To succeed as a healthcare executive, learning the fundamentals of management — how to analyze an operation, understand financials, oversee a marketing campaign, and more — is critical. But helping to guide an organization is more than a string of tasks. Success also requires leadership, and the industry, in the midst of great changes, puts heavy demands on those in front.
One of the demands, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, is the increased percentage of millennials in the workforce.
While generational differences don’t connote variance in work ethic or drive, younger professionals tend to have different values and priorities than their more seasoned counterparts. For instance, millennials who observed dedicated, successful baby boomer executives make their career the focus of their lives have generally resolved to develop greater work-life balance earlier in their careers. They also desire work environments characterized by collaboration and teamwork, not the traditional top-down system of management. Further, they expect regular and meaningful communication with their leaders, according to Pam Sime, managing director and leader of the HR Consulting and Interim Leadership practices of Integrated Healthcare Strategies, a division of Gallagher Benefit Services.
Sime suggests that the traditional hierarchical command-and-control approach to running an organization is already changing. For example, organizations are adopting forms of matrix management, in which workers may report to more than one person. To be prepared for a new era of healthcare, leaders need to develop four key capabilities.
Under command-and-control structures, executives focused on simple metrics like patient volume to gauge the effectiveness of their organizations. Today when such factors as patient satisfaction and worker engagement have become more important, communicating with employees and patients has become critical. Executives must work at continuous feedback and recognition to drive the changes necessary.
Healthcare organizations increasingly hire experts in specific areas, like clinical practice, patient experience, and diversity. Unfortunately, bringing in expertise does no good if top executives don’t provide the experts with the support they need to achieve their goals.
Relying on an IT organization is insufficient for leaders when technology imbues and enables virtually every operational and strategic aspect. Mobile, big data, and cloud computing have changed the nature of how any business works.
Comfort with risk
Because healthcare is changing so quickly, staying still is not a viable option for any organization. And yet, any change brings with it risk. Executives must learn to balance the need for change with managing the ensuing risk.
Are you interested in finding a rewarding and lucrative healthcare career that fits your individual strengths and interests? Find out how education can help you adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. American Sentinel University is an innovative, accredited provider of healthcare management degrees, including an MBA Healthcare and Master of Science Business Intelligence and Analytics.