I have the good fortune to travel the country (quite often) and to meet and work with some of the nation’s top doctors. As a group, these physicians and surgeons have much in common.
Individually and collectively, they are highly intelligent men and women who excel as healthcare providers. Although the marketing areas they serve are diverse, and their clinical specialties vary, they share a commitment to excellence in leadership, personal and professional growth, and to success in business.
Best Practice Leadership Habits…
There’s always something special about these individuals as leaders. They understand that marketing drives business, and that an exceptional business leads to richly rewarding success. What’s more, it takes leaders (who just happen to be busy doctors) to develop a rewarding, profitable, and people-based service business.
Over time, we’ve compiled a list of some of the leadership habits, tips and ideas that marketing-savvy physicians share. Please let me know what you would add to this list. Consider it a starting point, and by all means feel free to share these ideas with others in your organization.
Envision success daily. Take time each day (however long you need) to mentally picture your definition of success. Focus your daily tasks—large and small—on achieving these goals.
Share your vision. Communicate your values, your plans and your ideas within the organization. When your staff is engaged with, and understands, strategies and goals they can contribute to achieving the vision. Collective strength propels positive change and motivated growth.
Patients are first. Healthcare leaders know, understand and respect the consumer… the patient. It doesn’t matter much what the practice wants to do; what the patient needs, wants and can benefit from is what counts most. Success follows when leadership shapes an organization to meet and exceed the expectations of the customer. (Even when it isn’t easy to do.)
Managing people is the first management tool. Business success—especially in a service business—is driven by how people interact, communicate, and work toward common goals with the consumer/patient. Successful team leadership requires exceptional people skills.
Neither success nor failure in business is final. Growing a medical practice requires energy to sustain business achievements, guard against the competition, and to push past business setbacks.
Service and satisfaction is the new selling. Patient experience has become a critical test of success in healthcare delivery. Leaders create a culture of excellent clinical care and best possible outcomes in a patient-centered and service-excellence environment.
Leaders are out front, leading by example. Colleagues, staff members and even organizational cultures are shaped and motivated by clear role models they can emulate. Your success depends on the success of others. Recognize their contributions and help them grow.
Risk has its rewards. The familiarity of a “comfort zone” is often a barrier to personal, professional and financial growth. Leaders take well-considered risks to push the boundaries and reach new territory. That’s where new rewards are found.
Innovate or die. Increasing competition and near-constant change in the healthcare delivery system has become the new norm. And, like keeping current with advances in medical science are required for clinical excellence, the same is true for survival in the business of healthcare. Leaders find ways to differentiate. They look ahead, identify trends, adapt plans and innovate regularly.
Hire right. Finding and retaining the right people—the exceptional ones—is a challenging task. Leaders understand that, in many ways, people ARE the business. Organizations that are willing to sustain “adequate” or “acceptable” performance rarely, if ever, grow. For excellence that drives success, leaders are willing to “hire slow and fire fast.”
Please add to our list. No doubt there are hundreds of other vital and insightful tips, ideas and habits that are the hallmark of leadership. What do you have to share?
Kathy Roy Gaughran
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