I recently posted a blog about CEOs leading like COOs and it struck a nerve. It was the most opened and commented on of any blog I’ve written. As a follow up, in this article I will tell you about how CEO leadership is unique and what it looks like when done well.
I had the privilege this past week of attending Becker’s Hospital Review CEO Strategy Roundtable in Chicago, IL. Multiple panels of hospital and hospital system CEOs engaged in lively discussions about the threats and challenges in the current healthcare environment and also about their best advice for succeeding.
Thomas Royer, MD, Founding CEO and CEO Emeritus of CHRISTUS Health led a session titled: Successful Transformational Strategies for the New Healthcare Environment. One of the three transformational strategies he offered was, “Demand accountability for outcomes instead of measureless responsibility defined by a job description.” This, in a nutshell, is the definition of CEO leadership.
The demands on a CEO are such that her leadership must be different than that of leaders at other levels in the organization. In short, CEOs must be willing to act more quickly and decisively to make changes to the executive team when outcomes are not achieved than leaders might at other levels in the organization.
Successful CEO leadership focuses on:
- Recruiting and retaining high performing executive leaders
- Molding the individual leaders into a high performing team
- Working with the team and other stakeholders to define a vision and strategy
- In collaboration with the team, translating the strategy into prioritized outcomes defined by metrics and deadlines
- Holding team members individually and the executive team collectively accountable for achieving the outcomes
- Enforcing consequences if outcomes are not achieved
I am not saying that a CEO ought not make himself available to coach and support members of the executive team. But there must be absolute clarity that accountability for accomplishing outcomes with appropriate urgency rests with the team and its members. When team members fail to achieve results, the most successful CEOs address the issue directly and act decisively to make changes to the team when necessary in order to get the results required.
I welcome your experience and opinions related to my thoughts about CEO leadership. Thanks in advance for your input.