HPIC’s CEO, Rick Farlow, is continuing the CEO Conversations’ with our next guest, Greg Harvard.
George Regional Health System (GRHS) welcomed Chief Executive Officer, Greg Harvard in 2015. Mr. Harvard has over 18 years of healthcare experience and has held an array of positions in the healthcare industry.
As a native and life-long resident of George County, Mr. Havard understands how important this health system is to the community. Mr. Havard and his wife Shay have two daughters, Faith and Ella.
What drove you to pursue a career in the healthcare industry?
I started out as a Radiologic Technologist (x-ray). I wanted to be around patients because I knew I could make a difference. I became interested in Computed Tomography so that is how I started out. As I worked at various hospitals, I began to understand some of the struggles our hospitals were facing, and I thought I could help. From there, I knew the only way to prepare myself was to get a business degree. The places I had worked in the past seemed to always look to an accountant to help them navigate big issues. I recall thinking that if I had a degree in accounting, that would help position me to move into more of a leadership role. So, a few years later I received my Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting and an MBA. This preparedness helped get me ready for when I would encounter an opportunity. I’ve heard it said that good luck is really just preparedness meeting an opportunity. I think there is a lot to that statement.
Have the events over the past two years changed your perception of what it means to be a healthcare leader in Mississippi? If so, how?
No. I came into this field more than 25 years ago as a clinical person and I knew that clinical staff would be the ones that would bear the largest burden of the pandemic. I knew healthcare workers, all of them were trained to handle the unprecedented task ahead of us and without them, we would be in trouble. They rose to the occasion and took care of our community just like we were trained to. Yes, it was hard, but no one else could have done it.
What are the biggest leadership lessons you have learned?
Be prepared, and consistent, and be sure to surround yourself with competent people. There’s always a solution, it’s figuring out what that solution is and communicating it among the different groups, and doesn’t underestimate the value of building collaboration around an issue. It will pay big dividends to give the right groups their input.
What is your advice for other healthcare leaders in the immediate future?
Be prepared and consistent. Don’t drop your standards or take the easy road because the right road is too hard. There are always consequences for taking the easy road, the day of reckoning may be pushed off, but that day is still coming. When I say “easy road” I’m talking about taking shortcuts or not following sound management strategies because someone is going to disagree with you, or you might get too much pushback from specific groups. Looking around today at some of the larger healthcare systems that are on the verge of collapse, I wonder how many times we could trace some of those issues back to some leaders not wanting to make the hard decisions that were needed.