Healthcare News & Insights

The habits of highly effective hospital execs

The best hospital execs are always on the lookout for ways to improve their management style. The good news: you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are several time-tested strategies at your disposal from Dr. Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People that have proven successful in a variety of industries.

If you haven’t applied Dr. Covey’s principles to hospital management, there’s no time like the present.

Here’s how implementing just a few of his habits can make a big difference at your hospital:

Be Proactive

As you know, it’s easier to prevent problems from happening than to solve them after they occur. That’s why the most successful hospital executives take the initiative to stop problems in their tracks, instead of letting problems determine their course of action.

For example, no competent chief information officer (CIO) at any hospital would rely solely on the complaints of users to drive IT-related decisions. Instead, they listen to feedback and base their decisions on concrete data, like patient flow and government regulations, as to what’s best for the hospital’s IT infrastructure.

That’s why having a complete knowledge about how their hospital works, and honestly evaluating its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, is the best approach to solving any issues that may arise.

Begin With the End in Mind

To formulate effective management strategies, healthcare executives need to define clear goals.

Consider what the hospital needs to accomplish. Then create a plan for your hospital’s long-term success by assessing changes that may happen down the line as a result of healthcare reform or the economic climate.

In order to figure out if your  hospital can stay viable over time while responding to these challenges, start by looking at your hospital’s mission statement. Then clarify the roles each department has in fulfilling your hospital’s mission, as well as the relationships the various departments need to have with each other.

It’s important to focus on the hospital as a whole, and define how each department can help the hospital achieve broader objectives, such as improved clinical quality or reduced readmissions, rather than placing too much effort into setting narrow, department-specific goals.

Think Win-Win

In general, hospital execs should strive for mutually beneficial solutions and agreements among departments or with business partners.

It’s often tempting to go for short-term “wins” at the expense of another department, but it’s usually best to think about the long-term effects your decisions will have on the hospital as a whole.

To cultivate a win-win atmosphere in your hospital, start with the belief that everyone in your organization, from the bottom up, wants to do the best job possible. Then think of how you can ensure that happens.

If you can clearly identify the barriers staffers have to doing their best work, you can create an atmosphere where patients receive better quality care.


These principles may seem simple at first glance, but remember they have far-reaching positive implications for your hospital.

For more insight as to how using Covey’s principles can help transform your role as a hospital executive, click here.

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