After he graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1974, Levy worked for organizations such as the Massachusetts Department of Utilities, the Arkansas Department of Energy and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He proved to be a leader who did not shy away from unconventional ideas and big projects. As executive director for the MWRA, he led the court-ordered cleanup of the strongly polluted Boston Harbor. He later wrote about his experiences in an article which was published in the Harvard Business Review (2001). The article, “The Nut Island Effect,” described how the isolation of a dedicated team of employees could lead to the adoption of rules of thumb that could ultimately undermine the mission of the team and the larger organization. After the MWRA, Levy went back to MIT as an adjunct professor, teaching infrastructure planning and development. He left that position to be the executive dean for administration at Harvard Medical School.
From 2002 to 2011, Paul Levy was the president and CEO for the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. He was among the first hospital CEO’s to write a blog (www.runningahospital.blogspot.com) in which he wrote about medical and health care issues, some of which were quite controversial. He also used social media to achieve major changes at the BIDMC. His goal was to make healthcare safer, better, and more efficient. What Levy aimed for was patient-driven care, eliminating preventable harm, transparency of clinical outcomes and front-line driven process improvement. According to Levy, making it personal and recognition of the individual employee on all levels is crucial in change management. Proof that Levy is no conventional leader came once more when in 2009, when the recession caused a threat of mass layoffs at his hospital. Levy went crowdsourcing. His employees came up with ideas to cut costs and by using those ideas, Levy managed to prevent many layoffs, especially among lower paid people in the hospital.
Levy is the author of Goal Play! Leadership Lessons from the Soccer Field (2012) – a practical and inspiring guide to improving leadership qualities and results.
What Paul F. Levy will talk about during TEDxMaastricht is to be a surprise, but his inventive, personal approach guarantees an inspiring talk.
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