Healthcare Executive Leadership

Healthcare executive leadership has gone global. As a result, a growing number of opportunities are becoming available for individuals whose career planning efforts have prepared them for the extraordinary challenges and the long-term rewards that an international assignment offers. However, the expectations are high when it comes to making Healthcare executive leadership placements into a foreign market, and a prospective executive must be fully prepared to meet those challenges head-on.

“Well done is better than well said!” is a quote from the New England Patriots’ Tom Brady (and Ben Franklin) and it summarizes the mindset of global investors and global operators as they recruit individuals to lead foreign or multinational business entities. In other words, a successful track record delivering superior financial and operational results will help your achieve your international leadership goals far better than merely words and potential. This is why personal global career planning pays off in the long-run.

We recently helped sponsor the “2007 Strategic Investing in Healthcare Forum.” This was an invitation only, one-day conference that brought together members of the Harvard Business School and the Argyle Executive Forum, plus 150 senior operating executives from public and private Healthcare firms, select private equity and hedge funds, prominent research fellows, and key senior advisors. And, as a result of these discussions, I now find myself thinking about ways that up-and-coming Healthcare executives can best prepare themselves to achieve their global career planning ambitions.

I should mention that over the course of this one day event, Healthcare leaders shared their focus and innovative approaches towards booming global markets, the financially-stretched domestic market, and the global demographic trends that will either clobber economies or empower businesses to solve complex issues. Speakers for the event included representatives from Apax Partners, GE Healthcare, GE Healthcare Financial Services, Bain Capital, Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, The Blackstone Group, CCMP Capital Advisors, Merrill Lynch, GTCR Golder Rauner, Ropes & Gray LLP, Bank of America, and Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

All of the speakers were extremely candid and informative. However, here are just two examples of the broad array of globally-focused topics that were discussed:

Buddy Gumina, a Partner at US Healthcare – Apax, discussed coverage, consumerism and convergence as it relates to managed care, healthcare services, provider transparency, interactive technology, preventative medicine and outsourced pharma. Apax has a thirty year track-record as a global private equity firm with a strong healthcare presence.

Joe Hogan, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, stated that the company’s basis for growth and the focus of its global-leading $17 billion business is to continue to drive innovation and world-class dominance across IT and diagnostics. The breadth of opportunities for GE Healthcare is tremendous as a result of the exploding second and third world markets where infrastructure and utilization are the focus for the design and development of full-scale digital hospitals.

Other speakers focused on the current strategies that healthcare investors and operators are pursuing as providers, payers, investors, patients and technology converge. And, through this convergence, I am fortunate to play an active role in finding the outstanding Healthcare executive leadership talent that international Healthcare organizations will require to achieve their aggressive business goals.

As a result of my ongoing involvement in the Healthcare leadership arena, I have three career planning suggestions that aspiring international executives would be wise to adopt as they strive to develop the knowledge and skills to lead a global Healthcare business.

  1. Use Coaches and Mentors. Tiger Woods has used multiple coaches over the years to help improve his game. Similarly, you need to identify two or three senior individuals who are interested in taking an active role in your executive leadership development. Whether as coaches or mentors, these individuals can provide you with invaluable insight and global career planning guidance. In addition, you can select your own informal mentors by watching Healthcare executive leaders who are currently successful in the roles you are striving to achieve. Study their successes and their mistakes. In completing more than 225 Healthcare retained searches, those who have achieved the greatest corporate success have aggressively pursued mentoring relationships throughout their career.
  2. Be Seen and Be Known. Financial investors and operators who are deploying tens and hundreds of millions of dollars in new capital are consistently looking to hedge their bets through the recruitment of experienced, well-referenced and well-known executives. Show a keen interest in your industry, in your businesses fundamentals, and in your opportunities and obstacles in order to deliver stellar results and develop relationships with influencers. Through your efforts and success you will find interest from those within your industry to invite you to speak, present or join an industry panel on key issues and trends. The value of your business success can lead you to exceptional personal contacts, which in turn can significantly improve future business opportunities. Your business acumen and success can take you to the door of a global Healthcare executive leadership opportunity. Having strong industry relationships can be what actually opens that door and allows you to enter.
  3. Do your Best Work Today. Without a doubt, ambition is required for the level of success you desire. However, focusing too early on your next opportunity can cause you to lose sight of your current business goals and responsibilities. This can negatively impact your trajectory. Outstanding performance is recognized and should always be your primary objective.

Establishing yourself as the winning executive for a global Healthcare executive leadership opportunity requires strong foundational skills, a successful track-record, solid relationships, keen industry insights, and much more. Global career planning presents new opportunities. Therefore, keep pushing yourself forward in your professional growth and remember, “Well done is better than well said.”

Paul Frankenberg is President, CEO, and Principal in Kraft Search Associates, a retained Executive Search Firm specializing in the recruitment of high-value Executive Leadership throughout the Healthcare Industry. Paul has completed more than 225 Senior Executive and Corporate search assignments during his 12-year career and is known for search process thoroughness, commitment to project success, focus on client business plan achievement and candidate retention rates that are among the highest in the industry. In 2007 Modern Healthcare magazine ranked Kraft Search Associates one of the nation’s Top 25 Healthcare Executive Search Firms. Paul is a frequent writer, guest speaker and panelist on leadership, executive development, entrepreneurship and recruiting industry topics.