The Making of Great ASC Board Members & Administrators

12 Key Concepts

By Laura Dyrda
This article is reprinted from Becker’s ASC Review

Leadership can make or break a surgery center. The best centers have strong administrators and board members who motivate and guide the entire organization toward success in the future.

1. Vision. A clear vision will help the leader guide others effectively. “Leaders see the solution or goal and clearly define it,” says Joe Zasa, managing partner of ASD Management. “Vision keeps you focused, fueled and helps you finish.”

These three “F’s” — focus, fuel and finish — embody the best leadership qualities:

  • Focus — When vision is so compelling you cannot become distracted. But self awareness is also important. “Focus on the task but keep a third eye on yourself,” says Mr. Zasa. “Be spatially aware.”
  • Fueled — Communicate vision effectively to set the tone and provide positive reinforcement. Leaders can say, “I’ve watched you, and I like what I see. If you follow our plan and work hard, you will succeed and achieve results.”
  • Finish — Don’t quit, even when the going gets tough. “There are peaks and valleys in life. Hanging in there despite setbacks and interference and finishing strong is the solution,” says Mr. Zasa. “If your vision is so compelling, it will drive you and force you to hang in there and not quit. If you persevere by finishing, you will generally be rewarded.”

2. Perseverance. Perseverance is especially important because even when efforts don’t succeed, the ability to avoid quitting and finishing strong projects an important message to staff. “Since we become what we think of ourselves, it is imperative that you don’t quit because finishing builds confidence in yourself and gives you the best chance to succeed the next time,” says Mr. Zasa.

3. Communication. Communication becomes a second key concept to relay your vision to others and bring them onboard to work toward a common goal. “It is essentially that you get people to buy into your vision,” says Mr. Zasa. “The more you communicate and the more they understand, then the more they care, and if they care, there is no stopping them. Roll with the tide, not against.”

Key tenets for effective communication:

  • Set clear and concise expectations
  • Project genuine and realistic optimism
  • Infuse confidence into the vision
  • Be a storyteller

“People retain stories,” says Mr. Zasa. “The best speakers are those who tell stories and paint pictures with words, not PowerPoint presentations.”

4. Encouragement. When carrying out your vision, encourage others and do for them, not for you. Treat everyone fairly, but not necessarily equally because people are all different. This shows leaders care about their team and could limit conflict and bad feelings.

“Make people feel special, but do this genuinely,” says Mr. Zasa. “They must genuinely know you care about them. When they don’t want to disappoint you, you are succeeding. Additionally, don’t contradict people. They will take it emotionally and you can’t ever reason with them. It’s okay to disagree; it’s not okay to be disagreeable.”

5. Loyalty. Leadership is influencing people toward a common goal, and leaders who take the time to understand their team and express loyalty will reap the benefits. “Take up for your people. If they’re on your team, have their back and be their advocate,” says Mr. Zasa. “You must care about your people, create that connection, be accessible and constantly let them know you care about them.”

6. Respect. Emotional bonds can motivate team members toward the common vision and produce outstanding results. Respect each other by paying attention to new ideas, thoughts and life events to strengthen this bond going forward.

“The highest complement that you can pay someone is to give him or her your undivided and uninterrupted attention,” says Mr. Zasa. “Respect each others’ opinions and get input before making decisions. Your people are part of your team and a part of the process.”

7. Recruitment. Since team members play such an integral part in a strong organization, it’s important to recruit well. “Recruiting, vision and execution wins championships,” says Mr. Zasa. “Be a fisherman for the right people.”

Don’t tolerate complacency. Figure out whether employees are content or committed to the organization. “We need those who are committed and demand it,” says Mr. Zasa.

8. Empowerment. Once the right people are in place, empower them so they can build confidence and assert themselves to help the organization grow. Teach them to identify leadership and motivate others around them.

“Motivation is for a particular moment and is important, but empowerment can last a lifetime,” says Mr. Zasa. “Recruit well, give them a clear vision that they understand, and then let them do their job. Delegation is the ultimate in levering.”

9. Lead by example. If leaders set good examples for their employees and team members, they can demand others do things write and work hard as well. Additional key qualities for strong leaders include:

  • Transparency — Show vulnerability and transparency to build trust.
  • Love — “You can’t coach them if you don’t love them,” Eddie Robinson once said.
  • Kindness — It doesn’t cost anything to be nice, but it costs a lot to break your word or be malignant.
  • Honesty — Tell people the truth to show integrity
  • Accountability — Recognize your mistakes and take responsibility to endear team members

“Hard work builds confidence and hones competence,” says Mr. Zasa. “Additionally, show class and humility. You are who you are, not what you do. Go about your business with class. Show your class all the time and demand it from those who rely on you.”

10. Competence. Those who rely on you should also respect you and come to you with their problems. Colin Powell once said “When people stop bringing you their problems, you are done as a leader.” Show you are competent with proficient preparation and work. Have a plan and vision and then focus on execution on the micro as well as macro level.

“Keep selling your vision but also be sure to focus on the small tasks; the daily things you need to do to win,” says Mr. Zasa. “Doing the small things right adds up to big wins and fulfillment of your vision.”

11. Focus. Mr. Zasa employs the W.I.N technique, which stands for “What’s Important Now.” Keep an open mind to change with time and strive toward success. You can barrow ideas from the best in the industry — as well as thought leaders in other industries — to guide your team as a successful whole.

12. Put the team first. When leaders realize lifting up the team becomes most important, they’ll be able to accomplish work much more effectively. “When you realize that power or influence begets responsibility for others and not personal gain, you separate yourself from other leaders and move into a select group,” says Mr. Zasa. “Do for others and enjoy watching others succeed and grow — it is so much more rewarding and enriching.”

© 2014 Becker’s ASC Review.

Reprinted with permission from Becker’s ASC Review.