Insights & Wisdom from Healthcare Leader Ben McKibbens

Ben McKibbens led Valley Baptist Health System in southern Texas, for twenty-five remarkable years. During that time the health system experienced unprecedented growth, guided by the servant leadership of McKibbens, whom I am privileged to call my friend and colleague. Though now retired, timeless insights and wisdom for current and future healthcare leaders can still be learned from this highly successful senior healthcare leader.

 

When asked what insights and suggestions he would offer to current and future healthcare leaders, McKibbens made five points. First, borrowing from James A. Baker, McKibbens stressed the importance of preparation; “Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” He added to that a 6th ‘P’ that very easily destroys the principle of preparation, and that is Procrastination; “Here’s what happens: if we wait until the last minute, there is a rush that minimizes our thoughtful, careful planning, and most importantly, creates pressure and stress that can be very frustrating and even unhealthy… to wait until the last minute, you seldom get it right.”

 

The second point McKibbens made was to “Win where you are.” Referring to a dialogue between renowned football coaches Bear Bryant and Eddie Robinson, McKibbens noted that when Robinson downplayed his achievement of surpassing Bryant’s record of wins – attributing his success to the fact that his competition wasn’t as difficult as Bryant’s – Bryant responded “Whatever league you’re in, whatever level, win where you are.” His point: Do your very best in whatever place or situation you are in – that’s what matters. McKibbens explained,

 

“I couldn’t help but think, how many CEOs have boards that are totally different from the ones they’ve experienced in the past. Circumstances, employees, physicians’ needs, problems – they’re all different. And, I really found this out fast – what works in one place might not work in another place. If you’re not careful that can be very frustrating, because people are different, they see things differently. So you have to figure out where the people are and what the circumstances are and work within those environments.”

 

McKibbens third point was: “Attract those people that you can depend on, and then take good care of them.” He followed that by urging leaders to make sure they include their family – especially their spouse – and that their family understands what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.

 

McKibbens’ fourth point appealed to healthcare leaders to “Set standards early on that comply with a worthwhile mission.” He went on to urge leaders to “Make sure you function with transparency, honesty, fairness, appropriateness, and within legal limits. Set reasonable and attainable goals developed with good advice from appropriate people.”

 

McKibbens concluded by encouraging healthcare leaders to “Be grateful for the opportunities that are afforded you by being in that job to begin with. When you’re grateful, you respect the job, and you don’t want to do anything to cast mud on it.”

 

Excellent and relevant wisdom from one of America’s successful healthcare leaders! Whether you are currently a senior healthcare leader, or you are just starting out, you can benefit from learning and applying the wisdom of Ben McKibbens:

  • Prepare (“Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance!”) and don’t Procrastinate!
  • “Win Where You Are.”
  • “Attract people that you can depend on, and then take good care of them.”
  • “Set standards early on that comply with and support a worthwhile mission.”
  • “Be grateful for the opportunities that are afforded you.”

For more articles based on an extensive one-on-one interview with Ben McKibbens, please go to AmericasHealthcareLeaders.com
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

Featured posts

Archives

“Dan Nielsen is a gifted facilitator and inspiring presenter. He truly has a passion for leadership and for getting to the heart of the matter. He knows what it takes to motivate both individuals and groups and genuinely leads by the example he sets.”

Sharla K JonesVP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank

__________

“Dan is the ultimate professional. He has exceptional relationship development and group facilitation skills. He is a keen observer and is able to offer accurate insights into business relationships.”

- Brenda Moon, Vice President Client Executive, MedAssets

__________

“Dan is a forward thinking leader who is optimistic, collaborative and open to change. He is trusted and respected by colleagues. His speaking style is enthusiastic, confident and engaging. You know that a successful outcome will be delivered when Dan is leading the way.”

- Rick Provencher, Director Member Solutions, Amerinet

__________

“Dan is a great communicator and inspirational speaker. His message is positive and always very motivating. I recommend Dan to help any organization optimize their employees' potential.”

- John Penhollow, Director of Corporate Accounts, Medical Action Industriesi

__________

“Dan is a gifted leader who has the extraordinary ability to develop a strategic vision and mobilize an organization to achieve it. He operates with great integrity and character. Dan completely understands business dynamics and utilizes that understanding to optimize exceptional leadership.”

- Stacy Shillan, IV Infusion & Respiratory Services, Walgreens

__________

“Dan has a passion for leadership and for providing the tools for others to become effective, insightful leaders.”

- Linda DeWolf, Founder, Travel Well

__________

More Testimonials>>