Interim Executives: Easing A Community Hospital’s Transition
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.
An interim executive often brings to the role decades of experience, especially helpful when working to improve areas of operational, financial and clinical performance.
Kaye Marantette, Chief Nursing Officer for Geary Community Hospital, Junction City, Kansas, was Interim CNO for a few months before recently accepting the permanent position. During the prior four years, she served as Interim CNO or CNO at other CHC client hospitals. She shared, “There’s often lots of work to do, and I’m honored to call upon my experience to help.” Her tenured experience, advanced degrees (RN, BSN, MSN), and positive attitude bring value to each role.
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 in place. 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 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 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.
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.
CHC Consulting offers Hospital 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.
When hospitals also engage CHC Consulting for Permanent CEO Recruitment and/or Operational Assessment services in conjunction with Interim CEO services, the new CEO coming in will have an improvement plan in place that allows him or her to hit the ground running.