February 17, 2017
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group

THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN CEO: 5 Steps For Finding Your Next Leader

by Patti Moore


A big part of what I do is executive matchmaking, helping hospices connect with leaders who can pilot them safely through the shifting seas to the future. For those of you who are knee-deep in the search process, or who foresee an executive search in your future, here are some of the things I’ve learned in the 30+ years I’ve spent as a hospice leader, consultant and recruiter.

  1. Today’s hospice CEO/ED must understand not only the clinical operations of the organization, but also the business end. That doesn’t mean that candidates must have an MBA, but it does mean they must understand financials, profit and loss statements, and gross returns on investment. Candidates must also understand what it takes to provide enlightened customer service, inspire a culture of caring and accountability, and have an unwavering focus on quality care, while being innovative and realistic.
  2. The CEO/ED must be a big picture visionary while understanding the demands of day-to-day operations. In programs with fewer than 75 people on staff, it is inevitable that the leader is closer to the day-to-day functions. But remember, if you want your program to grow, your CEO/ED must have the bigger picture in view, and always be asking how the organization fits into the larger community, how best to serve the citizens of the service area, and identifying customers and referral sources needs.
  3. The culture of your organization and service area is crucially important to understand when hiring a new leader. Whether it’s a CEO/ED or a vice president or director, the fit has to be right. It does not matter if he or she is a Harvard graduate with 20 years of experience in hospice care: If that person’s not a good fit in terms of culture and personality, is not going to work. If you’re in a conservative part of the country where people are more focused on home and family, your next CEO/ ED should reflect those values.
  4. Maturity matters, and it’s a quality you should look for in leadership. I’m not talking about maturity in terms age, but rather, in life wisdom. I’ve worked with 35-year-olds whose life experiences have deepened them and given them wisdom beyond their years. I’ve also met some surprisingly immature executives twice that age.
  5. In your interviews at this level, you must talk to people about death because that is the business they will be in. Ask questions such as:
  • Have you experienced a loss of a loved one?
  • How do you deal with stress?
  • How do you deal with staff members who are facing their own challenges? Are you someone who holds everyone’s toes to the line without flexibility, or can you hold people accountable and still be understanding when life situations occur? Workers of the new generation are different from their parents. They want quality of life, they want flexible schedules, and they want time off to be with their friends and families. Leaders must understand the needs and concerns of the multiple generations of workers, from the baby boomers, generation X and Y, and the Millennials.


The new CEO/ED must be comfortable with a broad spectrum of responsibilities that comes with the complex business of hospice. Delivery of high quality professional care in a variety of settings, financial stability, fundraising, successful partnering with multiple organizations, local, state, and federal governmental regulations and oversight, policy reform, engaging volunteers at all levels, hiring and inspiring all levels of staff who will do this emotionally charged work well, day in and day out, are just some of the responsibilities of the hospice leader.


Most importantly, look for candidates who are passionate about this exquisite work, and who will balance the mission with the margin.


 Art from a Hospice Leadership Team workshop



Yes, there are saints among us: Here’s one of them: 


“The children were going to die.


Mohamed Bzeek knew that. But in his more than two decades as a foster father, he took them in anyway — the sickest of the sick in Los Angeles County’s sprawling foster care system.  He has buried about 10 children. Some died in his arms.


Now, Bzeek spends long days and sleepless nights caring for a bedridden 6-year-old foster girl with a rare brain defect. She’s blind and deaf. She has daily seizures. Her arms and legs are paralyzed.


Bzeek, a quiet, devout Libyan-born Muslim who lives in Azusa, just wants her to know she’s not alone in this life. 

“I know she can’t hear, can’t see, but I always talk to her,” he said. “I’m always holding her, playing with her, touching her. … She has feelings. She has a soul. She’s a human being.”


What makes a good life?

 What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life? As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Robert Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction. In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.


And on the lighter side… some of the funniest obits ever written. Reading these should be enough to convince you to write your own (before someone else does)!


Our wonderful clients are second to none when it comes to innovative ways to engage and enhance their communities!


Gilcrest Hospice of Baltimore is hosting a Spring Jazz Brunch April 23rd at the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and Cultural Center of Baltimore, to benefit Gilchrist Center Baltimore - Joseph Richey House; a special place with a unique and ambitious mission to serve the underprivileged and underserved, ensuring that all have access to safe, compassionate end of life care. Three decades after opening its doors, Joseph Richey House remains a vital resource for terminally-ill patients throughout Greater Baltimore, many with no able caregiver or home to call their own. For tickets and more information, visit their website.


Northeast Florida Community Hospice is taking registrations now for their Camp Healing Powers® program. This therapeutic weekend camp for children ages 7-17 who are grieving the death of a loved one returns to Marywood Feb. 24-26. More information.


I was delighted to see several of my colleagues at the Home Care 100 meeting in Amelia Island, Florida last week.  I’ll be in Indiana this week, and visiting various spots in sunny Florida the week after, meeting with clients and friends.


Welcome to Florida! Just watch out for the Venomous Snakes!

Pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy the big sky at our RiverCove Retreat Center
The Watershed Group
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