What I Learned from the Women Business Leaders in Healthcare Summit

What I Learned from the Women Business Leaders in Healthcare Summit

Constant change is the norm in today’s corporate America. In the healthcare industry, the volatile environment is compounded by the uncertainty of the legislative and regulatory climate.  Simultaneously, many healthcare companies are merging, divesting, expanding into new global markets, introducing new products and services at a faster pace than ever. And the competition for top talent has never been greater. In this tumultuous environment, formal corporate mentoring can play an essential role in retaining and developing key talent.  As a result, Menttium has developed a strong base of clients in the healthcare industry over the last 27 years.

So, I attended the Women Business Leaders in Healthcare Summit for the second time this year.  Here are some of the fascinating highlights I walked away with.

Three days of excellent speakers on “The Future of Healthcare is Now” highlighted not only the complexity of the challenges we face, but more importantly the advances that are being made on all fronts in the healthcare industry.  Leaders from Ford, Uber, Amazon, the Mayo Clinic, Anthem, Korn Ferry, and others shared their insights on industry trends as well as the exciting, creative work being done in this sector. Here are just a few of my takeaways from the conference.

From the Futurist:  A significant 90% of tech start-ups will fail.  Obesity is now a greater threat to our survival than malnutrition.  In less than 20 years, 60% of the world’s gross domestic product will be generated by a mere 600 cities…100 of those cities haven’t even been formed yet.  In Europe, 20% of companies surveyed indicated they couldn’t find the leadership talent they need to grow their organizations, and Japan was even higher at 50%.  The average daily commute in a Mega City (pop. 10 Million people or more) is 5 hours a day. And, the first person to live to 150 has already been born. These are just a few of the trends shared, and, thus, the question becomes, what is necessary to thrive, innovate, and remain relevant in our constantly evolving world?  From the lively discussion, I was lead to the conclusion that creativity, acknowledgment that failure is a critical part of the innovation process, collaboration across sectors, industries, functions and teams, and strong leadership are all part of the answer.

From the Leadership Expert:  In today’s work environment there is a $400B loss of production due to disengagement. “The rate of change today is the slowest amount of change you will experience.”   It is not resistance to change but to the unknown. In a study of 10,000 people, four concepts surfaced as critical in developing leaders in a swiftly changing environment.  

  • Stability (security & support) – Be Visible
  • Compassion (caring & friendship) – Care about them as humans
  • Trust (honesty & respect) – Communicate that you are in this together
  • Hope (direction & faith) – Be clear about the road ahead

What I gathered from this talk was that companies need to reframe change as their biggest growth opportunity, re-energize their best performers (this is where corporate mentoring comes in), and reinvent their company culture to embrace ambiguity.

From the Entrepreneurs:  How tech companies are disrupting health care now.  70% of patients in the ER don’t need to be there. 80% of medical devices are made for 20% of the global population.  From brain health and reducing unnecessary ER visits to medical devices for rural mobile clinics in India and laser-based replication of human organs… entrepreneurs are leading the way with innovative technologies.  At the end of the talk, I was able to identify a few key traits that these bright, young women pioneers had in common. A vision of what could be, passion for the challenge of making a difference, and a willingness to risk failure in the start-up environment.  

From the Investors:  Investing in healthcare now for the future.  The most important thing an investor looks at?  First and foremost, the Management Team. Whether they are funding a start-up or an on-going business that has significant growth potential, it’s not the product/service or even P&L investors look at first.  They look at the leaders of the organization. Are the c-suite and board aligned in working together, are the c-suite leaders trusted by the rest of the organization, and have they built a healthy organizational culture? While I already understood the value of an effective management team, it was reaffirming to hear some of Menttium’s core beliefs mirrored in this discussion.

From the Culture Experts:  Americans make 35,000 decisions each day, but we become passive in our healthcare.  It’s time to stop talking about managing and prescribing to patients and instead guide and coach them.  How do we include patients in partnering in their healthcare decisions and wellness plans? Culture is on the radar of every public company.  It’s become even more important to boards. Culture has become even more critical with the widely-acknowledged talent shortage. The most critical component of a healthy culture, trust, is at an all-time low across the board.  Organizations need a confidential feedback loop as one way to address this issue.

From the Researchers:  Based on Korn Ferry’s recent research the question is still at the forefront of our minds:  What will help more women get to the top? 6% of Fortune 1000 CEOs are female. 14% of female CEOs attribute their success to mentors.  12% of women knew they wanted to be a CEO. The results suggest that spouse-support is critically important, that women need to be told they have the potential to be CEO and that women need more and stronger opportunities in broadened leadership roles that build their credibility and reputation for success. This is a well acknowledged truth that Menttium helps individuals and organizations to address every day, it was comforting to hear this sentiment echoed during this talk.

Tying It All Together at the End of the Women Business Leaders in Healthcare Summit

The challenges ahead are daunting!  The solutions to these challenges are emerging as we work together collaboratively, across boundaries; bringing the best of ourselves to the table and our best ideas to the world.  I see the progress every day through Menttium’s mentees and mentors.  I walked away from the WBL Summit inspired, energized, and in awe of the women leaders seeking to shape the future.