In a May 2022 article in the European Business Review, Michael Useem, PhD—William and Jacalyn Egan Professor Emeritus of Management and instructor for MEHP Online’s Health Care Leadership course—enumerates lessons from Stephen K. Klasko’s tenure as President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Health Center that are essential in trying times.
As a candidate for the post in 2013, Klasko was not an obvious fit. Though he possessed leadership fundamentals core to Useem’s teaching and writing—thinking strategically, deciding decisively, and communicating persuasively—he lacked the operational experience of other candidates for the position. What the search committee saw, however, that put him over the top was a “’no limits’ mindset,” the readiness to take “heretical actions and confidence in their long-term payoffs even if others disparaged such actions now.” He was a candidate able to navigate an era of disruption.
And the gamble paid off. As Useem writes, Klasko presided over an era of expansion for Jefferson that included a merger with Philadelphia University and the addition of 16 hospitals to the health system. It included increases in student enrollment, overall number of physicians, and number of patients seen. Klasko led a nimble response to COVID-19. And he has transformed benchmarks for success to optimize patient care and build partnerships with other organizations.
Learn more about Michael Useem’s work and his teaching for MEHP Online. And learn more about Stephen Klasko’s transformative leadership by reading:
“Leadership Plus: A Steady Hand and a Maverick for Good Times and Trying Times” by Michael Useem and Stephen K. Klasko. European Business Review, May 7, 2022.