Surviving the transitions: How to prepare for a change in leadership with Lisa Spengler

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Hi there, Lisa. How are you doing?


MODERN HEALTHCARE: I’m so glad that you’ll be able to spare a while to speak with us about this as a result of when this matter got here up, you had been the primary individual that got here to my thoughts. Let me simply begin with a few knowledge factors to sort of body our dialogue after which we’ll go into the questions.

The primary knowledge level is that this 12 months — annual turnover in hospitals stands at about 19.5% and that’s a rise of 1.7% in comparison with final 12 months. The typical turnover for a bedside RN, for instance, is $40,000. So, when a nurse quits, changing that nurse prices $40,000. After which in line with the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the typical tenure of staff age 55 to 64 is 9.9 years, which is greater than triple the tenure for ages 25 to 34, which is simply 2.8 years.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: For people who find themselves 45 to 54, it’s about 7.5 years. You could have been on the College of Chicago for far more than these time frames. So, I wished to simply begin by speaking about your individual tenure at College of Chicago Medication and the way you navigate when change occurs. You’ve been there by way of management modifications, after which additionally modifications inside your individual division.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: When these modifications occur, how do you get to know the brand new chief? What do you discover works properly to construct a rapport with them?

LISA SPENGLER: I believe there’s some apparent issues like simply being open and trustworthy and approachable. As a result of clearly it doesn’t matter what position a brand new chief’s in, you realize, they’re only a individual and so they wish to really feel welcomed. I attempt my hardest to be as open and as obtainable as I can. I imply that to me is simply an apparent factor, however I do know — I’ve seen conditions the place persons are sort of closed off to new leaders and I usually discover myself going out of my solution to introduce myself to somebody to say, “Hey, you realize, by the best way, I’ve been right here a very very long time. So, be happy to ask me questions.” And I do know that’s particular to my scenario, however I believe that goes a great distance simply serving to somebody really feel welcome.

I believe, too, what I’ve realized through the years — particularly as a result of my position is in digital — not assuming that this individual actually understands what you do. So, discovering a solution to distill and envision the fundamentals for what they should find out about what your group does and what you do, and the way it makes a distinction in a tangible approach. Within the case of digital, sharing dashboards on web site well being or truly displaying this stuff. As a result of in some instances, too, if you happen to’ve bought a brand new chief who’s a bit of bit older and has come from a extra conventional advertising place for instance — to current this info in an easy-to-understand approach, so that you simply’re not obscuring the details.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: I believe each chief would respect that. If their new group got here to them and stated, “Right here’s a dashboard of what it is advisable to know to get began.” That’s a great orientation for that new chief.

LISA SPENGLER: Yeah. One thing that I actually have realized to do over time — and I needed to work on this myself — was studying to work by way of my assumptions on what works and never being too inflexible when a brand new individual comes on board. And to remind myself that I’m not proper about every part.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: That’s like a great life lesson normally.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: I simply remembered that after I labored with you, I simply — I considered you because the go-to individual. And I think about that different group members and even new folks lean on you in the identical approach, as soon as they see the quantity of data you could have in regards to the well being system.

LISA SPENGLER: Yeah. I get it and I keep in mind, too, regardless that it has been a very very long time. I keep in mind being the beginner and never understanding who to ask. Realizing that you may’t all the time ask your boss for every part — that there are different folks you need to be going to as properly. So, simply remembering that and being obtainable.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: So, new individual is on boarded. They’re getting settled in. What are among the steps you’re taking to evaluate if you happen to’re going to work properly with this new individual and this new chief, and the way you’ll work with them?

LISA SPENGLER: One factor that’s actually necessary to ascertain early on is to suss out their communication fashion — how they prefer to obtain info. I’ve seen some pitfalls the place if you happen to flood them with an excessive amount of info, they sort of shut down and so they’re overwhelmed. And it’s important to do not forget that they’re not solely attending to know their group and who they’re going to guide — they’re additionally attending to know all the group. They’ve in all probability bought like so many huge floodgates happening with individuals who need their time, particularly if their position has been open for some time.

Set up, you realize, do they prefer to have conferences and check-ins? Do they prefer to get within the weeds? I’ve had some vice presidents who wished to get into the actual deep weeds of content material and what we had been doing. And I’ve additionally had leaders who would favor that we talk by way of a sort of a hierarchical fashion, the place my director is presenting the work that we do. So, setting expectations and understanding that perhaps it’ll change over time. However I believe that is the primary factor is you’ll be able to assist them by not contributing to that floodgate, but additionally giving them what they should know, that they are often actionable and efficient of their position from the get-go.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: And wouldn’t it’s nice if the leaders knew that about themselves and will sort of offer you that heads-up?

