Dr. Harish Pillai CEO, Aster Medicity Borderless Hospital Managers: A Personal Perspective

Dr Harish Pillai is the Chief Executive Officer at Aster Medicity, A $100 million flagship venture of DM Healthcare, prior to which he worked with different hospitals at the senior management level, and even successfully lead a couple of them in the span of over  a decade. His expertise extends from strategic planning to business planning in the healthcare sector particularly hospital management. He has garnered experience in this industry from across borders, ranging from Dubai to Egypt and India, with exposure to different work cultures and leadership styles.

Mr. Pillai gave an insightful session on “Borderless Hospital Managers”, based on his personal experiences and learnings from the industry. He defines a borderless manager as essentially a cosmopolitan individual who has the capability to lead a hospital and its staff, irrespective of its geographical location. He emphasized on the importance of being a cosmopolitan in order to have  openness towards different ethnicities, and he commended Indians for their cultural credentials as they possess a great deal of exposure to cultural diversities in their upbringing, and hence are naturally gifted with the cosmopolitan trait.

Further he spoke about different qualities that a manager needs to possess as a prerequisite to be a successful hospital manager; to list a few he pressed upon certain traits like high emotional quotient, strong family support, faster adaptability in the different cultural environments in which a hospital functions. According to him, the ability to adapt should be fast paced because as per the industry norms a manager’s span at a particular hospital is no more than a period of 3-4 years.

Further, he brought in several insights into strategic planning and its implications, and explained how it are different from a regular business model, which he proceeded to explain with snippets from his 7 years of experience leading a hospital in Cairo. Moving on, another important characteristic he insisted upon was possession of effective communication skills, wherein certain barriers to communication such as stereotyping, cognitive dissonance and prejudices should be overcome in order to achieve an efficient coordination and continuous support from one’s staff members.  One of the greatest and most crucial assets of a hospital organization is its people, its staff; hence recruitment of the right people is essential. He explained this with his experience of hiring best professionals from India for his different teams abroad. He talked about how the Indian Medical community lacks standardization, which is highly crucial for global sustenance of a medical professional.

In the end he concluded his session with his mantra of success:  strong fundamentals, managerial exposure, networking and certain other special competencies coupled with these principles accrued over a period of time. These attributes are critical in order to succeed in either of the types of projects, whether a Greenfield wherein one builds a hospital right from the scratch or a Turnaround where you have a more difficult role of strategic restructuring. Image

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