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Doctoral Project Abstract

Leading the 21st Century Healthcare Organization: Essential Competencies for Successful Stewardship

Phillip E. Jackson
Regent University

The 21st century presents numerous challenges and opportunities for healthcare organizations (HCOs). Whether for profit, not-for profit, secular or a Christian HCO, the fact remains, the 21st century will be much different. Leading the 21st Century Healthcare Organization identifies eight widely agreed upon challenges HCOs face in the future:

  1. Changing population demographics
  2. Aging population
  3. Rising health care costs
  4. The uninsured
  5. New technologies
  6. Global war on terrorism,
  7. Life-style related health issues, and
  8. Minority under-representation in the healthcare workforce

The basic premise is these challenges render conventional responses outmoded. The manuscript argues six essential competencies for meeting 21st century health care challenges:

1. Stewardship: The manuscript adopts "service is everything" mindset and argues for stewardship as a leadership framework. Stewards share information, coach, mentor, care about others, and act to ensure the long term success and well-being of their organizations, people, and communities served.

2. Strategic Foresight: The 21st century requires a new and extended framework for planning. The most successful HCOs include a futures component. This includes: (1) Environmental assessment and scenario development, (2) Visioning to clarify aspirations and identity, and (3) Strategic analysis.

3. Boundary Competence: Leaders must demonstrate competence with four organizational boundaries: (1) Vertical, (2) Horizontal, (3) External, and (4) Geographical.

4. Culture of Innovation: The status quo is no longer viable for HCOs. Six factors for creating a culture of innovation include: (1) Risk-taking environment, (2) Innovation targets, (3) Sufficient resources, (4) Open sharing of information, communication and relationships, (5) Training in creativity and innovation tools and techniques, and (6) Appropriate rewards and recognition.

5. Cultural Competence: The process of developing cultural competence is a means for responding effectively to the increasing ethnic and racial demographic changes. Three components: (1) organizational cultural competence, (2) systemic cultural competence, and (3) clinical cultural competence provide a constructive framework for implementing culturally competent practices.
6. Growing Future Leaders: Healthcare leaders must make succession planning a business priority. Good stewardship argues people are our primary responsibilities first. Eight strategies offer a practical starting point.


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