“You cannot afford to be a good financial leader. You must be a great one,” Jim Collins, author of Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall, told healthcare finance professionals who attended ANI: The HFMA National Institute on Sunday. Jim Collins  

During turbulent times for the healthcare industry, with economic pressures and changes related to reform putting stress on hospitals and health systems of all sizes, the demands of the industry require strong leadership from healthcare finance professionals in particular, Collins says. 

Great enterprises rarely fail because of what happens to them; rather, they fail “because of what they did or didn’t do,” Collins says. 

Leaders who are most likely to succeed in difficult environments have three behaviors that set them apart from the rest:

    • Fanatic discipline (“A culture of discipline is not a business idea; it is a greatness idea,” Collins says.
    • Empirical creativity
    • "Productive paranoia” (someone who is highly attune to threats and changes in their environment, even during periods of great success)

Jim Collins KeynoteGreat leaders also possess the ability to focus on what their organizations consistently do well and what drives their organizations’ economic engines, Collins says. They also dedicate themselves to service for a greater good: “The X factor of great leadership is not personality, but humility,” he says. “It's humility combined with will.” And they have a high energy level that sustains them in times of prosperity and in times of great challenge, Collins says. 

One way healthcare finance leaders can protect their inner resources and the capabilities of their staff is by making certain that the right people are in the right positions in their organizations, Collins says.  

“You cannot afford to fill a single seat with someone you have to carry along,” Collins told ANI participants. To do so would drain the energy of both leaders and staff—and that’s something today’s healthcare finance professionals can no longer risk, he says.

Publication Date: Monday, June 17, 2013