Today, the average senior hospital executive does not spend much time, if any, with LinkedIn or anything that remotely resembles “social media.”  They see no upside.

That will all change over the next seven to 10 years as Baby Boomer leaders retire and the next generation of executives, the vast majority of whom have grown up in a digital age in which texting is the new voicemail and relationships are built and nurtured online at sites like LinkedIn and Facebook, take over. 

Digital career management skills are fast becoming an essential competency.  Baby Boomers who extend their careers will either master digital career management skills or face a more uncertain future.

Consider this: President Obama’s re-election campaign made skillful use of social media technology and strategies to target their supporters and the undecided voters who were likely to support the President.  It was ground breaking.  The GOP’s lackluster technology game cost them the White House.  The GOP will not make that mistake twice and the Democrats are already working on the next “new thing” in voter tracking and get out the vote programs.  The social media arms race, at least in politics, is off to the races. 

The point is that companies, political parties, charitable organizations and others will accelerate new developments in the use of digital strategies and technology in other aspects of our lives.

In an evolving new healthcare economy, with lower rates of reimbursement and intensifying competition for patients as well as top performing employees, it is a foregone conclusion that these advances in how we use digital tools will lead to more innovative, targeted marketing, improved employee recruitment and retention programs and personal career management.  In five years, an aspiring healthcare manager who wants to be upwardly mobile and who does not have an effective career brand in the sphere of social media will, sooner than later, run into a career limiting wall. 

Executives will have to spend more time managing their career brand as well as delivering exceptional results.  Search firms and corporate recruiters are already moving aggressively to LinkedIn and other sites to identify and track the best candidates — those who have a solid brand and a reputation for superior performance. 

You cannot succeed with one and not the other. 

© 2012 John Gregory Self