Part 3: From Clinician to Administrator: Tips to Climb the Ladder
President and Co-Founder, Carson|Kolb Elite Executive Search
What is the best route for a physician to take from clinic to business leader?
Armed with curiosity to find the best answers to this question, we reached out, anecdotally, to c-level physician executives in roles like CMO, CMIO, CIO and CSO. They offered a ton of great advice. We split it up into a series. This third one includes thoughts nearly every C-suite physician we chatted with had to say:
Here’s what they had to say:
1. If you are burned out on clinical care, but like the idea of improving patient health, get into management. You can make a big impact as an administrative leader.
2. Get experience, however you can.
- Ask for committee positions.
- Take on additional administrative/leadership roles to learn, but also to build a better CV.
- “It’s difficult to get experience, but once you have some, it gets easier to gain more.”
3. Broaden your knowledge.
- Get an MBA from a reputable school.
- Study and adopt a reputable Leadership Model (e.g. Kotter’s 8 Step Change Model).
- Read leadership books, seek out training; one respondent suggests taking an physician executive bootcamp.
- One former CEO & CMO shared, “Get additional education! I didn’t do it, and I was a CMO, and I didn’t know what I was talking about! It doesn’t have to be an MBA, but at least gain a better understanding of core business in healthcare.
4. “Know why you want to be a leader”
5. You must have a dedication for change. “Administration is tougher [than clinical work] because of social networks, and variable processes; many of which are not documented, and thus must be developed.”
6. Determine the right focus for your career. It’s tough to be a fulltime clinician and dabble in administration.
- “I made a conscious decision to go into leadership. It’s difficult to balance between admin and physician, so a lot of us just keep practicing. You have to know your own priorities.”
7. “Realize you will always be seen as ‘The Doc.’
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