NCHL's Bold Award: An Urgent Call for Leadership Development Across Healthcare

“The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” 
- John Maxwell

Healthcare has many challenges, but one of the most fundamental is the need to find and develop leaders. Right now, there's a dearth of leadership in the industry, and the deficit is growing. It's time for us to pay it forward and invest in leadership development programs to attract the best and brightest talent we can find to serve our industry.

The National Center for Healthcare Leadership has done great work amplifying that urgent need among hospitals and health systems. In particular, NCHL's BOLD Award provides a platform for recognizing those healthcare organizations that are leading the field in developing the leaders we need to transform our system.

I'm very proud that Cielo Healthcare will be the presenting sponsor for the BOLD Award in the fall.

Leadership is critical in every industry, but it's a desperate priority for healthcare. John Maxwell, whom I quote above, says, "The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails." We have a lot of sail adjusting to do yet, as we navigate the very stormy waters of an industry undergoing unprecedented change.

The problem is that our leadership ranks are thinning even as our need grows. For at least a decade now, healthcare organizations have been under tremendous financial pressure, intensified by widespread M&A activity. When cuts are made, costs typically come from corporate structures and middle management ranks. I've seen many situations in which leaders are accountable for a hundred FTE's or more, even as their work has become more complex and the demands on them more stressful. Moreover, because of cutbacks and reduced organizational resources, those leaders are not always as prepared and supported as they need to be to succeed.

In such circumstances, how are we going to develop great leaders? Indeed, how are we going to attract talented people, especially on the clinical side of the business, to step into leadership roles?

Courageous and forward-thinking organizations recognize the need for leadership development and maintain their support for programs that attract and support leaders. Healthy organizations where the mission and vision is clear are able to encourage people to step up into leadership positions. People who feel engaged by their organizations also feel a responsibility to help others, rather than complain about problems or ignore them. Leadership starts with a compelling personal need to make things better.

Our industry attracts people committed to making a difference. They join to serve and we know the impact great leaders have. Healthcare organizations are all about people. Patient satisfaction, safety and quality scores are completely dependent on the talent and engagement of staff. All of that is predicated on leaders who inspire, direct and support their people. We'll lose that talent or waste it if we don't have strong leaders. After all, people don't leave organizations, they leave (or stay and give their all) based on their manager or leader. And that need for leadership is increasing.

I applaud the NCHL for bringing attention to this fact and for recognizing and celebrating hospitals and health systems that are growing and winning the right way—by attracting and developing leaders who can help solve the challenges of today and build a better future.



Rose Coker 7/8/2016 11:24:12 PM

7/8/2016 11:24:12 PM

I could not agree more! Creative minds must come together to solve a complex issue facing our health care systems.