Give this man a well-deserved round of applause! Someone you should know.

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

Meetings like this are taking place in large corporations all over the country.  But this is the first time I've heard one end with this result.  Paul Levy is the man in charge of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.  As with many large corporations and hospitals, they're feeling the financial crunch, and the board is pressing management to think about layoffs to balance the budget.

And whom are they thinking about laying off?... do you suppose they want to begin at the top, with the bloated salaries of upper management.... no, no, no... of course not.

Paul Levy called  a meeting of the entire Hospital staff, in the auditorium.  He knew these people... he knew all of them, because he'd been walking the hospital for weeks, watching people at work.  He stood at the nurses' stations, watching the people who push the patients around in wheelchairs. He saw them talk to the patients, put them at ease, make them laugh. He saw that the people who push the wheelchairs were important extensions of the hospital.

He watched the people who deliver the food talked with the patients and their families.

He watched the people who mop the floors, clean sheets, empty trash, and he realized that many are immigrants, many had second and third jobs, and many were just squeezing out a living. Paul Levy had all this on his mind as he waited in Auditorium.

He looked out into this large group of familiar faces: technicians, secretaries, administrators, therapists, nurses, the people who are the heart and soul of any hospital. People who knew that Beth Israel had hired about a quarter of its 8,000 staff during the last six years and that the chances that they could all keep their jobs and benefits in this economy ranged was slim.

"I want to run an idea by you that I think is important, and I'd like to get your reaction to it," Levy began. "I'd like to do what we can to protect the lower-wage earners - the transporters, the housekeepers, the food service people. A lot of these people work really hard, and I don't want to put an additional burden on them.

"Now, if we protect these workers, it means the rest of us will have to make a bigger sacrifice," he continued. "It means that others will have to give up more of their salary or benefits."

He had barely spoken the words when the Auditorium erupted in applause. Thunderous, heartfelt, sustained well-deserved applause.

Paul Levy stood there and felt it rush over him, like a wave. His eyes welled and his throat tightened so much that he didn't think he could finish.  When the applause finally ended, he told the workers at Beth Israel, the people who make a hospital go, that he wanted their suggestions.

And Paul Levy began getting e-mails.

The overall consensus was that the workers don't want anyone to get laid off and are willing to give up pay and benefits to make sure that didn't happen. A nurse said her floor voted unanimously to forgo a 3 percent raise. A fellow in finance who got laid off from his prior job at a hospital in Rhode Island suggested working one less day a week. Another nurse said she was willing to give up some vacation and sick time. A respiratory therapist suggested eliminating bonuses.

"I'm getting about a hundred messages per hour," Levy said yesterday, shaking his head.

Paul Levy is onto something. People are worried about the next paycheck, because they're only a few paychecks away from not being able to pay the mortgage or the rent.

But a lot of them realize that everybody's in the same boat and that their boat doesn't rise because someone else's sinks.

Paul Levy is trying something revolutionary, radical, maybe even impossible: He is trying to convince the people who work for him that the E in CEO can sometimes stand for empathy.

This is the way that a CEO should behave, like a leader.   This is the way a leader leads their people through a crisis.  This is the way you keep morale high, during financially uncertain times.

Paul Levy is the antithesis of Bernie Madeoff, and the CEO's of Lehman brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch and their Platinum Parachutes.  This is a man of the people.  And I guarantee you, that if and when this crisis is over, the workers of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston will remember who led them through the crisis, allowed them to keep their jobs, their paychecks, and their dignity.

Ladies and gentlemen of Active Rain.  This is the portrait of a modern American Hero.  Let's hope, whatever Paul Levy has... is contagious!

Give this man a well deserved round of applause.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 2929 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email: Almay@aol.com

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois

   

Do not copy the content of this blog, without first contacting the author for permission. 
Reblogging IS allowed. All other use is strictly prohibited without express permission from me.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Peggy Wester 03/12/2009 08:42 PM
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Rainmaker
723,608
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
CRS, GRI, e-PRO, Searcy AR

What a nice blog.  The LIttle Star may come back around because of this one.

Mar 12, 2009 07:57 PM #1
Ambassador
995,722
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

give the star to Mr. Levy.  He's the one who deserves it.

