Values-based leadership not only sounds like a noble effort but it’s practical too, according to Jeff Thompson, MD, executive advisor and CEO emeritus at Gundersen Health System, a network of hospitals and medical facilities in Wisconsin.
Thompson says it’s “strategically sound” for leaders to define a set of values that they and their organizations will live by because values give an organization the ability to recruit, retain, and inspire staff to find waste and solve problems, which, in turn, helps the organization grow.
“Developing a plan based on values, not on a financial target will result in tremendous financial success as well as serving the mission of the organization,” he says.
So when developing strategic plans at Gundersen, Thompson and his team stated that the organization’s purpose was to “bring health and well-being to our patients and communities, not to beat a competitor or hit a margin.
People are more inspired when the goal is to lower the cost of care for the community than by “moving our margin from 2.5% to 2.73%," noted Thompson, author of Lead True: Live Your Values, Build Your People, Inspire Your Community.
Listen as he explains value-based leadership and what he did as CEO when vice presidents didn’t have time to visit frontline staff to better understand their work.