Why Do Executive Healthcare Leaders Choose Interim Roles?

Some of the most seasoned veterans of the healthcare frontlines are operational executives and directors with lots of experience and energy, but less patience for organizational “formalities.” Complete professional commitment can be tempered later in a career with a desire for further education, travel, and cultural experiences requiring more local engagement than a two-week all-inclusive can provide.

Combined with this demographic trend, healthcare organizations are tightly controlling for value and cost equations and are constrained by fixed economies and budgets. Many senior leadership healthcare positions prove, at times, to be more cost-effective when project-based rather than permanent position-based. These conditions are ideal for getting top executives and senior managers to engage in temporary assignments as the perfect solution to mid-career or later professional standing.

Individual Motives Differ

What motivates the decision to make the leap from permanent to temporary? It varies from person to person, of course, but certain factors play a role in supporting the general trend.

Some of the best leaders are motivated by a sense of goal-oriented achievement, over the value of time spent in pursuit of a goal. Fields of technical knowledge and systems of best practice move freely across borders and boundaries. This makes professional expertise and executive teamwork skills highly portable and transferrable, and highly valuable to the client organization.

The Rewards Are Many and Varied

Because of this value, interim leaders can structure their situation to make high levels of income net of living and housing costs (subsidized) and net of substantial sabbatical and vacation time. By working temporary assignments, they are embracing a lifestyle based on a combination of stability and mobility, with managed income strategies. This allows senior operational directors and executive officers the latitude to enjoy the best of both worlds in their personal and their professional lives.

It may be for a set period of months or a year or more, perhaps to implement a particular program or policy objective. Whatever the varieties of assignments there may be, the role makes you a key member of the leadership team. There is a real opportunity to make a difference and a set period in which to do it. After that, the choice of what’s next, again, is yours to decide.

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