An interesting article in FierceHealthcare this week caught my eye. It summarizes a Wall Street Journal piece examining neuro-imaging that reveals why executives make bad decisions. Basically, it shows that deadlines can cause stress that limit thinking.
This probably isn’t a shocking find, but I got a chuckle out of the article’s recommendation – “To combat stress brought on by deadlines, companies should stimulate the creative parts of employees' brains when they're under pressure through meditation exercises.” I’m actually a fan of meditation, but at a time when executive performance is critical to hospital success, the only recommendation is meditation?!
I have a better idea. Let’s hire executives who naturally handle stressful situations better and are inherently better at critical thinking and creative problem solving. We are seeing a rapidly growing interest in executive assessment in healthcare. In other industries, it’s almost unheard of to place a senior executive without a deep dive into their behavioral competencies. A battery of online behavioral assessments and an interview with a senior executive assessor can provide invaluable insights. So, why are hospitals finally turning to this process?
- New Demands. Running a hospital has always been a complex and challenging task. Now though, these executives are dealing with change at an unprecedented pace – new technology, new payment methodologies, accountable care organizations, consolidation, complex physician relationship, etc.
- New Insights – With all that’s at stake and the pace of change, an underperforming executive can do serious damage that will take years to repair. If you have two candidates with impressive resumes and interview results, the differentiator will be invaluable insights into the candidates’ capacity to handle stress, think critically and strategically, stress tolerance, and ability to motivate and communicate a vision. You can’t assess these skills based on a resume, interview or reference checks. .
- The Importance of Development. Finally, once you’ve invested in choosing the best candidate, you still need them to grow and develop. No director, VP or C-suite executive is a finished product. They have weaknesses. A well-designed executive assessment process and report can be the basis of a developmental plan.
We are excited about the new demand for executive assessment in healthcare. More importantly, our clients are excited about the ability to approach leader selection and development with a new degree of objectivity and structure. I think this is a bit more valuable than teaching poorly performing executives to meditate.