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Leadership Requires Top Bench Strength

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2011

We're facing an impending leadership chasm in healthcare.

Why? For starters, the impact the baby boom generation is expected to have on demand for healthcare services isn't limited to artificial knees and hips. In fact, it means a large percentage of current senior leaders in healthcare have begun to retire, and that trend will only pick up steam in the coming decade or so.

So what do you do?

Luckily for you, we tackled that problem right here in Nashville in a Roundtable you can find either in the July issue of HealthLeaders magazine or at the link I just provided.

In it, we discussed just these trends—and possible solutions—with some of the top hospital and health system talent in the country. Replacing a key leader is not something you want to contemplate when retirement (or other reason for departure) is common knowledge. Rather, you want to build systems and processes that help you develop future leaders from within your organization.

San Diego-based Scripps Health, where one of our panelists, Veronica Zaman, is corporate vice president of talent management, is on a leadership team that has undergone a 10-year process of identifying its internal talent because it simply makes sense. It's expensive to replace good talent with the volatility in the market today.

"The discussion and the transparency around what we're doing related to succession planning has just been a jump start," she says. "A lot of our talented frontline managers, directors, and those young VPs that are just starting off really seem energized by the fact that they could come to a place like Scripps Health and have a full career there."

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