New challenges facing healthcare boards
In the past, healthcare board members typically secured their positions through a combination of business clout, community prominence and stakeholder influence. Often these positions would be filled by local leaders or wealthy patrons who donated significant sums to healthcare organizations. As a result, they would often function as rubber stamps for C-suite decisions.
But in today's world — as we slowly emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic — healthcare organizations are looking for board members with the knowledge, skill and experience to address a wide range of challenges.
From cybersecurity and virtual care to patient experience, price transparency and data analytics, healthcare boards face a dual challenge — recruiting and retaining top board talent while easing out board members who no longer complement the organization's strategic objectives.
Strategy is the foundation of tomorrow's healthcare boards
Fulfilling strategic imperatives is neither fast nor simple. Today's complex healthcare landscape requires board members to shift their focus, adjust policy where needed, engineer new processes and reimagine image and identity.
The strategy must be clear. As a result, C-suite executives must ask a series of key questions in order to gain insight into board roles, responsibilities and functions in the months and years ahead.
Ask the right questions at every step
How will new healthcare board members add value to the organization? How will they identify new and emerging markets? How should they address tomorrow's trends and challenges? How can they help facilitate new collaborations and partnerships?
The answers aren't always easy, but asking the right questions is critical in shaping the most effective and successful healthcare boards of the future.
Tomorrow's high-performing boards will also leverage alternative sources of revenue and growth — making it more important than ever to engage with community leaders, business owners, employees and other stakeholders.
Identify the characteristics of successful healthcare boards
What does a successful healthcare board look like today? What will it look like in a year? Five years? A decade?
Insight-driven decision making
Insight-driven decision-making will be a key factor in determining successful outcomes.
Decisions about focus, purpose, vision and strategy will test tomorrow's healthcare board members. That's why each member must be evaluated based on more than knowledge and experience. Qualities like critical thinking, emotional intelligence and personal character will play an equal or even greater role in addressing and solving future challenges.
Operate with accountability, policies & processes
At their core, healthcare boards must continue to operate with accountabilities, policies and processes supported by education and training.
Periodic "deep dives" on issues like workplace transformation, risk management, DE&I and ESG will be important ways for members to stay up to date on the latest trends in the healthcare world.
Moving forward, healthcare boards should select members who can connect, communicate and collaborate with others with a strong sense of self.
Keeping an eye toward the best talent
The COVID-19 pandemic has completely transformed the healthcare landscape, meaning the strategic priorities for healthcare boards have changed. Just as mission and strategy are fundamental considerations for successful healthcare boards, a talent-centric approach is also vital to positive board development and decision-making.
Talent-centric healthcare boards are grounded in the belief that each member contributes a highly unique blend of knowledge, skill, experience, leadership style and personal background to their service.
The result is a more agile and resilient healthcare board as a whole — one flexible enough to respond to major crises like the pandemic or severe financial downturns.
Find healthcare board talent in unexpected places
Today's healthcare organizations may want to move closer to the corporate board model when it comes to finding the best mix of healthcare board members. Tomorrow's healthcare boards could benefit from the disruptive credibility of leaders in industries as varied as transportation, retail, entertainment, media, hospitality, consumer products and more.
This approach would ensure that innovation and forward thinking are always at the forefront of every decision — strategy first.
Connecting the dots to align goals and pursue strategy first
Successful healthcare boards connect the dots — and the same will be true going forward as we pivot away from pre-pandemic thinking. Board members will probe clinical, financial and operational decisions for their impact on all stakeholders.
They will also maintain a constant curiosity about what's happening and what's next. How does this decision align with our mission, vision, values and strategy? How can we transform smarter while staying true to ourselves?
From acquisitions and consolidations to digital transformation and system downsizing, healthcare boards face a range of difficult decisions that must be viewed through the critical lens of strategic goals. Only the right talent will be able to bring an inquiring eye to these complex and layered questions.
The future of healthcare boards starts now
Now is the time for healthcare boards to drive organizational strategy and invite experts with a different perspective.
Whether it's finance, operations or innovation, the most successful healthcare boards of tomorrow will be a complete package — well equipped to take on the most pressing challenges with a varied and diverse skill set, all while staying focused on the people and purpose behind it all. Read more about our Board & CEO Services and connect with us more.