8 CEOs share their best advice

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

The Corner Office series asks healthcare executives to answer seven questions about their life inside and outside the C-suite.

In each interview, executives share the piece of advice they remember most clearly. Here are answers collected by Becker's Hospital Review since September, in alphabetical order.

Justin Birmele, CEO, AdventHealth Winter Park (Fla.)

I'm always reminded of a quote a former executive and mentor shared. He said, 'If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, you go together.' I'm a team player, and I think that phrase says a lot about working with a team. Healthcare is forever evolving. We have to work outside of our silos to prepare for the next industry transformation.

Robert Garrett, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health (Edison, N.J.)

'Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.'

My wife sent me that quote, which is from Andy Stanley. I wish I had learned earlier in my career that being a good listener is key to being a leader. I think it's one of the most underrated skills of leadership. Usually when you think of leaders you think of people who are charismatic or dynamic, which is important, but curiosity and listening are equally, if not more important. 

Saju George, regional CEO, overseeing Ontario, Calif.-based Prime Healthcare's Michigan hospitals and medical groups

View all challenges as opportunities. I strongly believe after going through my journey that most lessons to be learned will come from opportunities we create and experiences we have. We face both positive and challenging situations, and these experiences will be the key in shaping and developing who we are as a person and as a leader.

Paul King, president and CEO, Stanford Children's Health and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford (Palo Alto, Calif.)

When I was a kid, and we lived in Nebraska, my mom used to always tell my brothers and me to take a jacket with us when we were walking to school. That advice has taken on broader meaning as I grew older, as I understood the wisdom she was trying to impart to us, of always being prepared for unforeseen circumstances. We would usually respond by telling mom that we would be fine, and that it was too warm for a jacket. Her response was then 'you can't put it on if you don’t have it with you.' It serves as a reminder to always be prepared.

R. Lawrence Moss, MD, president and CEO, Nemours Children's Health System (Jacksonville, Fla.)

'Never make a statement when you can ask a question.' There's a lot in that little statement. I think it says something about the importance of respect for others, the value of curiosity and open-mindedness and the power of humility. When I can stay in that mindset, I know I'm at my best.

Janice Nevin, MD, CEO, ChristianaCare (Wilmington, Del.)

I've had a lot of great advice over the course of my career, but as I was coming into the role of CEO, I had the opportunity to talk with some well-respected leaders inside and outside the industry. What I heard consistently, which is something I deeply believe in, is that as a leader you must be authentic and you must have courage.

Terry Shaw, president and CEO, AdventHealth (Altamonte Springs, Fla.)

Throughout my career, I have been blessed to work with many great leaders and mentors. A common theme among them has always been ensuring that everything we do is done with our mission of extending the healing ministry of Christ in mind. Knowing that our mission is the reason our organization exists has always resonated heavily with the leaders I have had the pleasure of learning from, and it continues to be the anchor point for me as CEO of our organization.

Also, one thing my dad instilled in me when I was young was, essentially, to never judge a book by its cover, to treat everyone with care and respect. This is something that always resonated with me throughout my life.

Paul Viviano, president and CEO, Children's Hospital Los Angeles  

Always seek the answer to the question, 'What are you going to do?'

This advice came from a former UCLA professor of mine, the great Paul Torrens, MD, who was and still is one of the foremost experts on healthcare policy and management. It comes down to this: You can think about things, you can know about things and you can talk about things, but at the end of the day what matters most is what you do to make a difference. Discussion and debate are important to any process and should never be rushed, but process should not keep you from moving forward with decisive action.

Our job as healthcare leaders is to do exactly that — decide how to allocate resources, which measures will help the most people, when to stay the course and when to change direction. That's one of the reasons that CHLA, over roughly three years, has been able to significantly expand our delivery system through a partnership with AltaMed, one of the largest federally qualified health centers in the country; develop a clinically integrated network of more than 200 neighborhood pediatric affiliates; establish partnerships with several LA County hospitals; and continue expansion of our neighborhood outpatient care centers. We determined it was important to meet families in their own communities and then took concrete steps to reach that goal. 

 

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