By Rand O’Leary
The healthcare environment continues to undergo rapid and profound change with mergers, acquisitions and new business models forever changing the landscape of how we lead and deliver healthcare for the next millennium. In my previous article, I discussed the concepts of leading your team through complex problem solving. Today the focus is on you, the leader, how you successfully navigate yourself through new relationships, complex reporting structures and multi-entity healthcare business models.
By Rand O’Leary
Leading and working in healthcare has always been complex, never more so than in today’s healthcare environment. Increased regulations, government reforms, alternative based payment models, rising consumerism and expectations have come together in a perfect storm swirling around the industry. On top of this, the world economy has become a destabilizing factor as we realize now more than ever how interconnected we are to our world partners, almost a giant game of Jenga, where one false move by a world leader could topple the whole tower.
Leaders are expected to be creative problem solvers, challenge the status quo and visualize problems before they occur. Your success as a leader is largely dependent upon how quickly you seek improvement in broken processes, develop new procedures and maximize efficiency and effectiveness.
Below are three tips to help you stay in front of the curve when managing your people and organization through change and drive results:
Today’s healthcare environment is shifting at an ever-increasing pace. The transition to community health focused care is both daunting and challenging for most organizations. Now, more than ever physician leadership can play a crucial and important role.
Setup Your Physician Leaders for Success
Before we begin, it’s foundational to understand how physicians view leadership.Physicians are trained to work independently, they value their autonomy and can be reluctant to delegate authority.All good qualities if you’re the patient.My colleague once said me, “these trauma surgeons are sure difficult to work with.”
When everything seems to be going against you, remember the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it, Henry Ford.
Ask any pilot if they remember the first time they flew the airplane alone. And you’ll get a resounding yes! The solo flight is a milestone in each pilot’s life, it’s the time when preparation and opportunity all come together. You are alone in the airplane, no instructor by your side correcting mistakes, keeping you safe, it’s all up to you.
So, we’ve closed the books on another year, and it’s time to review your performance. Maybe you’ve completed all your goals -- congratulations you’ve failed. Failed? How could that be, I’ve completed all my goals? And therein lies the problem, you didn’t set your goals (or the bar) high enough for your own performance. Goals by definition are aspirations and should be set high enough to stretch the organization and yourself in new directions. If you are constantly beating your goals, you’re not stretching enough.
In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, its easy to forget that in just a few weeks most of us will be looking at the New Year and a list of resolutions or promises that we have made to ourselves that we hope to accomplish. Some of our old favorites are bound to make the list, lose some weight, exercise, give more to charity, get back in touch with family or old friends.
But what about including in this year’s list the commitment to be a better leader next year?
Research tells us that when we write our goals down, we are far more likely to achieve them, so begin the year by taking a good hard look at what is means to be a leader, remember, you may have the title but being the leader of people requires these fundamental building blocks, can you complete these?
Over the years, I’ve heard many stories inspirational stories on leadership, one of my favorites involves President John F. Kennedy and his first visit to NASA in 1962. As the story goes, the President was touring the facility when he came across a janitor carrying a broom down the same hallway as the touring President. Kennedy, a great lover of people stopped the and asked him what he did for NASA, not missing a beat he replied, “I’m helping to put a man on the moon”.
As I reflect on this, I’m struck by the absolute simplicity of this statement, but also the way it speaks volumes. This individual clearly understood that he was an integral part of the team, no matter what the role. If he did his job well, he contributed to the overall success of the team, engineer, scientist, astronauts etc. His job, although different in almost every way imaginable from his colleagues, still contributed to achieving the overall goal, that of putting a man on the moon.
Many high performing companies have discovered the value of servant leadership, which simply defined is serving others first. When leaders make this simple, but fundamental mind shift, the culture and the organization will follow as will bottom line results. Employees working under leaders who put their needs first, build self-confidence, make decisions more autonomously, have greater job satisfaction and engagement, and are more likely to practice this same style with their direct reports.
Healthcare has been in a tremendous period of change, mergers, acquisitions, leadership restructures, and new and improved strategic plans and priorities fill the time of most leaders. During this time of change, many leaders may wonder privately, does the mission of this organization still matter? Or is it only about the bottom line?