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Physicians, APs: What’s the Leadership Team’s Vision for the Future?

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In our last post, we asked the question, “How long has the CEO been at the healthcare organization?” Being hired by an organization where the CEO has been there for years, if not decades, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if that leader is not committed to the status quo.

We gave the example of Doug McMillan, who has been CEO of West Park Hospital (WPH) in Cody, Wyo., for over 18 years. I interviewed McMillan a little over a year ago for Healthcare Executive Exchange Magazine.

Eight years into McMillan’s tenure, he was able to implement the organization’s first facility master plan in its history. Because he wasn’t new to his position at the time, he benefited from the perspective of hindsight.

Prior to the facility master plan, the hospital had been updating its facilities under state grants, but its building was still 40 years old.

The stark assessment facing WPH’s leadership team was that the hospital simply wasn’t prepared for the future. He said one of the first questions he and his team asked was, “What will the hospital need to be in the next 20 to 30 years, especially when more growth is being projected?”

WPH has been managed by Quorum Health Resources (QHR) since 1987. By bringing in the American Health Facilities Department (AHFD), a subsidiary of QHR, the facility master plan was drawn up in collaboration with board members, managers, physicians, and administration. AHFD spent a great deal of time gathering data from each department, and in 2006, the board of directors approved the facility master plan.

McMillan may very well be an exception when it comes to longstanding CEOs. Maybe your experience with leaders who have been in a position for a while is a lack of willingness to change. During the job interview, be sure then to inquire with leaders about the future.

Notice that McMillan and his team weren’t looking three to five years down the road, but rather 20 to 30 years ahead. Whether you’re being hired by an organization that has new management or old management, the question you need to ask them is, “What does the future hold for this hospital/practice? How would you describe your vision for the hospital 10 years from now?”

Their answer will tell you a great deal about how they think and lead, and it will indicate to them that you’re interested in being part of that organization’s vision.

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