It may surprise you to learn that research has shown that when a hospital President/CEO departs an organization (voluntarily or otherwise), four more senior executives will follow the CEO out the door within one year. And, together with these types of high-level departures, many other positions within the organization can also be at-risk.
Is your job at risk? Are you next?
Job security is important, and for some, something that’s taken for granted. We don’t mean to scare you but, when it comes to your job, your sense of security may be false at best. Leaders at all levels of an organization must be aware of the things within their control that help protect them in their jobs, as well as the external factors beyond their control that can put them in jeopardy.
While job performance is important, it’s also crucial that you carve out a place for yourself that, while supporting your CEOs efforts, helps you to stand apart from his/her decision-making and missteps. Protecting your job is important because once you reach a certain level in your organization, if the CEO departs, you may not be far behind.
Questions to consider as you reflect on your vulnerabilities and opportunities:
- Are your goals aligned with the organization’s strategic plan and vision for the future or are you solely focused on supporting the CEO?
- Do you hide in the background and let your CEO take credit for your contributions, or what do you do to make sure you receive proper recognition?
- Are you so joined at the hip with your CEO that others would assume that if he/she left, you wouldn’t be far behind? (Let’s hope not!)
Play it safe: Focus on measurable results
In the workplace, many hospital CEOs and senior executives have found that implementing their ideas is at least three times more difficult than developing strategy alone. Unfortunately, many senior executives and middle managers tend to blame others for their own mistakes rather than holding themselves accountable. It often appears as though Teflon® has replaced wool as the material of choice for some leaders’ wardrobes.
The lesson behind these observations is this: if you want to protect your job, you must find ways to achieve sustainable results and adopt a deliberate course of action that will support the attainment and maintenance of higher levels of performance. Great results won’t just happen because you want and need them. You need to take the bull by the horns and make things happen, or you’re exposing yourself and your organizations to dangerous, and often avoidable, risks.
Given the fact that effective C-level executives will never stop wanting metrics, measuring what matters gives you the chance to prove your effectiveness. Find ways to demonstrate a return on the investment in you and to be held accountable for your performance. You can’t expect others to treat you with equal value if you are not held to the same standards as everyone else. For example, your specific metrics may be different than those of the CFO, but every department leader must drive results.
A great way to accomplished this is by looking at the organization’s strategic goals and key business initiatives and finding ways to help the organization to achieve them. Take calculated risks and, if they don’t seem to be working out, course correct quickly. For example, be conservative in business planning and when estimating earnings or savings in specific terms. Look for ways that you can add value to the organization so that you can not only earn your seat, but keep it and improve it. Then celebrate your successes with your team.
Unfortunately, some well-intentioned leaders are their own worst enemies. In their attempts to be good team players, they are reluctant to assert themselves, do not protect their own self-interests, and may not acknowledge some of their own and team’s accomplishments. Then, they are surprised and frustrated when they are overlooked for promotions, raises, and requests for additional resources. This is a prime example of how having the right metrics in place can help to demonstrate our value and effectiveness to the organization. Why not let the facts speak for themselves and for you?