“Have a clear vision, communicate it and allow yourself to be challenged by it.”
In the following excerpt from CareerBuilder’s recent interview with Robert P. Wise, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hunterdon Medical Center, Wise discusses, among other things, how growing up in a health care environment influenced his role as a leader in this industry today.
HOW DO YOU RELATE TO YOUR EMPLOYEES ON A PERSONAL BASIS WHILE ENGAGING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE JUST COMING IN AND OUT OF THE HOSPITAL ON A DAILY BASIS?
I have the benefit of having grown up in a health care environment. When I became an orderly in a nursing home it gave me an opportunity to see hierarchy at work. I saw how difficult it was for people at higher levels to communicate with people at lower levels, and I didn’t feel good about it. There was no reason why that should exist in an organization where people depend upon each other. A team is critical, and a team caring about each other and respecting each other is critical.
HOW DO YOU FOSTER A CULTURE OF LEARNING, ADVANCEMENT AND PERSONAL GROWTH?
We have a program where employees can catch other employees doing the right thing, called Caught in the Act. We probably have around a thousand Caught in the Act awards that we recognize every year in celebrations. It’s a way of [helping] employees see the good in each other and also spreads and reinforces the culture.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISION YOU HAVE MADE AS A LEADER IN YOUR TENURE HERE?
I think that the most important one was when we laid off 26 employees. We had never had a layoff before, and we worked the numbers as well as we could. We had to confront the fact that we had to have a small reduction in force. To release those people I think was the toughest thing we had to do. And not only that, the workforce was negatively affected by it that rippled throughout the organization.