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Physicians as Systemic Change Leaders: Six Applications of Polarity Thinking in Support of Physician Leadership Development

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Centralization and Decentralization

Joy was brought in to a healthcare system to prepare three of their high potential physician leaders as possible successors to their existing C-Suite leaders who were facing retirement within the next three to five years. As Joy and a team of coaches worked with these three physician leaders, they noticed tensions between advocacy for their individual organizations, and required conformity to system-wide practices. These physician leaders were vice presidents in three different entities within one state. These three leaders shared complaints they were hearing about their organization’s inability to quickly respond to conditions unique to their geographical area. They believed the corporate offices didn’t understand the demands being placed in their home area. Since this theme was shared amongst these three leaders, the coaching team felt that helping the leaders leverage the polarities of Centralization and Decentralization would contribute greatly to their becoming more effective system leaders. Through this work, they organized informal gatherings to share common perspectives and engage corporate leaders in system-wide changes to remain competitive and viable.

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