How to Climb the Corporate Ladder

Part 3: From Clinician to Administrator: Tips to Climb the Ladder


President and Co-Founder, Carson|Kolb Elite Executive Search


Universally agreed upon advice for the journey up the ladder

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:

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

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.’

Posted in
Part 2: How to climb the corporate ladder

Part 2: From Clinician to Administrator: Tips to Climb the Ladder

President and Co-Founder, Carson|Kolb Elite Executive Search Advice for the journey up the ladder Physicians endeavoring to climb the administrative ...
Read More
Tips to Climb the Ladder

Part 1: From Clinician to Leader: Tips to Climb the Ladder

President and Co-Founder, Carson|Kolb Elite Executive Search The ol’ catch 22 of ‘how to get experience when you don’t have ...
Read More
How to negotiate a higher salary - Matt Kolb

How to Negotiate Your Salary (Tips and Examples)

Check out Carson Kolb President Matt Kolb’s insights on salary negotiation in this UpJourney.com media article posted April 12, 2021 Matt Kolb - ...
Read More

Are you in the market for a new opportunity? Let’s talk.

Bringing the human element back into search. 

Candidate - Contact Carson Kolb

  • Drop files here or
Carson Kolb Logo white

Finding The Leaders You Need To Complete Your Organization

It all starts with a conversation. Fill out the form, call, or email us to get on your way to a full org-chart.

  • 949-612-2544

  • info@carsonkolb.com

  • San Clemente, CA | Carson Kolb, Inc.