Resilience – Questions And Answer (Part 1)

As a sequel to our last blog on Resilience: The 5 Keys to Becoming a Resilient Leader written by our CEO, Derek Morkel of HealthTechS3, we provide a 2-part Q&A series of informative insights from two of our exceptional interim executive leaders, on the true grit, perseverance and resilience they’ve had to demonstrate through their professional working careers as leaders.

Rodney Reider has a rich history of 25 years’ healthcare industry experience, having worked across various boards and with physicians, employees, and the community to strengthen core services to customers. As a strategic, enthusiastic, and accomplished leader he has mastered the ability to identify and draw upon team members’ strengths in order to optimize performance and face any challenges to reach a common goal.

Herb Dyer has a solid history as CEO of large healthcare organizations. He has extensive experience of having built trust with stakeholders, possessing a proven ability to identify and capitalize on opportunities to drive strong and sustained contributions to revenues, efficiency, and bottom-line results of leading healthcare organizations. Herb is a thought leader in the true sense, having written many inspiring blogs, some of which are interwoven with childhood lessons.

We were curious to understand from our interim leaders what their aspirations and goals were; whether they felt they had achieved them and if so what leadership traits they’ve had to utilize?

Rodney: “I always wanted to help people, having spent a lot of time in the local faith-based hospital and always being impressed with how professional, intelligent, and concerned the people in the ER were as I watched and benefited from their interactions. I entered my professional life, drawn to the industry with my desire to being a positive influencer in helping others grow, and as more responsibilities were offered to me, I enjoyed the idea of leading and having a positive impact on the further direction of the organization. Acknowledging I needed to learn much more to perform well, I begun engaging in all aspects of the organization; meeting and working with such wonderful and incredibly gifted, talented and intelligent individuals who willingly shared their knowledge and time, which assisted my growth tremendously.”

Herb: “From an early age I had great role models for leadership, including my father. I wanted to be a great man like he was, a fair and just leader who inspired others to do great things. My ultimate goal was to be an influential leader, who would improve the quality of life for others, and I am grateful that I have achieved that goal. I have had a successful career so far with progressive responsibility and ever-increasing profit and loss accountability. I learned a lot about how to lead by reading biographies of great leaders like Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela and consulting many mentors who were willing to nurture me in growing my skills. One of the greatest resources to any leader is their ability to recognize the need for change in its early stages and successfully lead others to achieve great things ahead of the curve.

In both cases, these leaders confirm at an early age they received first-hand account of impressionable leadership traits from a family member or intellectual and caring mentors working within a hospital environment. Clearly, these early insights spawned the positive desire for them to become influential leaders, yearning to help others grow and improve the quality of life for others. Beyond this, they accessed additional resources of renowned leaders against which to benchmark themselves. Herb Dyer confirmed there is no substitute for hard work as it allows you to better understand your environment, thus enabling you to easily see opportunities before others.

With leaders often being faced with challenges and failure, we asked our interim leaders how they best approached and dealt with these situations in order to move forward.

Rodney: “I always try to analyze the full picture and the possible ramifications of each of my decisions by assessing the facts as objectively as possible, becoming fully aware of all the emotional components, seeking out and listening closely to the experts on the team before we reach a final conclusion. Upon making the decision, I continuously attempt to overcommunicate the benefits of the decision to address the situation in the most fair-minded, straight forward and open communication possible. Setback or further challenge, we will persist in doing what is right and best for the organization and all involved.”

Herb: “What’s failure? To me it’s about not trying again. Sure I’ve had setbacks, who hasn’t? Navigating the wins and losses is more art than science.

“Planning has always been my cornerstone. While most plans don’t survive their implementation, the exercise of planning helps you identify all the potential ways things can go wrong so you can develop alternatives to reduce risk and deliver results. Doing a pre-mortem where you assume your efforts have failed and seek to understand what went wrong is one of the best tools I’ve found for being able to predict success.

”Another tool I’ve used is a customer management reporting. With feedback from sources inside and outside my team, I’ve never had to completely scrap a project, but I’ve come close and those experiences increased my resolve to find a way forward.”

It is evident that our leaders establish a clear pathway of planning and analyzing before implementing, being mindful that setbacks can very well occur. Identifying what might go wrong along the way provides our leaders with the opportunity to develop alternatives, which can reduce their risk and still enable them to deliver the results. Our leaders acknowledge that, when faced with challenging situations, it is critical to involve and listen to their team experts and, in so doing, can take the appropriate corrective action

We were interested to hear how these leaders kept themselves and their teams engaged in large scale initiatives (e.g. M&A, new construction, technology implementations, service line launch, etc.) through to completion, especially when such projects might have taken more time, money and resources than initially estimated,

Rodney: “The key here is making the large-scale initiative a priority by personal example which, as a leader includes taking personal accountability of attending scheduled meetings, arriving fully prepared with material read, and an acute awareness and focus on timelines, accountabilities and both short- and long-term goals. Irrespective of the nature of the large scale initiative you are involved with, the pressure on timelines, finances and personnel can be intense and sometimes force emotions to run high. The CEO must always maintain the demeanour of control, focus, spirit-raising positive attitude balanced with accountability and motivation to get it done on time and on budget for the betterment of the patient, physicians and all other caregivers.”

Herb: “I have led several large-scale capital projects with budgets from $8M – $300M and have been fortunate to bring all of them in on time and within budget. I could not have done that without first building a team of competent and collaborative people and paying attention to the details. People think leaders only focus on the big picture – they do, but they also have to know the details.

“I’ve always sought to build teams where we share common values such as being willing to do what it takes for success. One of the ways I’ve always motivated my team is to approach each project as if it is their last one. What is the legacy they want to leave behind? I’ve been fortunate that my team members recognize the value of leaving their mark on the world in positive ways.”

Our leaders truly lead by example — instilling and demonstrating within their teams the importance of accountability, preparedness, and focus on timeframes and goals. They acknowledge that while large-scale initiatives certainly come with their “trials and tribulations,” it is the role of the leader to maintain composure and control, while building teams that share common values, and motivating their teams to execute on their deliverables.

Look out for Part 2 of our up and coming Resilience – Q & A series where we will continue to share what our accomplished executives believe it takes to being a resilient leader!!

We invite you to tune in to our forthcoming 2019 Webinars where you will benefit from hearing first-hand, personal stories and receive practical tips from our leader panelists across various job disciplines:

Host: Jennifer LeMieux, Chief Operating Officer, HealthTechS3
Date and Time: February 20, 2019 at 12:00 pm CT
• Gigi Fergus, RN, BSN, BS, BA, MBA
• Debby Renner, RN, BSN, MS, PhD
• Christina Thomas, RN, MHA, FACHE

Host: Jennifer LeMieux, Chief Operating Officer, HealthTechS3
Date and Time: March 27, 2019 at 12:00 pm CT
• Herb Dyer, Former CEO with Ascension Healthcare
• Rodney Reiner, CEO with Saint Alphonsus Health System