Mar 12, 2009 08:13 PM #2
Rainer
137,570
Roy A. Peterson
Domicile Analysis of Texas - El Paso, TX
P.R.E.I.

Alan, I wish this could reach all the CEO here in the U.S., I'm going to copy this and email to everybody on my address book.

                                                ~ Life is Good                            Clapping Hands

Mar 12, 2009 08:22 PM #3
Rainmaker
204,504
Peggy Wester
Think Young Team--Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County Real

I'm not sure what to say to this except, "Wow!" What a refreshing, hope-filled story. This is something everyone should know about. What a genuinely, kind man.

Mar 12, 2009 08:41 PM #4
Rainmaker
437,367
JL Boney, III
Russell and Jeffcoat - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

Kind of surprising to hear in this day and age that someone at the head of a corporation is attempting to help the people that work there.

Mar 12, 2009 08:43 PM #5
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995,722
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

Roy - I think everyone will know about it tomorrow... it was on the news tonight.

Peggy - you're right... a genuine man (what we would call in Yiddish... a mentsch), and thanks for the re-blog.

JL - I know... it's surprising.. but it shouldn't be... it should be the rule, not the exception

Mar 12, 2009 08:52 PM #6
Rainmaker
662,195
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Wow...this is the kind of care, concern and brotherhood we should have more of, instead of stories about hourly wage earners who refuse to give in and agree to lower wages and fewer benefits that could help their company survive (like the auto industry).

Maybe our governor Ahhh-nold Schwarzenegger had the right idea of furloughs for state offices if it meant avoiding bankruptcy for the state.

Thanks for sharing.

Mar 13, 2009 01:28 AM #7
Rainer
92,857
Zane Coffin
Century-21 Homestar - Geneva, OH
(Geneva Ohio Real Estate Agent)

Yes he is a person of integrity and honor....We can only hope more leaders will do the same thing ...peace zane

Mar 13, 2009 06:00 AM #8
Rainmaker
864,875
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Alan, very nice story, and many of of on the East Coast have had friends and relatives that received excellent care at Bet Israel. There is a Ski Race at Loon Mt. Each year that sends all the proceeds to Breast cancer research- at Deaconess and it is always well attended. You have shed some additional light on why. Thanks for the uplifting post.

Mar 13, 2009 08:01 AM #9
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995,722
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

Pacita - I think that says it all.. doesn't it... "wow".

Zane - integrity... something nice to expect from our leaders...

Steve - that's good to know... thanks

Mar 13, 2009 08:04 AM #10
Rainer
13,342
Dave Culbertson
Real Living Home Team - Mount Vernon, OH

Wow....with your permission, may I forward this far and wide...EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT THIS...

Bless you for sharing it!

Mar 13, 2009 02:25 PM #11
Ambassador
995,722
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

Dave - feel free to reblog the heck out of it... enjoy

Mar 13, 2009 02:47 PM #12
Rainmaker
180,245
Cameron Wilson
Labrum Real Estate - Murrieta, CA
The Short Guy - Murrieta,Temecula,Menifee California

This man deserves more than a round of applause. He deserves to sit before the so called leaders of our Country and show them what a Leader really is.

Bless him and each of the employees who are willing to give and save others jobs.

Mar 13, 2009 09:36 PM #13
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Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

ain't it the trooth, Cameron, ain't it the trooth!?

Mar 13, 2009 10:26 PM #14
Rainer
107,665
Karl Peidl
Moorestown, NJ
Accredited Loan Consultant

Alan - Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and the hope that accompanies it.

Mar 14, 2009 12:38 PM #15
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Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

Karl... it was truly my pleasure.

Mar 14, 2009 01:19 PM #16
Rainmaker
654,115
Realty Works Temecula
Realty Works Temecula - Temecula, CA
Real Estate, Temecula, Murrieta, Menifee

Thank goodness Alan, Someone at the top of at least one conglomerate has the E in empathy.  We need more stories like this, maybe it will catch on!!!

Mar 15, 2009 12:49 PM #17
Ambassador
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Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate

I like it Jane, Chief Empathetic Officer.

Mar 15, 2009 02:51 PM #18
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