Less than two years ago, Brentwood Hospital, Shreveport, LA, announced a new Chief Executive Officer, James Duff. Upon announcement, Mr. Duff replied, “I look forward to returning to Louisiana and working closely with the team at Brentwood. The staff is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment and helping our patients live better lives. I’m excited to be part of this team.” His statement was the birth of Team Brentwood. Many responsibilities are listed in a Chief Executive Officer job description: planning, budgeting, overseeing operations, recruiting, marketing, and managing. James Duff exceeds the expectations in each aspect of this job description, but he also has challenged the typical expectations of what a CEO does both inside and outside the hospital through electrifying leadership. Within our facility, he may arrive in any given department at anytime. He knows the name of every employee. He talks to his team. He listens to his team. He may be on any patient unit at any time, found sitting on the floor talking to a child, hanging out with adolescents, or stopping to talk to adult units. James Duff knows facility patients by their first name. Seriously impressive. He not only talks and listens to them, but is also responsive. One Senior Director states, “He treats each individual as he would want to be treated. He treats each staff member and patient with respect and dignity. He never “flies off the handle”, but listens to each
individual and weighs his decisions prior to giving his recommendation on becoming a better team member.” His behaviors serve as a model for his leadership team. Obviously, Mr. Duff is not tied to his office. Although it is not listed in any job duty of any CEO position, Mr. Duff also patrols the grounds, making rounds through each facility unit multiple times a day. No task is too small or trivial for him. His actions spark energy and action from facility staff. “He has set an example to follow the service excellence standard our corporation has set and leads by exhibiting the highest standards that he expects from all employees,” states a Brentwood team member. “The employees are more confident and more patient‐oriented due to his leadership and vast experience dealing with problems that may arise. He jumps in and helps employees with minor and major occurrences. He is a team player and encourages others to follow his example,” explains a clinical staff member. Morale and employee retention continue to increase since his appointment as CEO. Mr. Duff’s positive impact is not confined to Brentwood Hospital. He immediately acquainted himself and his Team Brentwood with local community efforts. Beginning with a work day for the Bossier Council on Aging, his community involvement diary for twenty‐two months is impressive. One of Mr. Duff’s Senior Director’s commented; “He has only been in Shreveport/Bossier for a short period of time, but has done more to interact with the community than most people living here a lifetime.” Bossier Council On Aging, a non‐profit organization provides services to local seniors including meals, transportation, utility assistance and wellness activities. Mr. Duff and Team Brentwood repainted the BCOA parking lot, painted inside rooms, cleaned flower beds, constructed two new rose beds, weeded and cleared out limbs and trash. Shortly after, in an effort to enlist as many of Team Brentwood as possible, Mr. Duff initiated regular blood drives. It is critical to recognize that Mr. Duff makes it accessible for anyone to
make a difference. He coordinated with Life Share Blood donations to facilitate a donor bus set up in the facility parking lot during different shifts, enabling employees to make a positive difference with little effort. James Duff sets a tone of success by facilitating employees to engage in community service. In order to acquaint Team Brentwood with the facility neighbors, Mr. Duff scheduled a renewal day in the facility’s neighborhood. Team Brentwood picked up trash, cleared yard debris, met neighboring families, and seeded a community rapport in our neighborhood. Mr. Duff also led Team Brentwood to volunteer in a local church’s homeless programs. Subsequently, Mr. Duff joined Team Brentwood to Community Renewal International, an international model for cities involved in renewal efforts. Mr. Duff has led Team Brentwood in the annual city Paint Your Heart Out effort and several community renewal work days in Barksdale, Allendale and Queensboro neighborhoods. Realize, community work days with Mr. Duff are extraordinary opportunities. He leads his team to serve excellently. Team Brentwood has been recognized as an uncommon team whose accomplishments are noteworthy in their efficiency to community renewal organizers. Mr. Duff doesn’t end the community renewal after the work is done. He fellowships. Team and community members paint children’s faces, play games, bounce in bouncy, and eat hot dogs together. People laugh and eat and talk and play ball. Good is accomplished. Something is different, better. A house is painted and a child has a teddy bear. A yard is mown and weeded, and a girl has her hair brushed into a pony tail with her own new brush.
The impact of Mr. Duff is extreme. Good is not good enough. His Team Brentwood is tremendous. His community service impacts people. People’s lives are better after Team Brentwood packs up the bouncy, grill, mowers and rakes. Obviously, community renewal is a huge service accomplishment. Impressive on its own, it is not the end of Mr. Duff’s community involvement. September 10, 2011, he led Team Brentwood in the Third Annual Red River Dragon Boat Festival. Sponsored by the Shreveport Rotary Club, an international professional organization involved in community service projects,
the newly organized annual event raises charitable contributions through dragon boat team races. While most people do not know what a dragon boat is, Mr. Duff had a team racing down the Red River fourteen months after relocating to Brentwood. There is more to his fundraising efforts. Team Brentwood, led by Mr. Duff participated in the local Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, a nationally promoted event to raise monies for cancer research. Most recently, Mr. Duff participated in was the annual Croquet Classic, sponsored by Community Renewal International Women. Yes, the tournament where everyone traditionally wears white. The Croquet Classic provides funds for birthday parties for children in Friendship House Kids Clubs and prepares lunches and snacks for service project participants from local, regional and national groups working in Friendship House neighborhoods. Team Brentwood is buzzing about trying to catch a glimpse of the pictures taken that day to see Mr. Duff decked out in white. The homeless of the Shreveport/Bossier area, The Council on Aging, Life Share Blood, Community Renewal International, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, and the Rotary Club. It is a long list of contributions to community events for Mr. Duff in a brief period of time. Simultaneously, he has extended Team Brentwood’s excellence past the walls of a work place and the daily grind into service. Peter Drucker said “The CEO is the link between the inside that is the organization, and the outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside.” James Duff has been CEO of Brentwood for twenty two months, less than two years. His results are phenomenal. Is it possible to count how many lives have been positively rippled by the actions of Team Brentwood? The facility looks completely different since he accepted the position of CEO. Fresh paint inside and outside, new floors, new
elevators, new fences, new parking lot stripes, nurses’ stations remodeled, Patient Care areas updated. Everything you can see is fresher and cleaner and updated. Is it possible these cosmetic changes James Duff has made to the appearance of the facility are a gauge for the changes in employee accountability and morale? Could the physical update of the facility symbolize the radical difference for Queensboro, Barksdale or Allendale residents that were impacted by Mr. Duff? If a Brentwood employee, how do you quantify the value of your CEO showing up in your hospital room when you are not a manager or director? If you are an adolescent patient, how do you value the impact of the boss’ boss’ boss stopping and asking how you are by name? If you are a neighborhood resident, how can you articulate the value of a clean yard and painted home? Leaving behind physically measureable differences and invaluable life changing help, Mr. Duff moves through his world with dynamic service.