A former CEO applies up-to-date management techniques to modern health care.
Cochran (The Doctor Crisis, 2014) was the executive director and CEO of the Permanente Federation from 2007 to 2015. Prior to that, he worked in plastic and reconstructive surgery for 25-plus years and was a Kaiser Permanente board president for the Colorado region. Concerned with physician burnout and the urgent need to adjust care to respond to the information age, he has produced a straightforward, thorough guide to leadership skills and styles. “We need to make health care a learning industry,” he insists, and for medical professionals, that learning must start with the self. “Knowing yourself is very powerful,” he writes, especially because it allows for effective working with people of different social styles. Communication is one of the book’s major themes, with an emphasis on achieving the right tone and an encouragement to rehearse one’s delivery beforehand. Cochran also pinpoints five C’s of leadership: clarity, consistency, collaboration, compassion, and courage. Senior leaders, in particular, need “awareness, humility, and courage,” he asserts. This might all seem daunting, but the author offers a reassurance: “Leaders do not have to go it alone” because they have supportive teams behind them. There are practical tips here for dealing with difficult crowds, developing performance evaluation plans, and getting the most out of feedback and mentoring. Helpfully, Cochran also gives examples from his own professional life, such as how he prepared his staff for the move to a new IT system. In places the volume’s language can seem somewhat jargon-y, like part of the definition of effective leadership: “Persisting in this iterative process to develop shared context and mutual learning.” The repeated use of the adjective “longitudinal” to refer to communication and leadership may be slightly confusing for the uninitiated. A work of half this length might prove more useful for frequent reference. But the content is usefully recapped via “key points” (take-home messages), “voltage drops” (potential pitfalls), and “wicked questions,” which are set apart in text boxes and designated by three different icons.
Valuable advice for rising leaders in the medical field.