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Wisconsin’s Physician Leader of the Year Dr. Roger Kapoor Talks About Getting Results – Exclusive Interview

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Dr. Roger Kapoor

The Wisconsin Medical Society recently announced the 2022 recipient of its prestigious Physician Leader of the Year: Dr. Roger Kapoor, Senior Vice President at the Beloit Health System, a non-for-profit community-based corporation.

The award recognizes one physician every year in the state of Wisconsin that exemplifies an overwhelming commitment to patients, community and the profession of medicine and comes with a monetary grant given to the awardee, sponsored by the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation.

Dr. Kapoor is an accomplished and well-trained dermatologist, with training from Harvard and Stanford, as well as an astute business acumen with a Master’s in Business Administration from Oxford University in England.

Dr. Kapoor has achieved some marvelous results in patient satisfaction where his efforts took patient satisfaction scores from the 16th percentile to a mind-blowing 88th percentile in less than a year!  He also ushered in a quality culture within his organization which resulted in national recognition by Leapfrog with three consecutive “A” ratings and an increase in the hospital’s star rating to its highest ever with 4 out of 5 stars based on national benchmarks.

Dr. Roger Kapoor recently sat down with us to discuss how he makes decisions, gets results, and works with his team.

What is your approach to starting a new project or business venture?

Before investing my energy into anything, I ask myself, hypothetically, in 20 years, will it still be significant for me? In other words, when I am closer to my grave and reflect on this particular project or business venture, will the life that I invested in the project be something I can be proud of? Did it provide or contribute to some sort of enduring value?

Once that is answered, it is important to make sure you can execute. So what significant or concrete goals does the project achieve, and how are you going to get there? You need to have or develop specific, measurable, achievable, but aggressive results on a timeline that can be validated. Even more importantly, we need to ask the question as to whether there is a compelling reason as to why you are going to do it. Any project I get involved in must have a clear purpose and inspire or produce passion.

This can be conveniently summarized in the word “responsibility.” When any of us choose to take on a responsibility, if we break that word up, it means that it is a measure of our “ability” to “respond.”

Your ability to respond and successfully complete a project or new business venture will always be tied directly to the why, or the purpose and passion the project creates, the what, or the goals that are set, and the how, or the way in which you and your team will deliver on those goals.

Once this lines up, it’s an easy yes or no.

What are some of the keys to effective decision-making?

Being a member of a leadership team is a privilege. In leadership, you have the ability to either change someone’s life for the better directly or change a situation that then changes someone’s life for the better indirectly. Either way, you have this enormous capacity to facilitate advancement in well-being.

At the root of any decision-making, we must be able to acknowledge that our collective aspirations as a team, workforce, or community are essentially the same. This sense of inclusiveness in decision-making underscores our basic humanity and serves as another layer to protect one’s integrity, compassion, morality, quality, commitment, etc., when making a decision.

Inclusiveness further enables you to preserve your awareness about the impacts of a decision and the different viewpoints that exist, all while attempting to serve as a reminder that all decisions should ultimately improve well-being, directly or indirectly.

By no means will this mean that the decision made will be 100% supported, but it does help to untangle yourself from making a decision based on what may be defined as “right” or “wrong.” What is right and what is wrong have the potential to fluctuate and be influenced by the times in which we live. A decision based on inclusiveness has the ability to withstand the test of time and is always one that I have found worth investing my life in.

What criteria do you use to decide what to do yourself and what to delegate to others?

Leadership is all about teamwork. Within that team, a leader must create an environment for taking a calculated risk and engendering implicit trust. Additionally, failure should be viewed as taking a step closer to success and not as a misstep leading to job insecurity.

Choosing that team is critical. Members should be part of the solution and not the problem. When delegating, ideally, I find an individual or a group of individuals that willingly want to be involved. Delegating a task to an unwilling team member generally results in less than optimal results.

When I say willing, I am looking for someone who wants to be involved in a project for no other reason than for the value the project will create and the impact it will have. A willing participant is likely to own the project, have the time needed to exceed results, and dedicate their energy more completely to the outcome.

Of course, some, if not most, delegation is straightforward and does not require this level of thought, but for larger projects, I always look for individuals demonstrating a willing commitment.

How do you manage the stress of all the things you are not able to complete?

I maintain my hunger, humility, humor, and honesty.

When I was in school, I remember some of my teachers, all of which were incredible, telling us students, “I want you to know that my class is going to be hard. All of you are going to have to work very hard in order to be successful here.” Internally, I would chuckle. Not out of arrogance but a childish curiosity.

Why would I need to work “hard,” I would ask myself. I signed up for this class because I was interested in the topic. I was eager to work enthusiastically, with joy and happiness.

Obviously, there are some nights when you burn the midnight oil, and you imagine yourself on a beach, but I mean, in general, why must we work hard? Why can’t we work passionately? Work with enthusiasm? Work with ease?

Even in the workplace, I hear the phrase “you need to work harder.” If you work hard, then stress, anxiety, and fear are all more probable outcomes than success. Now, you may be successful in the given task, but how many times will that formula work? Is it such a surprise that burnout is as big of an issue these days as ever before?

The answer to me seems obvious.

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