PHILADELPHIA – For hospital senior executives facing a tangled mess of financial challenges and competitive threats, there is an extraordinary opportunity for those who want to reshape their leadership style in a way that will allow their organizations not only to achieve exceptional clinical quality and patient safety performance but to also produce financial results that will support their community mission and provide for the wellcare of their communities for the foreseeable future.
As I traveled the east coast this week talking to some very concerned but energized hospital leaders, I came to realize that one of the best strategic ideas is staring us right in the face – Integrity Leadership. This is a “high road” strategy that is both strategically meaningful and cost effective.
To successfully implement this strategy, you do not have to build a new building, buy new equipment or hire a gaggle of new employees. Nor should you have to increase the beleaguered expense budget.
For this strategy to work, the CEO needs to do just one thing – begin each communications cycle – that is to say, each day – with a focus on three critical themes:
• Integrity is the heart and soul of the organization. From the CEO’s office to the backrooms of the basement. Without it, nothing else is sustainable, including the financial bottom line.
• Patient safety and quality of care are our most important duties.
• We are here to serve our communities. Some of us may have shareholders, but regardless of whether we are publicly owned or a not-for-profit community hospital, our interests can never exceed the needs of the patients or the communities we serve.
In hospital management, these three issues are forever linked. You cannot be a successful leader without making these three values your most important priorities.
Integrity has always been an important leadership characteristic in running hospitals. But what I am suggesting is that you move this from a leadership characteristic to a new level: that of a leadership strategy.
At JohnMarch we have crafted an IntegrityFirst leadership strategy that will contribute to enhanced quality of care, patient safety, and promote enormous public good will. It will boost your recruiting program and slash costly turnover.
The overarching theme of the JMP strategy is that CEOs, like successful political candidates, must begin each daily communications cycle with a focus on reinforcing their organization’s concentration on those three values, at all levels of the organization, from the recruitment function to the patient floors. There can be no mistaking the CEO’s commitment, passion and authenticity.
I will admit many CEOs say, “So what is new about this? I believe this.” The question then is “why are you not doing it?”
You can sit in your office and wait for feedback or you can join the legions of successful CEOs who practice Tom Peters’ MBWA – Management By Wandering Around. While employee satisfaction surveys are great tools to help you decide whether your messaging is on target, MBWA is much more meaningful. Talking to employees, allowing unfettered two-way communication regarding your beliefs, employee concerns and their frustrations, will make you a better values leader. Hospital employees are an important barometer for how you are doing. They know inconsistency, a lack of sincerity, and a value system that is based on a lack of accountability when they hear it or see it. MBWA allows you to get an unfiltered view of your most important asset – your employees.
A CEO showing up at 2 AM with coffee, juice, soft drinks, donuts and fruit for the staff, and it is not the first or last time for such a visit, says a lot about a CEO’s priorities and his or her passion and commitment.
And it says a lot about Integrity Leadership.
If you would like more information on how IntegrityFirst can help you improve recruiting, reduce costly turnover, and enrich the employment experience for your employees, call me. This is not a tough fix if you are willing to embrace this leadership style.