Focus On Opportunity, Not Crisis

We are in a study and discussion of Gary Burnison’s recently published book titled, The Twelve Absolutes of LeadershipBurnison is CEO of Korn/Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search firm.


Burnison discusses the critical leadership mentality and skill of focusing on and orienting your organization toward opportunity, not crisis.  This advice is particularly timely and relevant for current healthcare leaders who are grappling with significant – some would say massive – change throughout the healthcare industry.


Brunison writes:


“Shortly after the collapse of Lehman Brothers in late 2008, our industry, like almost every business in the world, experienced a white-knuckle free fall.  Clients retrenched, and some global companies went out of business.  Cash became king.  Our organization was a microcosm of the global economy: we saw a multi-hundred-million-dollar loss of revenue over days.


In the surrounding chaos, we decided to orient our organization toward opportunity, not crisis.  This isn’t to say that we didn’t have to make difficult decisions.  We did, but we made these choices immediately and navigated decisively.


We moved the organization from uncertainty to certainty.  Even though we asked our employees for personal sacrifices (such as furloughs and pay cuts), we established a tone of confidence in the operating plan, in the destination to which that plan would lead us, and most important, in our people.”


So what about the environment within and outside the healthcare industry today?  Specifically, what about the numerous perceived and real threats as a result of healthcare reform and other mandates?


In my opinion, there is absolutely no question that 5 to 10 years from now, many healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and pundits will look back and agree that some, if not many, of the ramifications of current healthcare reform will have created outstanding opportunities for growth and improvement.  Many other healthcare leaders, entrepreneurs, investor and pundits will look back and regret that they squandered many positive opportunities because they were focused on the perceived crisis rather than on perceived and real opportunities!


Burnision writes, “I have come to appreciation how organizations can make their best strategic, cultural, and operational moves during difficult times.”


How about you, your team and your organization?  You are the leader!


Are you focused on opportunities?  Or are you focused on forced change and crisis?  Do you fully appreciate as well as live, teach and mentor the reality that “organizations can make their best strategic, cultural, and operational moves during difficult times?


Your answers, and more important, your actions related to the critical questions above will, to a very large extent, determine the success (or lack thereof) and legacy of the organization you are privileged to lead!


Copyright © 2012 by Dan Nielsen

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership  –

Founder, America’s Healthcare Leaders  –

Cell 214-695-1292






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