Jeff Thompson, 64, served as CEO of Gundersen Health System for 14 years. He oversaw the Wisconsin-based nonprofit healthcare network—and its 7,000 employees—as it garnered national honors for patient care. Author of Lead True, Thompson is a pediatrician.
Executive: You asked new hires to read a one-page compact and agree to the organization’s values. Why?
Thompson: As a leader, you have to define your values in a strong, clear way. Ours focused on respect for individuals, excellence, compassion, innovation, integrity. It’s important that everyone from the people in the billing department to senior executives is clear about the values-based principles that unite us.
Did new hires ever balk at having to agree to the compact?
Most new hires were really positive about it. They liked the clarity. Once in a while, a doctor would say, “This is nice. It’s geared for front-line people, right?” I’d reply, “No. It applies...(register to read more)