Book Recommendation: The Front-Line Leader by Chris Van Gorder

I recently had the honor and privilege to interview Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health, one of America’s most prestigious health systems. The one-hour interview, which was filmed and will be shared later on, took place at the Scripps Health corporate office in San Diego California.


I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. Chris Van Gorder was focused, open, honest, transparent, and enthusiastic about the future of healthcare in America. In the coming weeks, I will share specifics regarding comments and perspectives Van Gorder shared during the interview.


Today, I would like to call your attention to his excellent book titled The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up.  I could not write or say it any better than the description on the jacket of the book, so I quote:


“Chris Van Gorder has presided over a dramatic turnaround, catapulting Scripps from near bankruptcy to a dominant market position. While hospitals and health systems nationwide have laid people off or are closing their doors, Scripps is financially healthy, has added thousands of employees (even with a no-layoff philosophy) and has developed a reputation as a top employer. What are the secrets to this remarkable story?


“In The Front-line Leader, Chris Van Gorder candidly shares his own incredible story, from police officer to CEO, and the leadership philosophy that drives all of his decisions and actions: people come first.


“Van Gorder began his unlikely career as a California police officer, which deeply instilled in him a sense of social responsibility, honesty, and public service. After being injured on the job and taking an early retirement, Van Gorder had to reinvent himself, eventually taking a job as a hospital security director, a job that would change his life. Through hard work and determination, he rose to executive ranks, eventually becoming CEO of Scripps. But he never forgot his own roots and powerful work ethic, or the time when a CEO would not make eye contact with him, a security officer.


“Van Gorder leads from the front lines, making it a priority to know his employees at every level as well as his customers. His values learned on the force—protecting the community, educating citizens, developing caring relationships, and ultimately doing the right thing—shaped his approach to business. As much as companies talk about accountability, managers seldom understand what practical steps to take for an ethic of service that makes accountability meaningful. The Front-Line Leader outlines specific tactics and steps anyone can use starting today to take responsibility, inspire others, and achieve breakout results for their organizations.”


I highly recommend that you read, carefully study, and purposefully implement and execute the excellent suggestions, strategies, tactics, and leadership concepts shared throughout this book. Without question, this book offers superb short and long-term value for all leaders, including all healthcare leaders, regardless of title or position within an organization.


Read, study, and implement that which is most relevant to you and your organization. You will achieve greater personal, professional, and organizational success!



Copyright © 2015 by Dan Nielsen –

America’s Healthcare Leaders –

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership –

About the Author

Dan Nielsen
About Dan Nielsen Dan Nielsen is the author of the books Presidential Leadership (2013) and Be An Inspirational Leader (2016). He regularly writes and speaks on the topics of Leadership Excellence and Achieving Greater Success, and is available to deliver keynote presentations or facilitate discussions for your organization. For more info, please visit or email Dan at

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