By Jon Connor
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical
Center public affairs
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center medical staff filled the education auditorium to listen to Maj. Gen. Elder Granger, deputy director and program executive officer of the Tricare Management Activity, Office of the assistant secretary of Defense (Health Affairs), Washington, D.C., discuss his leadership philosophy learned over a career spanning four decades.
Granger hit on a number of points regarding leadership during his presentation and one of them was change.
“Either you ride the waves of change or you’ll find yourself below them,” he said.
Granger serves as the principal adviser to the assistant secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) on the Department of Defense’s health plan policy and performance. He also oversees the acquisition, operation and integration of DoD’s managed care program within the Military Health System.
At Tricare, Granger leads a staff of 1,800 in planning, budgeting and executing an $18 billion Defense Health Program, ensuring the effective and efficient provision of high-quality, accessible healthcare for 9.2 million uniformed service members, their families, retirees and others worldwide.
He began his career with the Army Medical Department in 1971 as a combat medic in the Army National Guard. Prior to joining Tricare, Granger led the largest U.S. and multinational battlefield health system in recent history while serving as commander of Task Force 44th Medical Command and command surgeon for Multinational Corps-Iraq.
Granger shared his “Five Ps” of success: People, processes and systems, price, prevention and productivity. Customer service, quality, accessibility, readiness, all play an import role in support of the five Ps, Granger said.
“The only time you fail is the last time you don’t try,” he said.
Regarding price, Granger explained that meant the sacrifice and time that different missions may require. But “you never sacrifice your morals and ethics,” he said.
Granger also discussed different roles of a leader, such as mentoring, facilitating, directing, producing, and being a broker/negotiator and innovator.
“There’s always a little bit better way of doing things,” he said.
Granger then showed his list of 15 leadership principles emphasizing those he felt were most important such as communicating openly, fostering creative thinking, leading by example or following with enthusiasm, treating causes and not symptoms, and being accountable and responsible as a leader, and never forgetting to reward your people.
“We have a great rewards system in the military,” he said.
Granger placed great emphasis on treating people with kindness and respect.
He said if you remember nothing else of his briefing, remember TIPS, which is an acronym for: Talk to people; keep them Informed; be Predictable; and be Sensitive to their needs, because “We have the most diversified military on this earth,” Granger said.
Granger closed with his comment that most people that most people don’t remember when George Washington was born or when he died, but they remember many of the accomplishments he made between those dates or the “dash” of his life.
“The dash in your life is what you will be remembered by,” he said.