CEOs Discuss the Advice They Wished They’d Received Before Their First Day on the Job

Interviews recently conducted by Becker’s Hospital Review highlight the advice that CEOs wish they’d received prior to starting their job.

Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health in San Diego remarked, “Nobody ever told me that being CEO really was a 24/7 job, 365 days of the year, with little privacy in an environment where every decision is scrutinized.” Steven Goldstein, CEO of Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, said, “The constant need for problem solving is an inherent part of the business.”

One common thread in many comments is that there is a lot of on-the-job learning that takes place in the C-suite. Michael J. Dowling, president and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, NY, stated, “First of all, nobody told me much of anything before I became CEO in 2002.”

Career development is all about taking responsibility for the future and being proactive in terms of where you’d like to be in the coming years. Taking the initiative to learn from others will prepare you to be better able to take advantage of opportunities when they arise.

Another key takeaway: future developments in the healthcare industry are relatively unpredictable. Mr. Downing summed up his sentiments, saying, “We all knew healthcare was changing as we entered the new millennium, but nobody understood the degree to which healthcare would evolve.” But, on a positive note, he indicated that navigating new complexities in the industry has been one of the most rewarding challenges of his career.

When Mr. Van Gorder, began his job as CEO, the hospital was already in default on its bonds and he agonized over having to initiate layoffs and let many people go who he had worked side-by-side with over the years. However, over the past 15 years as CEO, he has been able to sustain a “no layoff philosophy” even though it has been sometimes difficult to find ways to reduce costs.

To learn more, you can read their advice and comments in the article at Becker’s Hospital Review:
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