Consistently delivering excellent results against the business plan is an essential pillar for effective career management.

There will always be top performers, good performers, and then a group I prefer to call the marginals.  This is one of the immutable truths of business.  No amount of re-engineering of performance reviews, restructuring of educational curriculum and the way we teach, or the quality of an individual’s home life during the formative years will altar this truth one bit.

When the economy is good, there is more room for the top and good performers to grow.  The best of times will also absorb more of the marginal performers.

When I began my healthcare career in the mid-1970s, there were many more management jobs than there were top and good performers to fill them.  The industry was able to absorb virtually everyone who earned a graduate degree in healthcare management, including the bachelor’s prepared crime writer/investigative reporter that was hired to be a hospital public relations director.

Two things have changed this model and both fall under the category of free market forces.

  1. There has been an increase in the number of students seeking healthcare degrees, the number of schools offering this course of study and, finally, an influx of immigrants who are choosing healthcare management for a graduate degree.  For years, healthcare has been remarkably recession resistant and this is attracting some students into the field for no other reason than the promise of job stability.
  2. We have entered a new era where the economic rules and market structure of the past no longer apply.  Healthcare organizations, like other industries, are quickly learning that they can do more with fewer leaders.  We are nearing a tipping point in which the pace of change in the form of reform and deficit reduction will accelerate dramatically forcing an industry-wide transformation.

From a career management perspective, this means the healthcare executives who are in the top two categories will see more competition for the available jobs.  The marginals will find themselves in lower paying positions, forced into a career change, or periodically unemployed for longer periods of time.

Career brand management will take on new importance.  Today, it is a subject relegated to professional seminars and continuing education programs.  Tomorrow, it will be front and center – the top-of-mind-awareness category.

Healthcare executives – regardless of their level of competence and performance – should not wait for passage of the tipping point to begin making critical career management decisions regarding how they will manage their brand going forward.  At that point, it might be too late

© 2012 John Gregory Self

To invite John Self to be a speaker at your meeting or function, contact Kathleen Sullivan of The Sullivan Group in Houston.  John is an entertaining and informative speaker who talks about leadership, current events, and life’s wonderful ironies in a speech that is laced with humor and satisfying stories regarding the challenges we all face. He consistently receives high ratings for his presentations.