CHC President & CEO on the Crucial Importance of Culture and Values

By Dan Nielsen

CHC President & CEO on the Crucial Importance of Culture and Values

JHC-Sept15-iStock_000052992002_LargeIn a recent interview with Mike Williams, President and CEO of Community Hospital Corporation, based in Plano, Texas, I asked him discuss the culture of CHC and how he inspires employees to live up to the organization’s established values. Williams responded,

First of all, we have to understand what culture is in any organization. Whether we acknowledge it or not, every organization of any kind has a culture. It’s been said that ‘culture is what an organization looks like when the people in it don’t know anyone is watching.’ Consequently, we have to ask ourselves, ‘what are the values that we want represented in the culture that we portray at Community Hospital Corporation?’”

As CHC’s founding CEO and first employee, Mike Williams has had the privilege of being personally engaged in the employment process of everyone who has come into the organization since its inception 18 years ago. Once candidates have made it through most of the hiring process, Williams sits down with them for a 30-minute interview during which they talk about the values and culture of CHC.

What questions do they have for me about CHC? What do I need to impart to them about the way the organization works? So that they get a feel for our culture before they actually get the offer and step on board… There are many qualified and competent folks out there. There are fewer who understand and meet our cultural expectations.

So what are the values that CHC’s culture represents? They’re summed up in four words, with Williams noting, “The actions that are reflected by those words are so much more important than the words themselves.

  • Respect. “First of all, respect for each other. If we’re going to be effective as a team, we can’t compete with each other. We have to have each other’s back and we’ve got to work together, and on a daily basis. You know in the workplace, we spend more hours with our colleagues probably than we spend with our loved ones at home. We try to, through respect, create a culture of family. I care a lot for the people who work here, and I think they care for me as well.
  • Integrity. “Making sure that everything we say or do is fact based and is absolutely, 100% honest. Integrity is only as good as what we do every day, so we always want to be transparent and honest and upfront. That’s not always easy, particularly when you’re dealing with employee issues or angry clients or physicians, but we want to be honest about it.
  • Stewardship. “The mission of this company—ensuring the preservation of community hospitals—is a mission that is so important for access to healthcare, because in many cases these smaller institutions are serving the indigent and the elderly. If these community hospitals can’t be financially successful, the indigent and elderly who don’t have the means of going into the bigger city, are going to be without access to healthcare. Consequently, we have to be a good steward as a resource to those institutions, appropriately charging them and advising them how to spend the dollars that they are able to collect to be able to continue their mission of service to the populations that they’re serving.
  • Excellence. “That’s an easy word. As a child, we probably heard our parents say, ‘Be excellent in everything you do,’ but excellence is more than a word. We want to be perceived individually and corporately as the best of class. Does that mean that we’re a hundred percent in everything, that we’re perfect? Absolutely not. What it means, though, is that we’re always striving toward that level of excellence, and acknowledging when we don’t get there what we need to do different the next time we do it to do better.

Question: What culture and values have you established within your health organization? How do you establish, maintain, and inspire your colleagues and teams to represent that culture and live up to those values?

Copyright © 2015 by Dan Nielsen –

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