Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Eastern Health – Leadership in Crisis

I almost NEVER post my political thoughts on the web.

However, in the case of watching Eastern Health (in Newfoundland, Canada) melt down over shortcomings in leadership, I couldn’t help but write this letter to the key stakeholders within the government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

If you want additional specifics, feel free to Google them.  The details are too complex to summarize in my blog but a number of people wanted to see this letter and for this reason, I have posted this on my blog.

My letter follows – comments are welcome.


Monday – March 15, 2010

Good day, Honorable Premier, Honorable Minister of Health, Ms. Jones and Ms. Michael.

As a strategy advisor and leadership incubator on Wall St. for many years, I find the current series of events at Eastern Health interesting and disturbing.

Ms. Kaminski’s claims of ignorance or helplessness regarding the things that are going on in Eastern Health may appear to her to give her a free pass; that all of this is happening without her knowledge and is beyond her control.  Her recent public statements which are more suggestive of a bully and not a leader are not helpful either.

Most leaders know that to admit things are happening without their knowledge or beyond their control is not just symptomatic of problems lower down in the organization.  It is in fact, symptomatic of issues within the leadership itself.  In these situations, there is no limit to how high up the chain one must go in order to find and correct these issues.

The constant cover-ups, misrepresentations, he said / she said accusations, resignations that are stated to be for one reason and then are found to not be related, etc., suggests an organization in crisis and of leadership in crisis.

In addition, the current manner in which this is being debated in public is horrific, unprofessional, unproductive and if anything, continues to erode the confidence of the people.

What makes matters of greater concern is that the devil is not in what we know – it’s in what we don’t know.

I would suspect that if so many leaks in the “Eastern Health boat” have come to light, there is a good chance that there is much more amiss inside the Eastern Health ship that we cannot see.

Just as the dangerous part of an iceberg is mostly out of sight, I wonder if there are many more challenges within Eastern Health that are out of sight, waiting for an inopportune moment to manifest and potentially take the lives of people unnecessarily.

What we see being demonstrated in public could hardly convince us otherwise.

You are all leaders of strong background and high intelligence with a history of service to the people of the Province and a commitment to do the right things for the Province.

Please work together to bring your intelligence, your passion to do the right thing and your commitment for excellence to bear to bring this back under control – not only what we see but what we don’t see also.

To do anything else is to not serve the people of the Province.

Yours most respectfully,

Harry Tucker


Addendum – March 19th, 2010:

Some folks may be interested in this earlier blog entry that referenced Eastern Health.


  1. Well said, Harry. While I don't think government will take your advice, I commend you for taking a stand and bringing a voice of reason to a noisy debate.

  2. Thanks, Geoff. :-)

    I'm not holding my breath although I would be delighted if they responded. :-)

    By the way, for people who didn't hear me on CBC Radio today, here's where they can listen to my thoughts on the matter.

  3. Not to compare apples and oranges........but the "491 Inquiry" is current and reminds many of the circumstances around the Ocean Ranger.

    Blame goes back and forth, but if it were possible to place all the inquiry participants on the listing oil rig that night what would they say? Would not blame be irrelevant?

    For example:My own query - and I have yet to locate an answer - in a capsizing moored semi-submersible - which happens first? Do the mooring cables break allowing capsizing or does the capsizing rig break the cables? Or do they just evacuate ASAP?

    Eastern Health - Does the diagnosis determine the testing protocol or do the test results determine the diagnosis? OR do they just get a second opinion STAT?