that it was appropriate to use the Favorites format for 25% of my posts. I feel that the Favorites don’t have the gravitas of my usual posts. I might be wrong on that – but that’s my thinking, so they may be a bit less frequent than before.

Leadership Favorites – September 2017 Edition

This month’s favorites follow…

monthly leadership favorites - September 2017 edition email overwhelm

Email Overwhelm

Reading this post by The Productive Physician – Inbox Zero: The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Email – I was reminded that this might be a good topic to revisit. Managing email can become a daunting task. Somehow, we find ourselves on dozens, if not hundreds, of email lists, and our Inbox may be perpetually clogged.

We may be in the habit of leaving email notifications on, and keeping our email services open during the day. This results in one of the most pervasive forms of distraction and shallow work imaginable. If we want to focus more on Deep Work, email is something we must get under control.

The first stop in our journey to explore possible solutions is Inbox Zero: The Ultimate Guide to Managing Your Email. It is a comprehensive review of every aspect of email management that can be improved, streamlined or eliminated, and includes the following steps:

  1. Eliminate
  2. Consolidate
  3. Delegate
  4. Automate
  5. Process
  6. Be a Good Email Citizen, and,
  7. Close

I won’t explain them any further. Rather, I recommend you check out the article. Be prepared to spend a little time there, or review it in pieces, because it’s very detailed (the author is kind enough to provide a table of contents along the right margin).

Not All Leadership Dyads Are Created Equal

The False Promise of Poorly Constructed Health System Dyads

Leadership Dyads have been touted as the solution to the challenge of executing complex initiatives in hospitals and health systems. Meaningful physician leadership has been found to be the missing component in some of these implementations. The thinking goes that partnering a strong executive with an engaged physician can overcome physician resistance to such new programs. But not all leadership dyads are created equal.

What Is Dyad Leadership?

As described in a 2015 Advisory Board Article, dyad leadership is “…a partnership where an administrative or nurse leader is paired with a physician leader, bringing together ‘the best of both worlds’ of skills and expertise.” According to that report, the use of dyads in health care has become more common over the past decade.

leadership dyads partnership co-management

The purported benefits of a leadership dyad include:

  • Two leaders with complementary skills can be more effective than any one leader;
  • The dyad ensures optimal use of each leader’s time and effort; and,
  • It improves engagement and reduces stress.

I don’t agree with all of these assumptions. Yes, complimentary skills are useful. But there is an equal risk that two leaders attending the same meetings and duplicating their work could result in wasting valuable resources.

Enhanced engagement of physicians seems more likely. But whose stress level is going to be reduced when working on these high priority projects under the usual budgetary constraints and tight deadlines?

Growth And Discomfort for the Vital Physician Executive

And 9 Newly Identified Physician Authored Blogs and Podcasts

The title of this post is intended to have two meanings. Any manager, leader, or executive generally finds that there is rarely growth without discomfort. Growth and discomfort (sometimes outright pain) are usually linked. It also indicates that this blog itself is due for some growth.

When I jumped in and took my first executive position as vice president for medical affairs, it began a period of growth that I had not experienced since medical school and residency.

growth and discomfort quote

During that time, I was constantly feeling a sense of discomfort. I was only partially prepared for my new role. The experiences that felt especially uncomfortable were:

  • Being the outsider at meetings with the CEO and other members of the executive team, who had worked together and met weekly for years before I joined them;
  • Learning to interact with, support, lead and inspire the directors who actually ran my division;
  • Accepting full accountability for my own performance and that of my division; and,
  • Understanding and embracing budgets.

Effective But Unorthodox Career Advice

Consider These Tactics When Pursuing a New Career

When considering a career pivot, mentors and advisors often include an admonition to follow your passion as a key piece of advice. After all, following one’s passion means that you will stick with it. You won’t easily be swayed from working on something you’re passionate about, so you’ll see it through, even when there are big challenges. To do otherwise would seem to be unorthodox career advice.

Besides, numerous surveys of, and interviews with, successful business leaders and entrepreneurs report the importance of following one’s passion. 

But there are two serious statistical concepts at play that place such advice on shaky ground.

Bad Advice

The first is that correlation does not equal causation. To the contrary, it’s quite possible that success fosters passion. It’s perfectly logical to become passionate about a career that has brought fame and fortune.

The second is survivorship bias. Yes, a high percentage of successful persons declare that passion was responsible for their success. But for every successful business owner, there are often many unsuccessful business owners.

unorthodox career advice and passion

About 60% of new restaurants fail within 3 years. Most of the founders were probably passionate about starting a restaurant. But if they were all passionate when they started (including the failures), then the correlation with success is zero at best.

Yet we never hear from the unsuccessful business founders or career seekers. Who would interview someone about being a failure?

So, the presence of passion itself probably does not correlate with success, just as the TV show American Idol has demonstrated that passion for singing does not correlate with the ability to sing well.