Building Resiliency in Your Healthcare Organization – Insights from Marcus Buckingham

We’ve been attending a whole lot of virtual Health IT conferences lately. We always attended a lot of conferences, but it’s pretty unique to have virtual conferences because you can theoretically attend all of them. Of course, you may only have time to attend part. Quite an interesting world we live in when it comes to conferences, but I digress.

This week I’ve been dipping into the CHIME 2020 Digital Recharge event. This is the virtual conference from CHIME that replaces the CHIME Fall Forum event. Virtual CHIME has been a bit tough for me since I don’t have access to the CHIME focus group sessions like I would in person and those are my favorite part. Not to mention the CIO conversations that happen over lunch, in the halls, and at the bar late at night. However, CHIME did put together a great group of keynotes.

One of those keynotes was Marcus Buckingham who is in my list of top 5 keynotes of all time. In this case, I liked him even more because he didn’t bring one of his regular keynotes (which are still awesome), but brought a message adapted to COVID-19 on building resiliency. If you’re a CHIME member, see if you can find the recording. It’s well worth your time, but here are some key takeaways from his keynote.

I love that trust builds resiliency. That’s an amazing concept to consider as a leader.

I thought it was really useful for Marcus to admit that some people come built in with more resiliency than others. However, he also points out that some portion of resiliency is influenced by your surroundings.

A leader that creates a view for what’s to come and what’s around the corner is one example of the way a leader can build resiliency in their organization. Not that you have to get out your crystal balls, but you can provide a view into what to expect for your organization.  You can share with them the things that will be true in the future for your organization and that are values that won’t change.  Doing so provides a view of what’s around the corner which builds resiliency.

I think we can all relate to this. Although, it’s pretty amazing when he says it. I think most of us feel this intuitively. He went on to say that change isn’t the issue. We’re ok to change, but the unknown that can come with change is what scares us. The more you can help people understand the unknown, the more resilient they’ll be.

This concept pairs well with the previous one. I’d highlight that it’s probably not the risk that creates the resiliency. Instead, it’s the organization that’s made it clear how risk will be treated in the organization. This goes back to people not liking the unknown. If they know that their risk will be rewarded and accepted (even if it fails), then there is less unknown and they are more willing to try things. Pretty amazing idea.

This idea came from a point that Marcus made about the need to check in regularly with your people. He suggested you ask some open ended questions about how you can help that person vs meeting with them to fix something (or I’d add, judge something). These type of regular 15 minute meetings will build a lot of resiliency in your organization. However, I can imagine many leaders saying the above or more simply “I’m too busy.” That’s a sign of bad leadership.

This idea was a bit tangential to the conversation since it came in response to the Q&A where he was asked which of his books was his favorite. It was so good that I had to share it too. The idea of building sameness is interesting and worth a lot more consideration.

I loved this other way of looking at leadership when it comes to the future and building resiliency. Vagueness really is a problem in so many healthcare organizations.  As Rasu Shrestha pointed out in his keynote today (recording available now), a leader’s job isn’t to provide certainty.  It’s to provide clarity.

What a wonderful way to look at the future. I wonder how many people will continue the communication and agility that has been needed during COVID-19 after the pandemic and how many will go back to old habits.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.