Leadership Skills Needed for a Successful Transformation — HIMSS
By J. Bryan Bennett
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 the leadership classes I teach for the School of Leadership and Business at Judson University, we study John Maxwell’s “21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.” Many of the laws apply, but I believe there are three that are most appropriate for healthcare stakeholders striving to be data-enabled organizations.
#4 – The Law of Navigation: Leaders who navigate control the direction in which they and their people travel. Leaders see the entire trip before leaving 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 they 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: 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. 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 for your team members by holding yourself to high standards and providing them with the tools they need to succeed.
#15 – The Law of Victory: Leaders find ways to win despite 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.
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 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.