Conversation on vision, insight, organizations and individual responsibility

I’m fortunate to have good friends who push me to consider new ideas, deepen my introspection and strengthen my stern self-examination. With permission, I’m sharing some conversations I’ve had with these friends in hope that they motivate you, the reader, to have such conversations with your friends.
Friend: The medical industry has so much complexity.
me: I wonder why, if the basis of medicine is to help patients, is the industry so complex and beyond the reach of the average patient? This makes me suspect the basis on which the medical industry stands.
Friend: Well, I can tell you not everyone is in it for the patients – and I am pretty sure that is why every system that is messed up gets messed up – cause some of the stakeholders prioritize something other than the original reason for the system.
me: Why do you think that is?
Friend: I think it starts with people having different priorities than overall visions but then it turns into organizational issues – like pleasing shareholders who invest because of returns not because of the underlying reason for providing the service.
me: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Thinking about them has made me aware of my shortcomings, and thus humbled me and given me some things to work on. I want to expand on what you said, and I hope you won’t take this as a rebuttal. On the contrary, I couldn’t agree with you more. I am sharing my thoughts to help me write down what I am thinking 🙂
Could having a vision be the problem? Does having a vision lock us into a narrow mindset so that we become like horses with blinders? I think a vision, in itself, is not the problem; it’s the blind adherence to vision and vision disconnected from insight that are the problems. Blindly following a vision hinders exploration, blocks creativity and robs us of our journey. A vision disconnected from insight (of self) is without foundation and morality. It’s why a clash between personal priorities and vision arises.
Is the shift in priorities due to organizational issues or due to something deeply internal, e.g. doing what is right vs. what is expected or doing what is best for the individual vs. what is best for the group (in the long-term). I wonder if people is such positions rationalize their behavior by blaming organizations without finding the culprit within. I have a feeling we all do this.
Friend: Love the shared thoughts. I agree that we can’t blindly follow a vision, and we often do so without much insight into ourselves or without understanding how to connect vision to every moment’s actions. I know it was something I struggled with in India. How is it that insight into ourselves has become one of our largest challenges? You would think knowing yourself (or being honest with yourself) would be one of the easier challenges of the world.
Making organizations the culprit is easier than taking hard steps to make individual level decisions that may go against the traditional system or expectations. It is like that diffusion of responsibility article we read at one of the workshops. We say it is the organization’s fault so, we don’t have to do anything because no one else is.
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About Ranjodh Singh
I'm currently an Ally in the Public Allies New York Apprenticeship (www.publicallies.org). Through the apprenticeship, I'm partnered with NYCRx (www.nyxrc.org), a nonprofit organization that improves the health of New Yorkers using public health interventions. I'm excited to continue serving, but doing so closer to health and medicine. I'm also enjoying NYC, which I find to be an enriching environment.

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