Healthcare is uniquely destined for growth, largely because of the increasing demands of an aging population. In this field bursting with highly trained professionals driven by a passion for serving others, we as healthcare leaders are well positioned to cultivate an environment where high-performing employees can achieve their potential.
Unfortunately, we are not well positioned to face the risk of losing continuity. Most healthcare C-suites are occupied by baby boomers who will soon exit the workforce. The impending transitions, adding to the effects of system consolidations and market demands for leadership talent, call for a concerted effort to prepare the next generation of leaders. There are significant benefits to promoting from within, yet formal succession plans are hard to build and even harder to embed in an organization’s culture.
The planning and attention required to develop the next generation is not a static process. The work is hard and ongoing. However, the return on the human investment in succession planning can be substantial for an organization, its senior executives, and its emerging leaders. Preparing the next generation should be an imperative for all senior leaders. An effective approach involves a defined plan, development tools, alignment with a leadership competency framework, and attention to diversity and inclusion. Handled effectively, early careerists who are taught the skills needed to succeed as leaders will be able to help guide their organizations and healthcare in general when called on to make a difference. There is great potential to be realized in developing future leaders internally, and we as today’s leaders must start that work now.