June 2011

Decisions for the Long Haul

Even in one’s personal life, it’s tempting to make decisions that seemingly promise to make tomorrow better, even if it’s clear that they’ll make the day after tomorrow harder. A lot of problems our country faces can be traced to just that reflex. 

Long-term solutions are hard to embrace because typically, they entail enormous effort and painful adjustment—while the ultimate benefit seems so far away (and so nebulous!) that it’s hard to believe it’s worth it. It’s not unlike being on mile 11 of a 26-mile marathon. There are moments—when there’s a stitch in your side and maybe a cramp in your leg—that the question crosses your mind: why am I doing this?   

As you consider our Medical Center today, there’s probably an example of  that “11th-mile doubt” that comes to mind—like the implementation of Epic…or the complex relocations as we reconfigure the Rusk Institute…or the multiple other moves required by our ambitious building strategy. 

Each of those involves enormous effort and considerable stress, I know. But unlike stop-gap solutions and short-term “fixes,” which consume scarce resources without actually solving anything, they are all endeavors that will provide solid foundations for us, setting us apart well into the future. 

The $1-billion milestone we recently passed in philanthropy acknowledges, I think, both our donors’ appreciation of what we have already achieved and their faith in our long-term direction. Like any marathon, this one isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely one we’re going to win!