Wednesday, June 13, 2012
I’m just back from the New Orleans where I had the chance to talk with many c-level executives from all across the country at our 2012 OPEN MINDS Planning & Innovation Institute (to download the institute presentations and reference materials go to 2012 Presentation Slides & Attendee Handouts). In my session The State Of Leadership In The Child Welfare Market , I had the chance to do a deep dive into the concerns of executives in child-serving organizations, and the discussion was striking.
It is not surprising to me that so many CEO’s are facing the greatest challenges of their careers in today’s fast paced and rapidly changing environment, and it is clear to me that a vast majority of CEO’s are “staring into the headlights of change” without much forward movement. I came away with an appreciation for what keeps those CEOs up at night – developing a strategy for survival, finding (and keeping) executive talent, coping with new government regulations (and audits), and the personal stress of leadership.
Developing a strategy for survival – Diminishing revenue, decreases in government funding; a shift from long term to short term residential treatment models, an increased focus on community care and a decrease in the number of children being referred have all added up to a real threat to agency survival. To weather these challenges, our group at the institute discussed these possible solutions:
Diversify revenue sources
Meet customer needs and expectations
Pursue a community-based continuum of care
Partner with managed care entities and government referral sources
Continual training (i.e. conferences, industry news, webinars)
Consider strategic alliances, such as mergers or acquisitions
Finding (and keeping) executive talent – An inability to recruit and retain staff, a very mobile workforce, inadequate financial resources for staff salaries, and inadequate incentives to reward staff for exemplary performance are all challenging organizations to find and fill positions with exemplary talent. Continued staff learning and training – including leadership training, internship programs and conference attendance – can help organizations find and keep superior executive talent.
Coping with new government regulations (and audits) – The challenges around licensing requirements, documentation and regulatory changes are happening at all levels of oversight, and leading to more audits. To adapt, organizations hiring full time compliance officers, conducting internal audits, embracing an environment of strict guidelines, and engaging in political advocacy to educate government agencies on the realities of conducting business in our industry.
The personal stress of leadership – Of all the challenges facing health and human service executives today, this is the one from which no one is immune. A continual demand to re-engineer organizations to meet the rapidly changing human service marketplace, while doing work with fewer resources, is straining staff at all organizational levels. Keeping up with the industry changes and fostering professional relationships with other leaders in health and human resources is a good way to cope with stress, as well as stay ahead of the very changes that cause stress.
Are these the issues that you face? And, how is your organization coping with these issues? If you’re a c-level executive and would “volunteer”, I would like to interview you for an upcoming issue of the OPEN MINDS Newsletter. Just contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Associate, OPEN MINDS
For another free resource, see: What Keeps CEOs Up At Night? all members
This is free for the next sixty days to all registered OPEN MINDS Circle members.