A Challenging Leadership Agenda in Healthcare Delivery

Simply stated you can’t read about high performing culture in a book and understand what it really is. While leaders can indeed learn as the basis for shifting their mindset, developing new skills and expanding their knowledge base experience is really the best teacher.

For years healthcare CEO’s have experimented with departments of innovation and infusion of leaders from other industries with intent of seeding the top leadership team with different perspectives. Additionally, consultants have been engaged to bring value adding analytics and process to assist in creating a path to breakthroughs. So, many lament that these efforts have produced disappointing results for all the time, effort and money allocated.  Organizations do have immune systems and those in healthcare delivery are quite well developed.

Yes, volumes of acute care and residential facilities will be dramatically less. It is going to be all about health not only healthcare. Along the way quality of revenue will continue to decline. There is no clear line of sight that illustrates how to match expenses to declines in revenues. And, on and on. Cleary, it is a very difficult time for leaders in healthcare. I encourage you to consider the following questions as these may represent foundational insight to inform how you get your organization out of the ditch of despair.

I encourage you to consider the following 10 questions as these may represent foundational insight to inform how you get your organization out of the ditch of despair.

  1.  What do we believe to be the givens, assumptions ad uncertainties regarding shifts of roles and players over the next 3-5 years and beyond?
  2.  Do I have the self-awareness and vulnerability to disclose to my board what I know and don’t know about the future and ask for help?
  3.  As a CEO, do I have Board members that have the experience, passion and voice to dig into building a shared understanding of this uncertain future while really engaging to the benefit of their experiences and intelligence?
  4.  While loyalty is important it can be a barrier. Have I sufficiently staffed my senior executive team with leaders who collectively have the right the mindset, skills and know-how required to find new solutions to very difficult and nagging strategic problems?
  5.  Have I built a real executive team that leverages the diversity of thinking, decision-making and leadership in a manner that celebrates, leverage and models leadership for the organization?
  6.  To what extent does our strategy illustrate new sources of capital and the migration of sources of revenue from acute/residential care to ambulatory, retail and home-based settings?
  7.  Are we measuring the right things, and if not what is the path to have the right metrics and reporting in place?
  8.  What are the 3-5 core messages that we need all employees, physicians and external stakeholder to understand and support?
  9.  What do we believe to be the givens, assumptions ad uncertainties regarding shifts of roles and players over the next 3-5 years and beyond?
  10.  And, do I have the energy to continue to lead through this time of great uncertainty?

The term transformational leadership is frequently used these days. I suggest these questions are the basis to begin to understand what this may mean and the implications for different actions on the part of CEOs.