Healthcare Leaders: Learn from Other Industries

Healthcare Leadership, with Dan Nielsen


In a recent article, we took a look at 5 strategies for transforming healthcare from Dr. David Feinberg, CEO of Geisinger Health. His first principle was to “look outside of your industry for creative ideas,” a topic that Mark Dixon recently brought up as well in an exclusive America’s Healthcare Leaders interview, urging healthcare leaders to “get out and go learn from the best.”


This philosophy of not limiting yourself to learning exclusively from others in your own organization or industry is a very good one, and one I would like to delve into a little further today. Feinberg and Dixon both understand the benefit of looking outside of healthcare to see how other organizations deal with different aspects of the job.


Feinberg used the example of customer satisfaction and looked to Starbucks for some insight as to how to achieve great customer service and satisfaction. Starbucks’ policy of remaking your drink if you aren’t satisfied led Feinberg to start a pilot program at Geisinger Health called ‘Proven Experience,’ where patients can rate their experience and occasionally even receive a refund.


There are so many different aspects to healthcare that are just as important in other industries; many issues we experience in the healthcare industry are not exclusive to healthcare, so why limit yourself to only learning from within your field?


3 Reasons to Look Outside Your Own Organization


  • Talent is not exclusive to your organization. Dan Neufelder, founder & CEO of the Neufelder Consulting Group, recently discussed his “million-dollar idea list.” While the list was developed at a meeting with other healthcare leaders, it does show that you can learn from other organizations, and the same idea applies to learning from other industries.
  • Limitless options. There are countless different industries and organizations everywhere you look, and many of these deal with the exact same components and day-to-day activities as you do in your organization. Financial issues, government policy, and many other issues are not exclusive to healthcare, so don’t limit yourself to learning only within your industry.
  • Proven to work: There are so many organizations that have implemented this idea and have experienced great success. Why not try it out? You never know what you might learn and be able to use to achieve success in your own organization.



Carlos Arce, Company Leader, Customer Experience at Elation, had this to say on the topic:


Healthcare is such an absolutely fundamental component of all our lives. Leaders need to be continually using the resources they have at their disposal.”


This means using all the resources at your disposal. Don’t limit yourself to learning exclusively from healthcare. Identify a problem you may be facing and find a company that has overcome that problem and learn from them. If a top healthcare organization can learn from a coffee chain, then everything becomes a possibility for learning!



Copyright © 2016 by Dan Nielsen –

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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