The following excerpt is from The Healthcare C-Suite: Leadership Development at the Top by  Andrew N. Garman and Carson F. Dye. Copyright 2009 by the Foundation of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Click here to access information about this book.

In the preface of their book, Andrew Garman and Carson Dye explain the professional development challenge for senior leadership:

C-suite and senior leadership is qualitatively different from management at other levels. As such, professional development at this executive level requires a different approach.

Senior executives seldom pursue continuing education related to leadership competency development. Often, the scant leadership development they get comes from attending annual meetings of their professional societies. When they do go to in-house leadership development programs, in which their middle managers are also present, these executives are guarded, hesitant to fully participate in exercises and competency assessments. Because many senior-level performance evaluations focus only on what was achieved (e.g., higher revenue, improved clinical outcomes, better patient/physician/employee satisfaction) and not how it was achieved (e.g., collaboration/teamwork, mutual respect, good recruitment and retention strategies), bad habits and a misguided mindset about self-development can continue unchallenged for years.

The levels of complexity and healthcare today are unprecedented and overwhelming. The challenges we will face in the coming years require true systems change. They will demand that leaders from different professions and departments work together to support this evolution while minimizing collateral damage. Clearly, the old training model of sending off people on their own to a conference or seminar will not take organizations where they need to go.