I was recently asked, as a CEO, how difficult is it to take a position for the good of the organization, but one that may not be shared by my board, the community, the medical staff or the employees. First off, if my board is not in a favor of a position that I take, chances are my position will change unless it runs contrary to my values and those of the System. I will tell you that it has gotten easier over the years, but it can be really difficult, especially for new managers.
When we consolidated the two hospitals to form the Western Maryland Health System, it was a time in my life that being liked by everyone was important to me. That changed virtually overnight. Death threats, unkind treatment toward my wife and daughters, letters to the editor every day in the newspaper, the anonymous letters calling you every name in the book and the list goes on. During that time, I learned a great deal about myself and about people. I realized that it was impossible to be liked by everyone and that it was my job to make difficult decisions. If the decision was best for the System, then so be it. As for people, many don't like change; but if you effectively communicate and educate, many will come around. For those who don't, they either eventually come around or choose to no longer be associated with your organization, as was the case with the affiliation.