Is Your Hospital’s CEO a Team Player?

I read a fantastic article by Haydn Bush from HH&N magazine the other day, entitled Can Hospital CEO’s Be Team Players?

He comes from the viewpoint that doctors in smaller practices have had to shift their role in recent years from one of oversight to one of team leading.  Here’s how Bush states the adjustment:

Physicians, Umbdenstock told me, have been moving from a role “as captain of the ship to leader of the team. It’s a very different orientation, from a hierarchical relationship to more of a leader, motivator and coordinator.” This month’s cover story explores that issue in depth, looking at how physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers and others are building collaborative teams to better serve patients. But as clinicians begin to embrace these new relationships, what about their counterparts in the C-suite? I applaud Bush and HH&N for bringing this issue up.  It’s something I’ve been talking about for a while now and I think it’s only becoming more important as time goes on.

In today’s economic environment, health care needs to start taking a page or two out of corporate America’s playbook.  Take a look at how Apple or other similarly successful companies handle their leadership and you’ll see the future of hospital administration.

In these companies, the CEOs that survive and thrive are totally team players.  They can’t succeed by looking down on drones sent out to do their bidding.  Instead, they need to be right there in the action, interacting with – and learning from – the skilled people they hire.

And another skill the top corporate CEOs possess (which a lot of hospital administrators still need to work on,) is knowing what they don’t know.  A Steve Jobs, for example, was really smart and talented.  But he was also smart enough to know that he didn’t know everything.  So he worked hard to surround himself with people who knew better.  And to go out and find the experts who could provide the knowledge he needed.

After all, it’s about the goal, right?  With all the changes affecting health care, there’s a whole new set of rules health care organizations need to play by.  And this trend toward teamwork internally and reliance on outsourced experts externally isn’t going to slow down any time soon.  A CEO who wants to succeed needs to adjust to leverage that fact, and they need to start now.

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