Battling Hospital CEO Turnover…Part 2
Now that we have an idea of the current trends facing healthcare CEOs, let’s take a look at some strategies for up-and-coming executives. Some of the most intriguing new hospital CEO candidates are emerging from the venture capital, private equity industry, finance and accounting, banking, technology, marketing and sales, not-for-profits, and pharma/biotech. Does this mean that Healthcare Administration degrees are no longer valued? Not necessarily.
First, relevant outside thinking makes a valuable contribution, enhancing business vitality, longevity, and sustainability. If you are a current employee within a hospital system, do not develop tunnel vision. Do not be afraid to pull experience from other fields to apply within the healthcare industry. Staying contemporary, revitalizing your brand, enhancing products, and expanding into new markets are all critical to making you more competitive.
In an exclusive interview with FierceHealthcare prior to his presentation at the American College of Healthcare Executives Congress, a young CEO was asked for advice that he could relay to future Hospital CEOs. First, Nicholas Tejeda, current CEO of Doctors’ Hospital of Manteca, CA related a compelling story from his first supervisor position, when a lab director said that he’d quit before reporting to Tejeda, Tejeda told the lab director, “I can work the rest of my life and not be as experienced as you and I will never be as good a lab director as you. My job is to identify how we measure your success, hold you accountable to that success, listen when you need resources, and, most importantly, to get you those resources.” This is a good example of the importance of managing communication and expectations about the reporting structure before you begin.
To help young CEOs–or those who may be new to the healthcare industry–learn from his experience, Tejeda offers four pieces of advice:
1. Communication matters: Appearances do count, he said, which means you can’t dress and act young. “You can’t have spikey hair when you are young leader. Don’t act like a kid. It’s the message that matters.”
2. Respect the past: Young CEOs need to learn from the past and integrate those lessons into future decisions, he said. “Often people want to dismiss the past and forget the shoulders they are standing on. Ask about the past but don’t lose sight of the fact that you are supposed to translate those decisions to the future journey,” Tejeda said.
3. But look to the future: “If people see you are doing things that benefit the organization in the long term, it will go a long way and they will begin to trust your decision-making and your willingness to work,” he said. “Don’t just do short-sighted things, like yelling, firing or making immediate cost-saving opportunities.”
4. Express curiosity: To overcome negative assumptions that staff will make about you as a young leader, take advantage of some expectations that work in your favor. For example, many staff think of young leaders as full of energy and eager to prove themselves. “If they expect it, allow it to be a tool and allow more experienced employees to implement what they want to do if it makes good business sense,” he said. Once staff see that you will take action and get organizational support for their projects, Tejeda said, even the youngest leader can quickly develop credibility and gain employees’ trust.
Other important characteristics of aspiring CEOs include emotional intelligence, communication skills, knowledge of game theory and industry history, as well as experience in organizational development and team building. Please read this article for more information regarding these topics.