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ATD Blog

Developing Healthcare Leaders: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Thursday, June 14, 2018

While the nursing and physician shortage has been well-documented and widely discussed, there is a far more challenging aspect of healthcare talent management today: attaining a long pipeline of executive-ready talent equipped to lead amid a complex and chaotic healthcare industry. In fact, strong leadership is arguably the single most important driver of overall organizational performance, and well-constructed talent management and succession planning remain critical to developing a deep bench of strong leaders.

Facing unprecedented pressure to navigate new laws, regulations, care coordination, and payment models, fresh leadership styles need to be implemented to effectively lead and manage in the emerging paradigm. Healthcare organizations need to simultaneously address an impending shortage of leader-ready talent while developing the competencies and behaviors of existing leaders to match the requirements of an ever-evolving landscape.

Leadership Development Can No Longer Be Ignored

Healthcare organizations, like many, are slow to invest resources to identify and develop next-generation talent. Yet thriving, or at least surviving, in today’s environment requires organizations to leverage all of their institutional talent and aggressively address leadership development.


The most obvious place to leverage existing talent to fill future executive leadership vacancies is your director-level talent. However, according to XBInsight research, a significant gap exists between what director-level talent does well and what is needed to be a successful executive.

The Building Blocks for Readying Director-Level Talent

Understanding the skills gap between directors and executives is the first step in aligning development plans to the required behavioral competencies of executive roles. After collecting competency data on directors and executives in several healthcare industries (pharmaceutical, biotechnology, staffing, and hospitals), XBInsight conducted sophisticated analyses to uncover competencies where executives scored significantly higher than directors. These are the areas to focus on when readying directors for future executive leadership positions: leading courageously, communication, gaining buy-in, and inspiring others.

About the Author

Ryan Changcoco is the senior manager for ATD’s Management and Healthcare Communities of Practice. His primary responsibility is to partner with subject matter experts from all over the world to develop content in the areas of management development, leadership, and healthcare training and administration. Prior to working at ATD, Ryan served as a business consultant for several large healthcare organizations, including Blue Cross Blue Shield. His specialties include project management, healthcare administration, and management consulting. Ryan received a degree in public administration from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

About the Author

Gabriela Ammatuna is the global content & regional manager of ATD Global. Her goal is to expand innovative talent development best practices and brand awareness globally. In 2016 she joined ATD as the healthcare project manager, during which time she rapidly proliferated that industry community. She is trained in global talent development by the World Health Organization, the Pan-American Health Organization, and the World Bank, and she’s experienced in developing and implementing wellness, education, team member development, talent management, organizational development, and sustainable programs. Gabriela has worked in global corporations, administration, academic, government, nonprofit, and small business settings, contributing to corporate social responsibility programs and supporting philanthropy projects in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. She is a doctoral candidate.

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