Thursday, August 6, 2009

What Do I Do All Day?

I’m periodically asked by younger health care leaders, including physicians, what I do all day

It may seem that handing them my job description would be a sufficient to answer their query. However, what they really want to know is what general areas do I focus on—how do I spend my time--and how that might be different today compared to my leadership schedule in the past.

I quickly respond by saying that the areas I concentrate on today are somewhat different than in the past, both in description and function. My work week can generally be divided into the following areas of responsibility and accountability:
Operationally-focused CEO Whereas CEOs of the past often relied totally on their COOs for day-to-day operational efficiencies and fiscal stabilities, today a successful CEO must be able to articulate, at least at a high level, what operations is doing, what improvement plans are in place and what future operations will look like quarter-to-quarter. Audiences ranging from the system board to bond raters and investors expect me to speak to these areas in a credible way, demonstrating a far greater depth of understanding than would have been expected in the past.
Creating a sound vision for the future There is no question that in the increasingly challenged health care industry, keeping people focused on a clear vision/direction for the system is key. This vision must be easily articulated and understood by Associates at all levels of the organization. Much of my time is spent with management and governance teams, discussing this very topic.
Understanding the “change” agenda Many CHRISTUS strategies and tactics have to do with maintaining the status quo while making it more efficient and effective. However, critical to our success are certain areas which must be radically changed. It is imperative that I spend as much time as possible on not only identifying these areas, but paving the way for change.
Teaching, coaching and mentoring future leaders Prior posts on my blog have been written on this key success factor. It will always be true where we are successful, we have the right leader and where we are not, we don’t! It is our job to make sure that those to which we give responsibility are sufficiently educated to lead effectively and accept accountability.
Balance “present” and “future” time and energy If the present does not work, there will be no future without substantial investment. The money we spent on Futures Task Force II will have been wasted if our cash flow cannot sustain current operations.
Creating the culture of the organization For us, that has been creating a culture of excellence built on the foundation of our mission, vision and values. This is done through constant focus on the 4 directions of our Journey to Excellence, connecting everything we do to them. Because no consultant or association can pluck a culture off the shelf and make it work, I must walk the culture walk and talk the culture talk each and every day.

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