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Hospital CEOs, more than virtually any other community business leader, can make such a meaningful difference for their communities.

As a healthcare leader that thought should excite and motivate you.

And now you know why I am so passionate about what I do in life — help my clients find those special leaders who can do more than just operate a hospital.  Those executives who aspire to do more for their organizations than to just survive on a month-to-month basis.

Executives who succeed in this context are those who understand that being a  good healthcare leader is more about  effectively serving their friends and neighbors and less about burnishing their egos with the size of their salaries or the “largeness” of their annual bonuses.  This is about serving people, supporting your team and meeting the needs of your community.

As I wrote in the blog on Tuesday, when people look at you, what do they see?  A good leader or a self-serving, finances first and foremost motivated executive who measures success by the money.

To build a legacy of service, to be a servant leader,  you must put your employees first.  As founder of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher once said:  “First you take care of your people.  They will take care of your customers and your customers will take care of your investors.”

If you are a community hospital CEO, you can make a meaningful difference.  You can build a legacy.  That is an important opportunity and a sacred trust.  We do not need more hospital CEOs who do not understand that principle.  The lives of patients and their safety depend on how you respond.

Today I looked at numerous resumes and called more than a dozen of potential candidates.  Here are some observations you need to take into consideration as you update your resume, or position yourself for a job search.

The market has grown increasingly competitive.  Employers in some fields have more choices of candidates than ever before.  They are all more interested in a potential hire’s record of accomplishment than their history of employment.  Oh, the employment timeline and progression is important, but the decision to extend an offer is going to be driven by a candidate’s ability to communicate their value — what they can do that will benefit the employer.

Because there is increasing competition, candidates must get with the system in this hyper-competitive market.  You have to differentiate yourself to recruiters and potential employers.  Here are some startling deficiencies that are very commonplace in the realm of career management:

First, cell phone voice mail answering messages are not personalized.  The majority of the time we hear that  the person with “X” telephone number is not available.  Please leave a message.  Really?  Recruiters hate that.  If you are in the job market, act like it.  Record a warm, inviting, engaging greeting.

Second, a significant number of executives either do not understand or care about LinkedIn. Many do not have photos.  Ok, I get it — LinkedIn is not the be-all,  end-all  solution for finding a new job, but it is an important brand-enhancement platform.  Use it to your advantage.  You want recruiters to know who you are so create a profile that has a wonderful, engaging personality-focused photo, and information that is current with your scope of responsibility and includes verifiable accomplishments.

Third, connect with industry contacts in organizations you admire and might like to work for in the future, as well as industry thought leaders, colleagues and peers.  Then engage them with messages on their birthdays, work anniversaries, and when they post something that adds value.

This is all about building your brand as a considerate thought leader.

Conversely, if your profile is comprised of your name and not much else and you think that does not matter,  you are wrong.  What you are really saying is that you are uninformed about today’s job market.

If you are a leader in the healthcare world — as a CEO or senior executive in a provider-based organization — then not being up to date on the evolution of policy and the reimbursement climate is unacceptable.  That said, not only do you have to know, but you MUST be able to articulate these developments and their potential impact on your organization to your employees, physicians, board members and community stakeholders.

Sitting in your office, relying on email is not only a lame approach, but does damage to your brand as an effective leader.

There is a difference between being up to date, and your ability to deliver a compelling message to your stakeholders as to what they should support at the hospital.  To be an effective CEO you must be able to articulate a vision and a way forward, even in the most challenging of times.    I do a lot of recruiting for mid-size and rural community hospitals.  Over the last 20+ years of working in these markets, you might be surprised at how many CEOs have gotten into trouble with their boards, and how many who have lost their jobs, because they lacked the basic communications skills to sell their message.  So many did not think this was that important.

We are entering some of the most challenging times in the complex world of healthcare services.  We need leaders who excel in the world of communicating ideas and generating passion.

Remember, as a hospital CEO, you have one of the most important jobs in the community.  Do not take it for granted.