Why You Need to Hire Physician Intrapreneurs

by Arlen Meyers

Why You Need to Hire Physician Intrapreneurs

… and what to do with them once you have them.

Surthriving in the brave new world of sickcare requires not just a new playbook, but players with new skill sets to execute the plans. Knowledge technicians are as obsolete as an NFL team with a running game but without a passing and special teams plan. Unfortunately, HR managers are getting it wrong.

But, do you know how to recruit for creativity and imagination? What will you support creative people once you have?

If you are looking to employ physicians, you need to recruit physician intrapreneurs. not knowledge technicians. Physician intrapreneurship has particular challenges.

Those responsible for hiring and managing the new sick care workforce should factor these things into the hiring decision:

1. Knowledge technicians will eventually be replaced by AI and other technologies, placing special emphasis on a doctor’s comunication and empathy skills

2. There are many reasons why doctors don’t play nice with others and they need to be addressed.

3. Only about 1% of doctors have an entrepreneurial mindset

4. You need to give knowledge technicians the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to evolve into managers, to leaders, to leaderpreneurs

5. It is almost impossible to pick identify and select people with a real or nascent entrepreneurial mindset. Most hide their innerpreneurial tendencies for fear of being eliminated by the BIG MEDICINE corporate immune system

6. Creating strategic alignment between the patient and profit mission is a full time job

7. Entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship is not about starting companies. It is about creating user defined value through the deployment of innovation.

8. Doctors matter. DISing them won’t work

9. Intrapreneurs are employed physicians trying to act like entrepreneurs in their organization. They are fighting a two front war. Don’t make it any harder than it already is.

10. You won’t find many who fit the bill, so be sure you celebrate the champions and use them as role models for others. Don’t make these mistakes when it comes to overlooking internal talent.

11. Renters act differently than owners

12. Quality of care is not improved in employed physician organizations.

How change agents respond to frustration is based on 1) whether they feel they have the ability, status or power to change things, and 2) whether they are committed to do so. In other words, depending on whether they are willing and able to engage, they will lead (attacker), follow (defender), get out of the way (disengage or be a sabateur) or quit.

Here are 7 reasons why your best docs might quit. Here are some danger signs that they are headed for the exits:

  1. Their work productivity has decreased more than usual.
  2. They have acted less like a team player than usual.
  3. They have been doing the minimum amount of work more frequently than usual.
  4. They have been less interested in pleasing their manager than usual.
  5. They have been less willing to commit to long-term timelines than usual.
  6. They have exhibited a negative change in attitude.
  7. They have exhibited less effort and work motivation than usual.
  8. They have exhibited less focus on job related matters than usual.
  9. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their current job more frequently than usual.
  10. They have expressed dissatisfaction with their supervisor more frequently than usual.
  11. They have left early from work more frequently than usual.
  12. They have lost enthusiasm for the mission of the organization.
  13. They have shown less interest in working with customers than usual.

OK. Hopefully, I’ve convinced you to hire physician intrapreneurs. Now what should you do next?

1. Provide them with the knowledge, resources, networks, mentors and experiential learning they need to succeed.

2. Create a transparent innovation leadership system. Give them some PEARLS

3. Support champions, facilitate team building and develop Physician Intrapreneurs in Residence (PIIRs) to support peers.

4. Set strategy, define the vision and get out of the way

5. Let them fail without labeling them as “disruptive physicians”

6. Be sure they are integrated into your regional innovation ecosystem

7. Absolutely, positively, walk the walk. Never promise something you can’t deliver. If you do, you will break the trust you are trying to create and never regain it.

8. Be sure you have the structure, process and culture that fertilizes imaginative physician intrapreneurs. Do what it takes, within reason, to make your doctors happy. Happy doctors are safer, more enjoyable to work with, make happy patients , and , according to positive psychologist, are more creative, imaginative and entrepreneurial.

9. Not everyone is motivated by the same things. Some want time. Some want money. Some just want revenge, driven by anger to make things right based on their values.

10. Think big, but seek and leverage small wins.

Pay attention to these 10 reasons why your doctors will quit:

1. They are not respected as people at work. They are viewed as production units, rather than valued collaborators.

2. They don’t have the right tools, equipment, information and basic operational requirements they need to do their job. When they ask for tools or guidance they get yelled at or ignored. What kind of company would impede its employees’ ability to do their jobs, then get mad at them for asking?

3. Their employer disregards their personal life and has no compassion for their obligations outside of work.

4. Their immediate supervisor is a tyrant, unqualified for their job, or both.

5. They are tired of being lied to.

6. They have no visibility into the future and no confidence their leaders will do the right thing, either from a business standpoint or a human standpoint.

7. They are tired of dealing with the politics in their workplace.

8. They are underpaid and overworked.

9. They go to work every day and push a rock uphill, trying in vain to get forward motion on their projects. They’re tired of pushing.

10. They have to watch every word they say and every move they make, because the knives are out and they could get in trouble — or get fired — for almost any reason.

The face of intrapreneurship is changing in many industries other than medicine.

You also need to dial back your corporate innovation immune system.

There is a reasonable chance that the physician intrepreneurs you hired are already looking for another job.

Here are 10 mistakes to avoid if you want to prevent losing our best physician intrapreneurs.However, losing your best is actually good for you for many reasons.

Recruiting, developing and retaining physician intrapreneurs is a difficult task. Here are some ideas on how to recruit for group creativity.

Despite all this, try not to buy into some myths about intrapreneurship. As noted, to start, innovation must be recognized as a permanent function of a successful company, just like other business functions such as accounting, operations, sales, and finance. It’s hard to imagine a large company without a marketing department or division, yet less than 50 years ago marketing as a business function, profession, and department did not exist. The same is true of innovation today. If companies want to be able to consistently innovate, they need dedicated innovation professionals to carry out the functions of discovery, development, incubation, acceleration, and scaling.

But this innovation division can’t be siloed off from the rest of the business. Company incubators and innovation labs that are isolated from the rest of the organization tend to have limited success, because they are disconnected from a larger system. Game-changing innovations require a holistic approach across the organization.

Simply hiring doctors does not improve the quality of care. To thrive, however, HR managers and recruiters need to to have new tarkets in their sights and provide recruits with the tools they need to add value not just to themselves, but to their organizations as well. It’s the only way to get to the playoffs.

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Arlen MyersArlen Meyers, MD, MBA is the President and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org and co-editor of Digital Health Entrepreneurship

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