As we approach the end of the year, it is time to think about our resolutions for 2015.

In the past, most of us make these best effort pledges to become more physically fit, to be more responsive to our spouses or children, to be more organized — that sort of thing. The majority of healthcare executives I have talked with over the past several months admit that they rarely think about New Years resolutions specifically for their careers, those things we must improve on.

Untitled designThis time, this year, it should be different.

Healthcare reform is beginning to drive significant structural change that will dramatically affect our future. There will continue to be an increase in the C-suite turnover rate, from retirements to restructurings. For the retirees, God’s speed. For the rest of you, it is time to get serious about career management. No one is bullet proof.

Here are some resolutions you should consider:

  1. Expand your knowledge base. Hospital CEOs are looking for leaders with a deep knowledge of population health, risk (as in payment) management, management of care and related disciplines. Executives without a diverse base of knowledge and experience in those new disciplines are the most vulnerable to restructuring. This is the time to double down on professional development.
  2. Schedule time each week for professional network development through LinkedIn and professional associations. If you suddenly find yourself without a job, you will need a big network. Note: Focus on those people with whom you have mutual interests, which is to say that you can help one another. Building a robust network will support your professional development.
  3. Keep your LinkedIn and other professional profiles up to date. The other day I was searching for a specific executive for an interim assignment. I went to his ACHE profile and the last update was five years (and one job) ago. Another did not list an email or a telephone number. If you are trying to stand out with recruiters and potential employers, this is not the best way to go about it.
  4. Include a professional photo on your LinkedIn profile page. Research shows that candidates with a good, engaging photo are seven times more likely to attract the attention of a recruiter. Note 1: internal and external recruiters increasingly rely on LinkedIn to identify candidates. Note 2: no “selfies,” especially in your car; no pictures with your pets or family members, regardless of how proud you are, or how much you love them. This is now a critical aspect of your professional career brand management.
  5. Now more than ever, CEOs need and expect a leadership team that is passionately committed to advancing the performance bar. Every member of the team whether in operations or a staff role must nail it! Best effort with a smile and warm personality that worked for years, is not going to save you.

If you have not taken care of yourself physically, this is the day to turn a new page. CEOs are looking for executives and managers with intelligence, experience, and a proven record of quantifiable accomplishments who present well – meaning they project energy, stamina and the good health to do what it takes to improve the organization’s performance each and every day. If that is not the image you project, there is no better time to change all of that.

Change is upon us. This is transformational, not just a congressional tweak here and there that, in the end, won’t amount to much. Surprisingly, there are more than a few people who believe that this is not transformational. If you are in that group, you are in the minority.

This time it is different.