Friday, January 25, 2013

What does it take to be a physician leader?

By Ben H. Brouhard, MD
Senior Vice President, Senior Search Consultant

As the industry moves forward with reform measures, the question I often hear is: What does it take to be a great physician leader?  Through observation, shared insights and my own evolution as a physician in clinical, teaching and academic health system leadership roles, the answer lies in the dynamics of change.

Increased Demand for Physician Executives
As health care reform progresses, change has been the constant state. Reimbursement based on quality and outcomes has changed the focus from volume to value; navigating that change requires deep engagement of physicians in the business of health care and is driving demand for physician leaders to fill C-Level positions. In fact, in a survey of C-Suite executives, 83 percent said they would be likely, very likely or extremely likely to add physicians to their management teams.

Source: Envisioning the Future Leadership Team of an Accountable Care Organization, February 2011; American College of Physician Executives, Cejka Executive Search and BDC Advisors
Transactional leaders, a common fixture of health care organizations of the past, run all the aspects of day-to-day business. They get patients in and out of the hospital, make sure doctors and staff are happy, and attend to matters that make the organization function. But today, it isn’t enough to run the business – leaders now must transform the business of health care. 

Developing Transformational Leadership
Transformational leaders will guide their organizations through the changes required for success in a new era of value-based health care. Yet, health care institutions today place less emphasis on developing these leaders once they’re in place compared to many other types of businesses in the corporate world.

Throughout medical training (medical school, residency and fellowship) clinicians are taught a technical skill set – diagnostic skills, surgical skills, radiographic skills, and so on. But this expertise – while essential to the practice of medicine – does not roll over into leadership, which requires an entirely different set of behavioral characteristics. When people don’t do well in leadership positions, it’s not because they didn’t have the skills or technical ability. It’s because they didn’t demonstrate behavioral skills required to influence people to do what the organization needed.

Essential Qualities of Tomorrow’s Leaders
There is no standard approach to health care leadership. All leaders must develop their own authenticity with their individual strengths and weaknesses to manage their organizations. But, there are common hallmarks of successful leaders; the position profiles and job descriptions of these leaders reflect this shift toward transformational leadership. Health care organizations now are looking for key characteristics in their C-Suite executives:

  • Mentors – be a coach to the faculty and staff physicians to help them achieve a higher level of emotional intelligence. 
  • Visionaries – envision the organization in five years, ten years and beyond.
  • Collaborators – build key relationships with stakeholders, including employees, hospitals and the community at large.
  • Advocates – be enthusiastic and excited about the job and the direction of the organization.
Ultimately, leadership is a process that requires personal reflection, mentoring (both giving and receiving) and objective feedback. Leadership is an evolution – as health care continues to change, so will successful leaders.

About Ben H. Brouhard, MD
Dr. Ben H. Brouhard, Senior Vice President and Senior Search Consultant, joined Cejka Executive Search in 2012 and is passionate about the development of physician leaders and participation and direction of search committees. He is the former Executive Director of Women’s and Children’s Service Line and Associate Chief Medical Officer for Education at MetroHealth Medical Center. During his 15-year tenure, Dr. Brouhard was among MetroHealth’s top physician leaders with oversight for operational, clinical and academic areas, including as Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs. He previously served nearly ten years with the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Texas Medical Branch, respectively.

For more information on the essential qualities of physician leaders in today’s health care reality, contact Dr. Brouhard at or (800) 209-8143. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

What Makes Successful Leaders?

The attributes once sought in physician leaders have changed along with the evolving healthcare landscape. Healthcare organizations demand leaders with collaboration and adaptability, facilitation of tough issues, communication and relationship skills, transparency, political savvy, stakeholder alignment, as well as energy, enthusiasm and engagement. They want leaders with positive, invigorated attitudes that are adaptable and energized by challenges and possibilities. Leaders are expected to shape the future, guide “the change,” make things happen, and foster an environment to build the organization’s next generation of leaders.

But what makes a successful leader?

Consider leadership vs. expertise – they are not the same. It’s not about knowing more than anyone else. Being good at the work makes someone an expert, not a leader, and many organizations confuse expertise and leadership skills.

Good leadership skills can be defined as those actions and behaviors that support leadership – the ability to influence, motivate, and direct others. According to the 2011 Physician Retention Survey, 84 percent of respondents said a physician’s teamwork qualities are more important today as compared to five years ago. This view also was unanimous among the audience of physician leaders at the recent AMGA annual conference in San Diego.

With a clear mandate for enhanced teamwork, successful healthcare organizations will sharpen their focus on assessing teamwork skills in physician candidates and developing team leadership within the organization. While medical training focuses on honing technical skills (the “what”), effective teamwork and team leadership are soft skills that require specific behaviors (the “how”). For example, successful leaders:

  • Handle stress with composure
  • Handle mistakes gracefully
  • Focus on getting people to help solve problems
  • Get along with a wide variety of people

While these may be difficult to assess during recruitment, Tools such as the Winslow Assessment will help determine whether or not a candidate possesses the traits of a successful leader. Most survey respondents (77 percent) believe references are an effective method for assessing teamwork qualities, but this approach relies heavily on the quality and qualifications of the reference. At the other end of the spectrum, about half the respondents indicated they use emotional intelligence assessments, yet only 35 percent of those believe these assessments are effective.

Fundamentally, the natural progression of a leader starts with the ability to lead onself, followed by leading others and eventually leading the organization. Healthcare organizations need to identify and create advancement pathways for physicians who perform well and demonstrate leadership in an integrated team environment.

