Recently, representatives from across our company assembled in St. Louis to discuss strategy, systems, compliance enhancement, people development, and plot our future as a key contributor to company success. One of the key words used in this meeting was the word stewardship. Stewardship is a great concept to describe our role and responsibility to the company and to our patients. Stewardship means the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. In our case, it means the careful and responsible management of patient care, product safety, and our company’s overall success. We have an important role that we should never forget.
There are four key principles of stewardship that apply to us as employees or, really, to anyone that properly acts as a steward or caretaker. Let’s look at these principles and see how they apply to us:
- The Principle of Ownership – Though we may have significant responsibility for large budgets, large numbers of people, or strategic direction of the company, we do not own what we manage. Sure, we need to take ownership of our function, responsibilities, and activities, but the real “owners” are those that count on us every day… our patients. Certainly, the shareholders actually own the company, but we have to remember why we do what we do and how our work impacts those using our products.
- The Principle of Responsibility – As stewards of our company, we have a responsibility to always do what is best for our patients, our coworkers, our company… we actually come last in this list. We carry a burden to care for that which is entrusted to us. Thus, we must act with that in mind. We must do what is best for all, especially that child in Memphis at St. Jude’s using our products today to relieve their pain or diagnose their cancer.
- The Principle of Accountability – We cannot perform our work in a vacuum. We must be accountable for our results. We must do what we say we’ll do, in the way required, and in the time promised. Understanding that others count on us is essential as we link our efforts with our coworkers to deliver that required product at the right time.
- The Principle of Reward – Yes, there are tangible rewards for working at our company. However, we also receive a “reward” every time we hear a patient testimony of how our products improve lives. We are rewarded every time a regulatory inspection ends successfully. We are rewarded when our coworkers are promoted, our teams are recognized, or our work is celebrated. We receive a reward each night when we walk to our car knowing that we made a difference to someone today.
There is a reward for being a good steward. Knowing that we work in an industry that changes lives demands that we operate as good stewards. So, when you consider that each of us must function as a good steward of the resources, people, challenges, and opportunities under our care, we should be inspired to operate with a bit more care in our daily activities. And, it should inspire us to hold our heads just a little bit higher as we know that we produce something good… something worthy… something important for the lives of others. Have a really great day! It could be our very best yet!