The guide to effective leadership? David Lundquist from Spectrum Health Partners uncovers his acronym "T.P.A." for the answer

David Lundquist is the principal of Franklin, Tenn-based Spectrum Health Partners. 

Mr. Lundquist will serve on the panel "Big Tech in Healthcare: Exciting Opportunities and What Executives Should Be Afraid of" at Becker's 10th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Nov. 7-10 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speakers had to say.

Question: What is the smartest thing you've done in the last year to set your system up for success? 

David Lundquist: The smartest thing to set up the system is to fall back to basics. The pandemic has created a disruptive environment long needed by the industry. The wisest plan is for organizations to sit down and think about where they are in the market, so a strategic plan is a key factor here. There are different demands on the industry as we speak, different than before the pandemic and then different since the pandemic. We have to fall back, regroup, look at our basic market data, and I'm talking about it from an organizational perspective, and put together a plan that maximizes our ability to respond to the community's needs. While it sounds very much involved and takes a long time, this process is not so. It can be done productively, get to the real issues quickly, and then make a plan that makes sense.

I know that many organizations are suffering from interim staff, the outplacement type required to continue to operate. Leaders must step back, take a deep breath, reconnect with their market, create a process that allows feedback, and then develop a plan. So the most brilliant thing is to develop a strategic plan that guides the day-to-day operations. 

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous? 

DL: That industry disruption is the most exciting part that we face as the leaders in healthcare. Currently, we have a chance to redefine our market, what we do, and how we do it. In fact, the mandate is there for us to do that. However, what makes me the most nervous, it's what this disruption will affect. How do we manage it? What do we do going forward? 

Q: How are you thinking about growth and investments for the next year or two? 

DL: Well, it gets back to the strategic plan. Right now, we have an opportunity to redefine who we are. Now, in some cases, it just reinforces what we already do. In other cases, it will allow us to redefine what our market looks like, who we are serving, and what other partnerships are out there concerning complimenting what we do. It gets back to growth. Growth, at this time, is a strange topic because so many people are retreating now. But growth is the key to the deal. Reestablish strong relationships if they're not already there with physicians. As a hospital administrator and executive CEO, I firmly believe that, as the physician staff goes, so goes the hospital, then the healthcare. The bottom line will be much easier to manage if you care for quality and satisfaction. That said, you should invest in what your partners feel is important. You get close to them, listen to them, and craft a plan that meets their needs.

Q: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years?  

DL: Listen to your constituents. Gone are the days of the ivory tower. The CEO and the administrative process need to understand better the market they work in and the demands placed on them as an organization. You do that by listening more attentively to those you work with, including all levels of the organization. I will say that I learned many valuable pieces of information at three in the morning, talking to a housekeeper, then just looking at only the administrative process. It's getting in touch. It's listening more and responding. Now, if it's not directed and managed, this can be open chaos, but that's where true leadership comes in: to create the team of people you're looking at. The charge for the team is to develop the plan, and the plan is implemented with a sense of urgency and an attitude of let's get it done. My formula for that has been TPA; team, plan and attitude. That will get you wherever you need to be. 

Q: How are you building resilient and diverse teams? 

DL: I've understood diversity is more involved than before. We have diversity in two categories: skill and ethnicity. In skill, you need the feedback of all levels of the organization in a managed format. With ethnicity, you need to be represented by a diverse population. To build diversity, you need to form teams, regardless of ethnic background, over an issue that needs to be resolved. I can tell you, given my career, that naysayers say that the CEO needs to be a decision maker. I've learned that I know just enough to be dangerous, but I know the value of process and service delivery and that mixing that with the people doing the work is gold. You get better decisions done quicker that way.

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