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Community Hospital Blog

Interim Executive
Executive Recruitment for Interim Management: Easing the Transition

by Laurie Breedlove, CHC SVP of Human Resources

 

Managing organizational change presents extraordinary challenges, particularly when the change involves replacing a chief executive officer following their departure. For smaller community hospitals in transition, interim leaders can help fill this gap. An interim executive may be someone close to retirement, a leader seeking a different work-life balance, or an experienced, skilled executive unable to relocate for a permanent role where travel is an option.

 

An interim can devote time and attention to their role alleviating work overloads on others, bring objectivity to a new assignment through an unbiased perspective, and bring experience, enthusiasm and optimism to the job. A leader with a desire to effect change and improve financial and clinical outcomes on a temporary, full-time basis can be a valuable change agent, positioning the hospital for success moving ahead and laying the groundwork for recruitment of a permanent CEO.

 

Gary Kendrick, for example, has been a hospital administrator since 1980. Through CHC, he has served as interim CEO for several CHC hospitals, filling a significant void until a permanent CEO has been identified.

 

"Each new hospital is an adventure,” Kendrick says. “The best part about being an interim executive is the opportunity to apply decades of experience as a hospital leader to help steer a hospital's future. There's often lots of work to do, so it's a job that requires rolling up your sleeves to do whatever may be needed. It's a privilege to engage the local hospital Board and work with CHC in several areas. Whether we’re working on improving operations or finances, recruiting a new physician or evaluating how care is delivered, these efforts often go the distance to improve the hospital. When I leave the community, I know they're in a better place."

 

Understanding how to select and prepare for an incoming interim – a CEO or another executive – will help ensure a smooth leadership transition. Here are some “must-have” tips to follow.

 

Finding the interim you need.

CHC has a long tradition of helping hospitals locate and place experienced interim executives to fill key leadership positions until permanent candidates are found. This support is invaluable to hospital Board members, who often have business careers in the community that are not healthcare related. CHC specializes in finding an interim executive with just the right combination of talent and skills to address an organization’s customized need. The result? The hospital benefits from a renewed sense of commitment with a new leader, along with the varied experience they bring to the table.

 

Support for an incoming interim.

Candidates should clearly understand the expectations of the role. The hospital Board should be engaged in clarifying the role of the CEO for an incoming interim; for other executives such as a CFO or CNO the hospital CEO should take the lead in communication. Hospital leaders and managers must perceive the interim as a part of their team ¬– not a “temporary” person.

 

Communicate regularly with key stakeholders.

Steady, ongoing communication between an interim executive and hospital managers is critical, including regular meetings with individual managers and monthly department manager meetings. When an interim executive is placed by CHC Consulting at a client hospital, CHC meets regularly with the interim to support and facilitate hospital operations and initiatives on an ongoing basis.

 

Although change can be challenging, following these ideas can help ease the transition as a new leader arrives. In the long run, the hospital and the community both benefit.

 

Learn more about CHC Consulting Management Services including the placement of interim CEOs and other executives, along with operational assessment services to identify opportunities for operational, clinical and financial improvement.

Tags: Executive Placement, Hospital Management, Hospital Staffing, Interim Executive, Staffing

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