Recently in Leadership Effectiveness Category

In a July 27 feature, Business Week, published a profile of Honda's new CEO, Takanobu Ito. The spin in Honda's New CEO Is Also Chief Innovator by Reena Jana and Ian Rowley is an examination of the value and wisdom of appointing an "in the trenches" engineer (Ito is also Honda's Director of Research and Development) to the chief executive post, thereby combining the company's leadership accountability for innovation and business success. It struck me that health care organizations face similar questions when considering whether or not to place clinicians in top executive management positions. So read the article and think about the issues it raises...
The July 8, 2009 Wall Street Journal noted the passing of Robert S. McNamara (former Ford CEO, Secretary of Defense, and President of the World Bank) with From McNamara to Obama an opinion piece by Bret Stephens who comments on the dangers of too much rationalism - or more aptly - on the dangers of hubris. Not an insignificant pitfall for health care leaders to consider...
In health care, possibly more than other industries, we consider ourselves so expert that innovation is generally expected to come from within - and deep within at that. Can We Innovate Ourselves Out of Recession published July 1, 2009 in the Knowledge@Wharton column on Forbes. Com examines a different approach taken by industry. It describes the effective use of external innovation networks to generate solutions to technical problems in the non health care world. It occurred to me that health care leaders might want to consider how to harness fresh ideas from smart people outside our somewhat insular industry...
A few months ago, this blog commented on a short piece about the use of ethnography as a strategic tool (Try Ethnography for Health Care Strategy). The source article had been a short, theoretical, and perhaps even whimsical exploration of the use of anthropologists in developing business strategy. Well, along comes Business Week on June 24 with "How to Kick off an Innovation Project" by Jessie Scanlon which gets practical really fast in describing how Office Max used ethnography to do an image turnaround - complete with a "how to" guide. It struck me then, and now, that there are valuable pearls for health care leaders here...
I was reading two issues of the Harvard Business Review simultaneously (a hazard of being overly busy), so I rapidly became aware of complementary articles that appeared in successive months addressing the related issues of candor (What's Needed Next: A Culture of Candor by James O'Toole and Warren Bennis a full article in the June HBR) and transparency (Heed the Calls for Transparency by Sam Wilkin in the Forethought section of the July-August issue). The latter was just received by subscribers so the online link is not yet available so if you don't subscribe watch the HBR web site in the coming week for it. Both are essential business reading for health care leaders...
The monthly Harvard Business Review opens with Forethought - a section of short pieces that typically pack a lot of punch in a page or less each. I am always tempted to write about each of them but I'd have to blog daily to hit these in addition to everything else that's potentially relevant to health care leaders from the business press. But if you pick up the HBR, do read the short stuff. The shortest this month, and the most concentrated value per word for health care leaders, is provided in Ten Fatal Flaws That Derail Leaders by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman. It's a great list of "don'ts" that serves up way more impact than the few minutes of your reading time it takes...
Alaina Love may be stating obvious in her June 2 Business Week commentary Leading at the Speed of Thought when she says: "Never before have leaders experienced the scale and complexity of change that they face now" but she thankfully gives us something worth pausing over as she considers some of the leadership adjustments that need to be made simply for survival as a result...
The source for When Leaders "Waffle," Confidence Plummets is a little off the beaten path for this space, but Dr. Joseph Simone, one of my fellow Health Care Leadership Blog core contributors identified it and it's a great pick. Joe didn't have time to write - but had an itch about this piece and sent it along to me. So without having discussed it with him, I will take a stab at scratching for him...
From Moore's Law to Barrett's Rules, Michael Malone's May 16 op-ed piece on departing Intel CEO Craig Barrett in The Wall Street Journal is another one of those sketches of an iconic business leader that holds more universal messages. About to step down, Barrett led Intel as President (since 1998) and CEO (since 2005) in the years following the legendary founding leaders: Andy Grove (of "Only the Paranoid Survive" fame), Robert Noyce, and Gordon Moore (visionary of "Moore's Rule"). This pithy article describes Barrett's peripatetic style while codifying his managerial wisdom in a way that can be very useful to health care leaders...
As soon as I saw the title of the May 25 Business Week's cover story (How the Mighty Fall: A Primer on the Warning Signs) I knew I'd found my mark for today's post. I didn't even realize at the time that this was an excerpt from Jim Collins' (Good to Great and Built to Last) new book that turns his prior work literally upside down. As the title implies, it's the quick guide to how high performing companies lose their edge and end up in the toilet. And while it's about companies, it's also implicitly also about leaders. Perhaps even more about the leaders than the companies. And while it's not about health care, it's all about health care. Having worked for at least one of those "great to ashes" leaders myself, I can vouch for the soundness of the analysis and its relevance to health care leaders. Read the excerpt and when it is published, read the book...

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