LISA SPENGLER: Proper. I believe that does require a bit of little bit of teaching, too. As a result of I’ve additionally had the conditions the place somebody asks for a full deck — and then you definitely discover out that they by no means learn it. And also you’re like, what?! After which, you’ll be able to have a intestine examine. You understand, after they get to know you and so they say, “You understand what? I actually like these sorts of studies you do or I’d actually prefer to have a half-hour check-in with you,” you realize?

MODERN HEALTHCARE: So, what about recommendation for up-and-coming leaders in healthcare? They see a transition is coming and for a lot of people, that creates anxiousness as a result of it may imply a change in your position. It may imply — for some folks, worst-case situation is that they get changed. There’s a job loss. They wish to be proactive. What ought to they do earlier than the brand new chief even exhibits as much as show their worth?

LISA SPENGLER: Don’t watch for the directives. You understand, even earlier than the individual begins, begin to look forward for alternatives for issues that you may enhance. You understand, it might take them months to get on board. You wish to exhibit that you may maintain issues buzzing and on schedule, and that you simply’re not a ache level. I might additionally say, you realize, if there’s one thing that you simply’re dying to vary about your position or your group’s position, or the sort of work that you simply do — package deal that concept with the way you suppose that work may very well be completed higher. As a result of this can be a nice time to vary course, when a brand new chief comes on board.

Embracing studying new expertise, taking on-line courses — I imply there’s so many instruments on the market now. I believe, too, one thing that we all the time do within the net world is like actually look to your mannequin rivals. Not solely those in your discipline — like in my case, taking a look at different hospital web sites — however taking a look at digital experiences which are nice normally. Go exterior of your world. Get some concepts for shaking issues up. It’s an ideal time to current your case for issues that you realize may very well be higher, and likewise perhaps some issues that you simply shouldn’t be doing anymore.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Let’s discuss a bit of bit extra about simply kind of your private tenure. Offline, you’ve talked about to me that your job satisfaction has truly grown. No one is saying that, proper?


MODERN HEALTHCARE: So, assist me perceive: Why are you extra glad now than you could have been prior to now? Contemplating, you realize, lots of people are actually struggling proper now.

LISA SPENGLER: I believe I’ve been blessed within the final couple of years that I’ve actually loved among the management modifications which have occurred. What comes with age normally, I believe is being extra stable and cozy in your expertise.


LISA SPENGLER: Definitely, there are occasions after I get anxious. And, you realize, each time we have had a management change, it’s all the time been an anxious time, too. However I believe I’m simply extra mature and capable of climate the storm a bit of bit higher as a result of I’ve been by way of it so many instances. A few of it’s simply the truth that I actually benefit from the folks I’m working with. However I will even say that I see a silver lining within the new means for extra flexibility, and dealing from residence, and simply sort of how firms since COVID have been extra open to embracing a versatile work schedule.


LISA SPENGLER: So, regardless that I nonetheless have a tendency to essentially work sort of the identical hours as earlier than — I’m only a lot happier that I’m not driving to work any longer, that I’m capable of work at home more often than not. I believe it’s been an enormous wakeup name for all kinds of organizations that they should simply be like, why are we forcing folks into this field once they can nonetheless be productive and happier in different methods? And to permit staff to weigh in on how they need it to be. Prior to now, it was far more inflexible and I used to be — I imply, I used to be all the time anxious about like, “Gee, I’d have to take a day and work at home.” And it all the time felt like a scary dialog, which is kind of foolish. However, I believe that’s all prior to now.


LISA SPENGLER: That’s a part of why I’m happier now. Nevertheless it’s additionally, I’m only a curious individual normally and that retains me going, too.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Yeah. In earlier podcast episodes, we’ve talked loads about burnout.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: How have you ever kind of averted that through the years? And when you could have skilled it, what have you ever completed to beat it?

LISA SPENGLER: One thing that I believe we must always always remember is that it’s not a weak spot to ask for assist.


LISA SPENGLER: I used to all the time really feel like, properly if I didn’t get my work completed, then I simply wanted to dip into my free time and make it occur. And I noticed it as like my very own failing, not as a — properly, this can be a work-life steadiness factor and I want to deal with this with my supervisor or, you realize, with simply the division, when it comes to their expectations. What my priorities are, and to maintain them clear and to ask for assist after I want them. And to have the ability to say, “You understand what? No, I’m not going to spend my Sunday afternoon engaged on this presentation.” Or, you realize, as a salaried individual, to grasp these issues may occur right here and there often, however to talk up about it. Actually, it’s setting boundaries. And actually, once more, it’s not a weak spot to say you need assistance.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: Yup. You talked about earlier about protecting your self contemporary. Seeing what new talent you’ll be able to add to your device belt — particularly if you realize new management is coming in. Inform me a bit about your individual progress. Type of in your position and your talent set through the years, how have you ever been capable of sustain, keep related, and keep priceless? At the same time as new leaders have in all probability are available in and checked out you and stated, “Hmm, this Lisa lady …”


MODERN HEALTHCARE: How have you ever been capable of learn to kind of keep forward of their curve?

