Five Things You Need To Be A Highly Effective Leader During Turbulent Times
[An interview with PatientKeeper CEO Phil Meer]
Can you share with our readers a story from your own experience about how you lead your team during uncertain or difficult times?
It was my first month as CEO of PatientKeeper, March 2020. I came prepared to launch a new era at the company. We were about to exhibit at HIMSS, the annual healthcare IT industry event that traditionally has been our biggest and best opportunity to engage our customers for feedback, launch new products, and build our sales pipeline. Within two weeks after starting my new position, COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, HIMSS was cancelled, the stock market was crashing, and the financial stability, capacity and equipment required for the U.S. healthcare system to function was in doubt. To make this tangible, I could not even shake hands with my new staff, as I observed fear in their eyes in the first days and weeks of the pandemic. Moreover, the economic uncertainty required PatientKeeper to adjust financially.
The first priority of any new leader should be to build trust; it was seemingly impossible to do this in an environment where I had to execute some very drastic and immediate actions without the benefit of a workforce that knew me and trusted me. So I was forced to adapt. “Management-by-walking-around” was impossible; instead, I made an effort to speak, or Zoom, or WebEx, one-on-one with as many employees as possible, at least eight per week. I’ve been doing that for five months now, and will continue to do it until I’ve connected with all 200+ PatientKeeper employees. The same goes for our customers.