Becker’s Hospital Review | Embracing Change: Fostering Innovation in the C-Suite and Beyond

Michael O’Brien, Ed.D., O’Brien Group CEO

By Michael O’Brien, Ed.D., O’Brien Group CEO | For decades, the best executives were the specialists. Now, in the age of innovation, the ability to lead through disruption may be far more powerful.

In the C-suite, we often hone in on the middle letter, the “X” in CXO. It’s what sets one role apart from another, denotes the person who works on finance vs. the one in charge of marketing — no matter what the “X” stands for, what it really indicates is specialization. But in a healthcare environment where innovation and collaboration are driving game-changing decisions, the “C” and “O” in CXO — the letters the c-suite share — are perhaps more important.

Here’s why: CFOs, for example, are no longer seen as the ones who simply crunch the numbers of change. They’re now being asked to bring their own ideas for change to the table, and further, help implement those strategies across the organization. Now, far more than just the “F” of “financial,” CFOs (and all of the c-suite) have to exercise the “chief” and “officer” aspects of their positions to affect change throughout their organizations.

So what does this mean for health care leaders? Most importantly, it means that success at the executive level is no longer solely pinned to an individual’s skill in their given discipline. During this period of change, a proactive focus on improving skills around implementation and interdepartmental work will go a long way. More…