Performanceof the Newly-Hired CEO
Alfred A. Coffield
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
BIDMCExecutive Board Committee
Dearfellow executive committee members:
Iam writing you this memo as a summary of my six-month review of PaulLevy’s leadership as the newly hired President and CEO of BIDMC. It is truly exciting to witness some of the progress that we relishalmost daily as we begin to realize the positive direction of thecompany. As we all know, Paul inherited an organization that wasfaced with many challenges notwithstanding, the forceful pressurefrom the State’s Attorney General’s office for a quickresolution, a deteriorating fiscal state of affairs, several years ofquestioned policy execution, and years of hostile internal strife.
Inmy observation, from day one and thus far, Paul has demonstrated thatwe surely selected the best leader at the right time to help theorganization get out of the trouble it was experiencing. This can beconfirmed by the progress witnessed in the organization since he washired as the CEO. Not only has Paul confirmed that he was the rightchoice to lead the organization and get it out of the challengingcrisis it was experiencing, but he has also systematically held theboard, medical staff and administrative teams accountable for takingownership in finding better solutions towards recovery.
Earlyon, Paul surveyed the employees to figure out what values were sharedand their importance to the staff. Later, he then crafted therecovery business plan around the integration of those values. Histactical strategy for taking this approach was to promote a sense ofteamwork around the shared core values and to get the staff fullyinvested. Additionally, it was vital for the medical andadministrative teams to trust that Paul was part of the team and hadunderstood the significance of the shared core values of thehospital. Most of the written and verbal communication reflected hiscommitment to understanding the core values. He demonstrated to thestaff that he truly cared about their wellbeing, and they were partof the team. In my opinion, this was an excellent approach toensuring staff is integrated into the process. This strategy is adifferent approach from what was being done in the past.
Allowingthe medical and administrative teams to read, understand and respondto the Hunter report allowed the team to fully understand for thefirst time that the “Platform is Burning,” according to Paul. Theinformation clearly presented a damaging picture of the state of thehospital, its past performance and future financial outlook. Previously, disparaging consulting reports and recommendations wereonly shared with key leadership, but Paul’s approach to sharing itdirectly demonstrates a positive change for transparency (House,2014).The courage to disclose this information was not only tactful inensuring motivation but demonstrates to staff a willingness to betruthful in sharing the threat to all concerned parties.
Paul’sstatement resonates well with me and hopefully the rest of the board,especially when he says “Our target is not just survival it is tostrive and set an example of what a unique academic medical centerlike ours means for this region.” This new vision sets the bar forassuring that all understand where we are currently and where we aregoing from here.
Convincingthe BIDMC, CareGroup, and Harvard’s President as well as theAttorney General that saving BIDMC was a good decision is an on-goingdilemma that is challenging Paul. However, I am persuaded that Paul’swork history success, esteemed academic record, negotiation skills,and preparedness to explore into new encounters gives me assuredconfidence that his corrective business plan for BIDMC will besuccessful. He is already portraying huge financial milestonesuccesses, program growth, and board development and assured internaland external confidence. Paul continues to exceed the set targets andgoals.
Adaptingand implementing recommendations from the consulting reports displaysleadership courage, especially on the heels of the daunting task ofcutting staff and drastically reducing expenses.
Theopen and approachable persona, quick response to emailcommunications, the willingness in attending multi-staff meetings,and allowing staff to share feedback has been vital in assuring thatmost are fully engaged and onboard with the progressiveorganizational changes. Paul is also a passionate leader who has madeother employees in the organization to like their jobs. The CEO hasalso been successful at ensuring that changes taking in theorganization look easy. This has enhanced the adoption of newstrategies, which have been essential in the attainment of the setgoals and targets.
Inmy analysis of the CEO, I also found out that he is an ethical leaderwho considers the positive and negative views of all employees. Healso ensures that all the decisions made in the organization upholdthe appropriate ethical standards. For the time he has been in theorganization, the employees and stakeholders have embraced thedecision-making process applied by the leader. Paul has also beeninstrumental in promoting the organizational culture and ensuringworkers follow the set rules and standards (House,2014).As the President of the organization, Paul has been successful inensuring that all his subordinates learn their roles and execute themdiligently. Through my assessment, I noted that he had played asignificant role in providing guidance to the employees.
Onearea of slight concern is that Paul may show vengeance towards staffwho may disagree with his philosophical beliefs for implementingchange. The surprise termination of the female Chief OperatingOfficer, who was a heroine as the one who held it all together forthe hospital during the past three years but was not able to be apart of Paul’s inner circle, is an indication that the newPresident does not accommodate those opposing his ideas. The othersituation was the email communications with the division chief whooutwardly disagreed with him. To Paul’s defense, if thesedisgruntled employees were obstructionist, his course of action wascertainly justifiable. It may be well worth the effort to closelyreview these concerns earlier than later, especially if inventionsare warranted. It may be worth having private counseling sessions todiscuss and clarify the situation.
Whatyou think he and the board should be alert to going forward?
Atthe early onset of implementing the corrective plans, I worry aboutthe capacity of the staff to consistently maintain the quality ofcare levels given the shortfalls in resources and their ability to domore with less.
Theboard should also be alert about Paul’s willingness to stay for theentire duration of the recovery. He is already showing signs ofboredom and currently appears excited about working with theCareGroup.
Temperament:showcase his temper and being angry at staff.
Hiscomments regarding paternal feelings as this may be an outward signthat he has a need to be the father figure for CareGroup and BIDMC.
House,R. J. (2014). Strategicleadership across cultures: The GLOBE study of CEO leadershipbehavior and effectiveness in 24 countries.Thousand Oaks, California: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Briefly What I focused on
Theprimary focus of my analysis was observing Paul Levy’s leadershipstyle with the communication to and from the staff, board and themedia.
Itwas also intriguing to witness Levy’s decision-making strategiesabout discipline and staff/board accountability.
Which Clips did I watch?
All 17 Leadership Style Videos
Resolving a disagreement with the COO
Assessing the COO’s Performance to date
Explaining why he didn’t the COO when he was advised to do so earlier
Levy’s dissatisfaction with the COO’s Performance
The Final Straw
Transition to the next COO
Hiring a new COO
What case content did I read
Levy’s emails dated
Newsprint Articles dated
Levy’s Week One Schedule