Leadership Lessons from SHSMD 2016

by Jason Skinner, Chief Marketing Officer - 10/27/16

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With shifting priorities, multiple stakeholders, and competing perspectives, today’s hospital executives need strong leadership skills as much as data analytics and digital marketing capabilities.

Leading change was a key theme running throughout this year’s SHSMD Conference. Here are some of the most poignant leadership lessons shared.

Confidence trumps competence.

Being comfortable in your own skin is one of the most important traits leaders can have—and leaders have to set the example of authenticity for their teams. 

In his keynote presentation on “Leading through Times of Change,” Chip Madera (aka The Leadership Lion) recognized the challenges of letting down your guard and reinforced its importance when he said, “Being yourself is one of the most courageous things you’ll ever do.”

To have confidence, Madera said leaders have to know who they are and what makes them significant—and help their teams come to the same realizations.

Strategy takes a back seat to culture.

Madera said great organizations focus significant attention on culture, which he described as a “behavioral control system” that guides what their teams will/won’t do and will/won’t say to their customers or colleagues.

In fact, Madera said a leader’s most significant role is Keeper of the Culture, as the organization’s culture only works when “those being monitored are aware that someone who matters is paying attention and will intervene if needed.”

Leaders set the tone.

“Leaders helps define and continually articulate a crystal clear vision and picture of the exceptional customer experience,” said Madera. This type of leadership avoids micromanagement and focuses more time and energy on creating an environment where customers come first.

“Leaders don’t manage people,” said Madera. “They manage experiences.”

Setting priorities is paramount.

Gundersen Health System Chief Business Development and Marketing Officer Pamela Maas illustrated this point during her presentation on Marketing Prioritization Alignment and Dashboard Reporting.

Maas offered six benefits of proactively working to align priorities with leadership:

  1. Engage your senior leaders.

  2. Identify and align on top organizational priorities.

  3. Increase internal awareness and support.

  4. Minimize confusion.

  5. Set the stage for strategic partnership.

  6. Demonstrate accountability and measurable impact.


"If you don't align priorities with leadership,” she said, “you're constantly dealing with the person who screams the loudest."

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