Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Personal Rebranding for the Healthcare Practice Executive


Even successful executives sometimes take stock of their situations and decide they want to strike out in a new direction, pursue different opportunities, or advance within their own industry or company. They’ve worked hard to build a sound reputation, but sometimes that very reputation becomes a liability for trying something new. They are prevented from pursuing something new by people who can’t picture them in the new situation. This post focuses on individuals in healthcare leadership who want to—or find themselves forced to—change direction. If you find yourself in a such a predicament, it’s time to “rebrand” yourself. 


In a medical group practice, we face change and resistance almost every day. Physicians, of course, have been trained and socialized to avoid risk; and while that may be good medicine, it’s not always good business. A group administrator with years of experience in a cardiology practice might want to pursue an opportunity with an orthopedic surgery group. The orthopedists might see her CV and think, “Pretty impressive, but this person has never dealt with orthopedics’ unique issues,” and move on to the next résumé in the stack.

Others might want to change their roles within their organization. Maybe a billing supervisor would like to take on broader administrative responsibilities when the office manager position opens up. The doctors have been pleased with her work, so moving her out of the present position makes them nervous. Besides, they just can’t quite “picture” her running the whole business operation.

Physicians aspiring to leadership roles within their groups may face some of the same challenges, too. The strategic steps outlined below can help you rebrand yourself—that is, guide people to change how they perceive you and your abilities. If you can alter that perception, they might take a chance on you. Changing your reputation and what others expect of you requires a five-step strategy in support of your vision:

1. Define your destination. Start by determining where you really want to invest your energy; assess your current skills and those you need to acquire. Use personal research, find a mentor, or go back to school to get what you need.

2. Leverage your points of difference. The background and experience you bring to your new endeavor makes you unique. Figure out how to make your differences work for you, not against you.

3. Develop a narrative. Create a convincing story that explains how your past fits into your present. Don’t explain the transition in personal terms—such as, “I was bored; I needed a change”—rather focus on the value your prior experience brings. It’s not about inventing a new persona—it’s a shift in emphasis that should prompt others to say, “I can see you doing that.”

4. Reintroduce yourself. Establishing and developing new contacts will prove to be the easy part. The harder task is reintroducing yourself to your existing network. Most people don’t pay close enough attention to the details of their friends’ and contacts’ lives and careers. That means strategically re-educating people who know you or are acquainted with you. If you have some serious negative baggage to address, you will find it necessary to discipline yourself to stick strictly to the new image you want to project.

5. Prove your worth. Unless you can show evidence of your skills through past successes, you will have a hard time getting someone to trust you enough to employ your new abilities. Proving your worth is not a one-time endeavor—you’ll have to show your success over and over again.

Even in our personal lives, we will experience resistance from friends and family when we want to make changes—even changes that improve our situations. There’s something frightening about the unknown: “Better the devil you know than the one you don’t” sums up the tendency for people to tolerate even a devilish situation with which they’re familiar rather than strike out in search of something better.


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