Leadership Skills Needed for a Successful Healthcare Transformation

Leadership Skills Needed for a Successful Healthcare Transformation

Category : Healthcare Leadership

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Exceptional leadership skills are necessary for a healthcare organization to navigate the transformation from a paper-based organization to one that is data-enabled. Without good leadership, the organization risks not realizing the benefits of the transformation or not being transformed at all.

Indeed, organizations are spending millions of dollars on just the EHR part of the data enablement transformation and could be putting their investment at risk without proper executive leadership.

In addition to my consulting work, I teach leadership classes as a professor for the School of Leadership and Business at Judson University, we study John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” book as students learn what it takes to be an effective leader in this world. Many of the laws apply, but I believe there are 3 that are most appropriate to this situation.

#4 – The Law of Navigation states that a leader who navigates, controls the direction in which they and their people travel. A leader sees the entire trip before they leave the dock and have a vision for how to get to their destination. They understand what it will take to get there, who they’ll need to take with them and recognize the obstacles long before they appear on the horizon. Good navigators draw on past experiences, listening to what others say and relying on fact and fiction (gut instinct) to make their decisions.

#14 – The Law of Buy-In states that people buy into the leader before they buy into the vision. People don’t follow causes (vision), they buy into the person. To accomplish this, leaders must have credibility with their team members. If you promised something to someone in the past and didn’t deliver, you may have a problem. To establish credibility you have to develop good relationships with your team members to acquire their trust. This can be accomplished by setting a good example to your team members by holding yourself to high standards and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.

#15 – The Law of Victory states that leaders find ways to win in spite of the situation. The best leaders rise to the challenge and do everything in their power to lead their team to victory. To apply this law requires a unified vision among the team members, a diversity of skills and a leader dedicated to victory and raising team members to their potential. You can have the unified vision and a team with diverse skills, but without the proper leader to pull it all together, you just have a diverse team with a vision. It’s kind of like have a speedboat without a rudder or a sports car without a steering wheel. Either option will get you nowhere (fast).

To be successful, executives are going to have to use all of their leadership skills to put their people in a winnable situation and to get them to willingly go over and beyond what they normally would contribute.

One of my favorite analogies that I have often shared with my close friends is that of a baseball centerfielder running into the wall to make the catch for his team. He realizes that he might hurt himself (and many have), but he believes that helping his team win the game is more important than his personal safety. I will ‘go to the wall’ for my friends and as a leader, your people may have to do the same for you someday. Good leadership will help them feel good about making that choice.


Bennett, B (2013, August 4). Big Data Needs Big Three to Succeed, [HIMSS Future Care blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.himssfuturecare.com/blog/big-data-needs-big-three-succeed

Bennett, B (2007, February 1) When a Pair of Twos Beats Four Aces, Biz Insights Newsletter. pp. 1-2. Insight Data Group, LLC.

Maxwell, J (2007) 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You. Thomas Nelson.

Moukheiber, Z (2013, July 11). Who Says Chief Information Officers Can’t Lose By Choosing Epic, Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/zinamoukheiber/2013/07/11/who-says-you-cant-lose-your-job-over-epic/

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