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Evolving Healthcare Landscape Requires New Leadership Development Solutions

Friday, April 24, 2015

It’s no surprise that leadership in the healthcare industry is feeling the impact of the altering landscape, creating new leadership requirements. 

Healthcare Trends – 2015, a new white paper from B.E. Smith, a top healthcare executive search firm, reports that a particularly notable trend among healthcare providers is increasing turnover by C-level leaders. “Retirements, hospital M&A, and the pressures of change are all contributing factors,” explains the report. 

Every year B. E. Smith analyzes surveys of more than 300 healthcare executives, partners with AHA on a thorough environmental scan, and reflects on the most crucial trends expected to impact healthcare leaders now and in the future. In Healthcare Trends – 2015, authors Doug Smith and Christine Ricci discuss trends that are prevailing from recent years, showing their long-run persistence, as well as new issues that are surfacing and gaining momentum. 

For instance, Smith and Ricci explore the increasing rate of CEO turnover, stating that consequences can be far-reaching. To address the issue, healthcare organizations are training their sights on two interrelated initiatives: succession planning and development of emerging leaders. 


Succession planning in most healthcare organizations is overdue, the report contends, as 64 percent of executives in a 2014 B.E. Smith survey still report no succession program in place. Consequently, some hospitals are turning to outside advisors to help build customized programs. 

However, Healthcare Trends – 2015 explains that organizations need to do more than simply identify “next-inline” employees. Related to success planning is leadership development. “Strategic organizations are devoting attention to younger and emerging leaders, realizing the need to build a strong bench in the face of an aging workforce and a younger generation that may need new incentives to seek leadership roles,” write Smith and Ricci. 

According to B.E. Smith, recommended education and emerging-talent development efforts include: 

  • executive coaching and one-on-one real-time mentoring
  • leadership development programs tailored to an organization’s specific needs
  • regular competency assessment. 

In addition, Smith and Ricci suggest that using seasoned interim leaders can bring immediate stability at the top, as well as help groom a successor. Some other strategies: 

  • develop leadership skills that reflect the changing demands, such as clinical integration, care management, business intelligence, and purchaser relationships
  • adopt an increasingly community-wide or regional perspective to promote wellness and prevention strategies
  • build collaboration and teams that can operationalize strategic plans across aligned entities and induce significant change. 

To learn more, download Healthcare Trends – 2015

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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