Healthcare Leaders Must Focus on "B" Players

In a recent post on athenahealth's Leadership Forum, Nancy Koehn, PhD, a faculty member at Harvard Business School, reflects upon her recent trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and how it got her thinking about the company healthcare executives keep in and out of the office and how those interactions impact organizational performance.

In the post, she notes that many executives regularly interact with others of similar authority — CFOs, politicians, insurance executives, etc. Beyond that, they also likely interact most often with the strongest employees within their organization — "A players," who they plan to grow and develop. In addition, leaders are likely to focus significant effort on low performers, helping them to improve their performance or moving them out of the organization to another role that is a better fit for their abilities.

However, Dr. Koehn argues that this tendency to focus on the top and bottom performers means that average performers — "B players" in the organization — are rarely attended to. In her post, she cites a Harvard Business Review article by Tom DeLong and Vineeta Vijayaraghavan that argues the long-term performance of an organization is more dependent on "B players" than on "A players."

"Not only do the 'B players' counterbalance the stars' ambitions, they act as rudders for the organization, keeping it on track and day after day, getting the essential work done. Mentoring and nurturing 'B players' to ensure their consistent engagement and enrich their participation is one of the best investments leaders can make," she writes.

"The more turbulent and high-stakes the field of healthcare becomes, the more critical it is for leaders to create and sustain access to a wide range of people, circumstances and points of view. This means stepping back, intentionally mixing it up and not getting too comfortable with business (and bubbles) as usual," she adds.

More Articles on Healthcare Leadership:

What Healthcare Leaders Can Learn From Lincoln
Dealing With Resistance to Change Through Questions, Not Demands
How to Create a Culture of Innovation

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.

 

Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers