by Thomas H. Lee

Over the last half century, for the CEOs and senior managers of health care organizations, the meaning of leadership has gone through two transformations. In the kinder, gentler past, financial pressures were mild, and quality was considered unmeasurable. In the absence of compelling metrics for “output” or pressures to contain costs, business success depended on preserving relationships, brand building, and crisis management, and these were the skills prized in health care leaders.

The surge in medical progress that began in the 1960s, which resulted from increased investments in research in the years after World War II, drove the first transformation away from this status quo. Untreatable diseases became treatable, ...

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