What to Expect When You’re Expecting a New Healthcare CEO

By Andrew Chastain 

Andrew Chastain

Andrew Chastain

In recruiting healthcare CEOs today, there is usually serious consideration (and consternation) around the question of not just whom to hire, but what this person should do. There are so many things a healthcare CEO can do that organizations must set more realistic expectations about what she or he should do. This doesn’t mean compromising in whom to hire, but finding someone who understands his/her limitations and knows how to engage others for support and collaboration.

Search committees can start recruiting a new healthcare CEO by addressing the following two questions:

  • What is the CEO supposed to do in today’s industry?
  • What can he/she reasonably be expected to do given the broadening expectations of the position brought on by the momentous changes taking place within the industry?

I explore these questions in a recently published article in Executive Insight, appropriately titled, “What does a healthcare CEO do?” As to the first question – What is a CEO supposed to do? – I provide four recommendations:

  • Ensure quality.
  • Drive cultural development.
  • Oversee financial planning.
  • Develop structure to execute.

These aren’t the only key requirements, but in my mind they are the most critical today.

And the CEO can’t do it alone, it is important to remember. “Today’s health system CEO is less autonomous agent and more creative influencer than in the past,” I write. The CEO “cannot operate in a vacuum. The executive team must truly be a team and, in contrast to the past, the board-CEO relationship must be close and collaborative.”

I encourage you to read the article and welcome your feedback on the role of the healthcare CEO.

Guidebook: Building Better Healthcare Boards

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