LISA SPENGLER: I’ve talked about this earlier. I’m a reasonably curious individual. That additionally helps with what we had been speaking about with burnout. I’ve grown into quite a lot of the roles and the work that I do now, like search engine marketing and pay-per-click promoting, and so on. I used to be the one who simply realized these things. There was no one else on our group who did it, and I used to be studying as the sphere had modified over time. It was like, properly this can be a new expectation. I have to — I’m engaged on the web site, I want to grasp how search works.

I simply needed to do it. I discovered that that made me priceless as a result of then I used to be capable of exhibit how I might make modifications. After which swiftly, we’re rating greater. Or I noticed alternatives for web page search campaigns that will assist herald new sufferers and, you realize, discovering a solution to package deal that, and I’m getting the price range for it, and so on. There was nobody else doing that for the group earlier than I did.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: So, simply seeing what the gaps are?


MODERN HEALTHCARE: Seeing the way it meshes together with your talent set, after which simply diving in and simply sort of taking possession.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: That’s superior.

LISA SPENGLER: In the event you’re in an rising discipline, not solely are you having to be taught the device to use to the work you do, however you even have a task that it is advisable to educate folks on the way it works. As a result of, you realize, I nonetheless get invited to numerous conferences the place typically I simply have to offer some primary tips about what they’re taking a look at and what their expectations needs to be.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: I believe that’s any individual’s step to point out their worth. Have the ability to educate folks on what you do.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: So, final query. And this one is extra, kind of, basic recommendation. So, in a earlier podcast with Jason Hutton — he’s the VP of HR for Entry Group Well being — he talked about folks coming out and in of healthcare now. Individuals are elevating their hand and saying, “Hey, I’m thinking about career-changing into healthcare due to the pandemic. I’m way more impressed now. I really feel like this can be a calling.” After which you could have people who find themselves coming in with non-traditional backgrounds and so they really feel like that is the place they wish to be.

For folk who’re thinking about a long-term profession in healthcare — significantly ladies who is likely to be juggling quite a lot of different obligations — what recommendation would you could have for them to have a long-term profession like yours the place the satisfaction grows over time?

LISA SPENGLER: Oh, wow. Like we mentioned earlier, being curious and likewise simply the inner networking, too. You understand, asking questions, wanting not simply — not simply internally but additionally externally. For people who find themselves doing issues that you simply’re thinking about doing and asking them how they bought there.

I believe in healthcare, there are many folks you’ll be able to be taught from within the group. They’ve sort of a — a consensus that we’re all there to do good and to assist sufferers. And to make issues higher for science, for treating folks — that I discover that it attracts people who find themselves extra constructive and goal-oriented in that vogue. They usually are usually open to working with you. I’ve been pleasantly shocked by that. Seeing that you’re there for that widespread good even when, like, in my case — I’ve nothing to do with scientific care, however I remind myself how necessary the work is that we do and serving to folks discover the care that they want.

LISA SPENGLER: I believe that is in all probability relevant to anyone, however understanding when to let go —


LISA SPENGLER: I believe that years in the past, I had these assumptions about how issues needs to be. And I’ve needed to remind myself after I’ve been unsuitable, what I’ve realized from that, and after I’ve been pleasantly shocked. And simply to be humble in that approach. After which to have the ability to let go and work collectively for the better good ultimately. And I discover that I’m way more — I’m only a happier individual normally after I’m not upset about one thing that I can’t actually change.

MODERN HEALTHCARE: I believe if there’s something we’ve realized during the last two years, it’s mainly —


MODERN HEALTHCARE: Effectively, what you are concerned about as a result of some issues are simply out of your arms.


MODERN HEALTHCARE: Thanks a lot for making the time. This was actually good perception.

LISA SPENGLER: Completely.

OUTRO COMMENTS: Thanks, Lisa Spengler, on your perception on longevity at your healthcare group, and the right way to navigate these management modifications.

Once more, I’m your host, Kadesha Smith, CEO of CareContent. We assist well being methods attain their goal audiences by way of digital advertising that focuses on the best content material.

Search for extra episodes of Subsequent Up at, or subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or your most well-liked podcatcher. In the event you’ve been having fun with Subsequent Up, please go forward and depart us a overview in your most well-liked podcatcher as properly. Thanks once more for listening.

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