The 2011 survey findings complement numerous published insights from medical group leaders across the United States in a variety of practice settings and delivery structures. A resounding common theme is the growing need for establishing strong relationships with physicians who possess the attributes and motivation to work as partners in delivering care that is accountable to patients and payers.

To do this, consider the following characteristics of “best practice” leadership development programs:

  • Should balance an “instructional” academy approach with personal development initiatives
  • Is both an organizational and individual responsibility
  • Must align characteristics and needs of individuals with organization goals
  • Must be a strategic priority

Friday, July 27, 2012

Modern Healthcare has recognized Cejka Search as a Best Place To Work for 2012.

"As veterans in the health care executive search industry, we fully appreciate the value of an engaged workforce when attracting top talent," stated Deedra Hartung, senior executive vice president and managing director of Cejka Executive Search.

"Our team's tenure and commitment translates to strong relationships within the industry, both with our clients and the candidates we recruit for them. We're proud of our team."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Physician Search Firm Wins Stevie Award for Campaign of the Year

Cejka Search recognized for branding proficiency, contribution to health care industry.

Cejka Search recently received a bronze Stevie Award from American Business Awards for “PR Campaign of the Year” distinguishing the company’s excellence in marketing their new brand identity launch.  In the competitive arena of physician recruitment and health care executive search, Cejka Search translates this marketing proficiency to the talent acquisition and recruitment strategies they execute on behalf of their clients.

"Winning a Stevie Award is further testament of our capabilities and commitment to effectively present our clients' brands through recruitment marketing," said Lori Schutte, President, Cejka Search. "As part connection between top tier candidates and our client's brand. By taking the lead in Cejka Search's recruitment marketing services are part of the full-cycle search process that can improve an organization's hiring efficiency and physician retention over time. A recruitment marketing program consists of a diverse mix of enhanced media technologies incorporating electronic media and social networking, combined with media buying and outreach to their extensive proprietary database. These marketing tools extend a health care organization's internal resources, saving them the time and expense involved in a prolonged vacancy.

"How we recruit physicians, health care executives, advanced practice and allied health professionals is evolving as the health care industry changes," said Schutte. "Today's tech-savvy physicians find a job using new technology and we, at Cejka Search, have created interactive marketing strategies for our clients to help attract and retain the industry's top talent."

Once labeled by Paul Tharp of the New York Post as "the business world's own Oscar Awards," the Stevie Awards generate public recognition for exemplary businesses and organizations worldwide. Winners are selected by a panel of judges, composed of leading figures in the international business world who evaluate each nominee in a process that takes nearly three months.

About Cejka Search

Cejka Search is a nationally recognized physician, health care executive, advanced practice and allied health search firm providing services exclusively to the health care industry for more than 30 years. Cejka Search recruits top health care talent for organizations nationwide through our team of experienced professionals, award-winning recruitment technology and commitment to service excellence. Cejka Search is a Cross Country Healthcare, Inc. company, a leading provider of health care staffing services in the United States.

For more information visit, contact Michelle Kuehler (Black Twig Communications), 314-536-8909, or Mary Barber (Cejka Search), 314-236-4410.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Cejka Executive Search is proud to be a recognized member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC)

The Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) represents the only recognized seal of quality for retained executive search consulting firms on a worldwide basis. AESC members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines affecting all aspects of executive search, including relationships with clients and candidates. Firms are admitted to membership following a comprehensive application process including references from clients and colleagues, site inspections and close analysis of documentation and working practices. Cejka Executive Search is proud to be a recognized member of the AESC. For more information, visit the AESC at

Friday, May 11, 2012

11 Hospital, Health System Executive Compensation Trends

By Sabrina Rodak, Becker's Hospital Review - As healthcare organizations face the uncertainty of the healthcare reform law's constitutionality and changing regulatory requirements, the need to recruit and retain strong leaders may be more important than ever. Here are 11 hospital and health system executive compensation trends experts are seeing in the current market...Continue Reading at Becker's Hospital Review

Friday, April 6, 2012

ACPE Spring Institute

Character and Culture: How Lack of Alignment Can Derail Top Candidates

Featuring: Ben H. Brouhard, MD, Senior Vice President, Senior Search Consultant, Cejka Executive Search

2012 Spring Institute of the American College of Physician Executives
April 29, 2012 at 12:00 NOON
Westin St. Francis, San Francisco, CA

Join Ben H. Brouhard, MD, a veteran physician leader, for an interactive session of "life lessons" and the practical aspects involved in the formation and guidance of an effective executive search committee. The presentation is based on Dr. Brouhard's past experiences and a case study of search committees at four hospitals and health systems.

Dr. Brouhard will reinforce the importance of aligning strategic objectives and an honest assessment of culture when forming the foundation for the successful search for top leaders. He will also provide first-hand insights about the rewards and challenges inherent to following a leadership path.

Dr. Brouhard was a feature panelist at the ACPE 2011 Fall Institute Physician Executive Roundtable which highlighted the findings of the 2011 Physician Executive Compensation Survey.

About Ben Brouhard, MD

Ben Brouhard, MD, joined Cejka Executive Search in January 2012 as Senior Vice President, Senior Search Consultant. Dr. Brouhard has served in top leadership positions including as the Chair of the Department of Pediatrics and as the Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs for The MetroHealth System, an academic health care system in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Brouhard was also a tenured professor with Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Earlier in his career he spent nearly ten years respectively with the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Texas Medical Branch.