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wanda-cokerBy Wanda Coker, BHS, CRA, FAHRA

There are a lot of Nike “Proven” shirts being worn around this area lately. This shirt was designed by Nike for the winner of the NCAA Football championship. For those of you who do not know me very well, I am a huge Clemson football fan. This is the first National Championship that they have won since the year my oldest child was born (1981). People around this area are wearing the shirts with pride and excitement, to say the least.

Why did Nike choose the word “proven” and what does it mean? If something is proven, then it has been shown to be true or has been verified. In the spirit of the game, I would like to share a few “championship words” or leadership principles that can be applicable to us as imaging leaders.

Commitment/Dedication: What is your daily commitment? What motivates you? The Clemson Tigers got up at 4:30AM to work out every day because they had a drive and a commitment to overcome the hurt caused by losing the championship game last year. They would not be satisfied unless they brought home the trophy this year. Keeping yourself and your coworkers motivated is a sign of commitment. That is exactly what Deshaun Watson, the quarterback, did. He encouraged his teammates on the last drive of the game by telling the offensive line, “Let’s be legendary.” He displayed confidence and took a leadership role. However, he could not have accomplished the winning touchdown alone; he needed the trust, skills, cooperation, and significant contributions from the rest of the team.

Vision/Thinking outside the box: This verbiage may be an old cliché to all of us, but I do think you have to think outside the box and come up with new ideas or new ways of doing things. Healthcare is changing rapidly, and you have to be able to see a bigger picture. What makes patients want to come to your facility? What is your “wow” factor? In 2008, when Coach Dabo Swinney accepted the head coach position at Clemson, one of the trustees told him that he wanted this football program to be like some of the other great programs in the country. Without being disrespectful, Coach Swinney responded, “My vision is to create a program where they want to be like us.” As leaders, we must have and show a vision of where we want to be.

Accountability: You must be accountable not only to yourself, but to your team as well. The imaging team (like a football team) requires a lot of collaboration between many different interdependent departments. Accountability holds the teams together and allows the mission to be accomplished. Accountability also helps correct problems and issues and helps build trust. The lack of it can be seen in missed deadlines, poor performance, and lower quality.

Love: I am not saying you have to love every minute of every day, but we should all show appreciation and show that we truly care. Jon Gordon recently stated in one of his articles that “Accountability without love leads to disengagement, burn-out, and dysfunction. Love goes a long way in building a unified team.”1 At the victory celebration after the championship game, Coach Swinney told the crowd that “Trophies will not define us ever. We will be defined by our culture and how we invest in our young men at Clemson, and the way we teach them to love, serve, and care.” We all know that 80% of the people that leave an organization do so because of their boss. Love and appreciation will make a difference.

These principles of commitment, dedication, vision, accountability, and love can be applicable to all of us as leaders. When our days are done, or when our careers as imaging leaders have ended, hopefully we all can say it was a job well done. We can be proud of the way we loved, served, and cared and wear the “proven” shirt with pride. On that note, I’d like to congratulate my friend and colleague, Cathy Story, who just retired from Lehigh Valley Imaging Department. A job well done, my friend! You are indeed a “proven” leader to all of us.


1. Gordon J. The Jon Gordon Companies Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/jongordonpage/posts/10154220544231299. Published January 15, 2017. Accessed February 1, 2017.

Wanda Coker, BHS, CRA, FAHRA is the radiology director at Shriners Hospital for Children Greenville in Greenville, SC. She can be reached at wcoker@shrinenet.org.


  1. Excellent article. I do believe you need all six of the above mentioned principles to be successful. Thanks

  2. Wanda, thank you for the shout out on my retirement! It was a great career, and lead me to many great AHRA leaders.

  3. This is an excellent article. You’re correct in your statement that we in imaging must step out of the box, must step out of your comfort zone comma and become more involved. I plan to follow up on Wanda’s suggestions.

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