Leadership Competencies: Striving for Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a crucial element of leadership success. History is full of great leaders who understood their limitations and played to their strengths. It’s also littered with fallen heroes who overlooked their tragic flaws.

Many high-ranking executives today are lacking in self-awareness, notes Richard Metheny, head of Witt/Kieffer’s Solutions for Exceptional Leadership practice. This isn’t entirely their fault, however. Frequently, he says, the higher a leader rises in an organization, the less constructive feedback…



Diverse Leadership in Higher Education: Time to Get (More) Serious

Most institutions of higher education today are “very serious” about developing diversity among their top administrators, believes Witt/Kieffer senior partner Oliver Tomlin. That’s a vast improvement from the past, he says. But it doesn’t mean that schools and search committees still can’t learn a thing or two about developing diverse leadership—a recent American Council on Education (ACE) survey noted that minority representation among higher ed leadership has…



What’s the Value of Health IT? The CIO Has the Answer

By Nick Giannas, Senior Associate, Witt/Kieffer

As part of National Health IT Week (this week, Sept. 16 to 20), HIMSS is encouraging professionals and observers in the field to blog about the following question: What’s the value of health IT?

In a way, it’s a trick question. There is obvious value. Or rather, IT is invaluable in that it affects all areas across the continuum of healthcare;…



Can Hospital CEOs Find (and Redefine) Success in Centralized Health Systems?

Careerwise, it’s been a challenging few years for just about everyone in healthcare. Professionals have had to reestablish their footing in an era of government reform and shifting paradigms.

Count hospital CEOs among those being challenged, too. As a wave of consolidation washes over the industry, chief executives from what were previously standalone hospitals, clinics, and health centers now find themselves incorporated and integrated into large, centralized health systems. Often, these hospital CEOs are presented with dramatically different or even…



Health Plan Leadership: Executives with Private and Public Experience Wanted

After years of consolidation amongst private commercial health plans, large insurers like Aetna and WellPoint recently shifted their gaze toward the public realm. With Medicare and Medicaid expansion impending and millions more people gaining health insurance, private insurers have targeted federal health programs and managed-care businesses with significant Medicare and Medicaid components.

The mergers and acquisitions have blurred the lines between what were previously very distinct worlds, creating leadership challenges for both public and private health plans, says

In Healthcare, Is There a Link between Good Talent Management and ROI?

Although today’s healthcare organizations have well-developed talent management practices, few have an in-depth understanding of the return on investment these practices provide. To better gauge this ROI, Witt/Kieffer has supported the work of Pepperdine University professor Kevin Groves, Ph.D., who recently conducted a comprehensive survey of senior HR officers and other industry executives in charge of talent management within their organizations.

Dr. Groves’ work explores and draws conclusions regarding several critical issues:

  • There is a strong connection between good talent management…


Higher Education Recruitment: The Proactive Approach to Hiring a President

The recent spate of high-profile dismissals of college and university presidents indicates a fundamental disconnect between higher education leaders and their boards. In many cases, the issues creating friction could have been vetted and resolved when the president was first brought on board, believes John Thornburgh, co-leader of our Higher Education practice.

Much of the guesswork can be taken out of presidential selection and higher education recruitment by making both qualitative and quantitative improvements…



How to Retain Good Talent? Make the Grass Greener in Your Organization

Even in a job market that favors the employer, it can be incredibly difficult for organizations to retain good people, especially mid-level executives. Career-minded professionals move around more than in the past and see value in exposing themselves to different challenges and working cultures.

Is it worth even trying to keep good mid-level talent in such an environment? David Boggs, practice leader of WK Advisors—a Witt/Kieffer division that…



Who Will Fill Your Shoes? Best Practices for Hiring a Successor

Any conscientious executive knows the value in naming and developing a successor. Given enough time and mentoring, your understudy can learn the ropes, gain critical experience and, when the time is right, take over your responsibilities in what is hopefully a seamless transition. Such leadership succession planning is good for the organization, not to mention the fact that it reflects well upon your own legacy.

David Boggs, practice leader of

Who Will Lead Health Conversion Foundations?

Guest post by Marvene M. Eastham, Witt/Kieffer Senior Vice President

As nonprofit hospitals and health systems struggle to maintain access to capital to reinvest in their organizations, they may turn to acquisition by for-profit healthcare organizations. In theory it is a win-win: the for-profit expands its reach and gains access to a larger market share, which is attractive to shareholders, while the former nonprofit pays debts and has ready access to capital in…