Most Influential Black Corporate Leaders to Follow...

Dr. Lisa Herbert: Empowering Physician Leaders to Transform the Healthcare Landscape

Most Influential Black Corporate Leaders to Follow, 2023

Dr. Lisa Herbert, the Founder and CEO of Just The Right Balance LLC, has a mission to empower healthcare organizations in developing and retaining high-performing physician leaders. The goal is to improve the healthcare landscape by building healthy communities and strong organizations. Formed in 2016, the company’s inception coincided with a rise in physician burnout and a lack of effective solutions. 

Initially, Dr. Herbert provided coaching to support physicians in achieving work-life balance and leveraging positive psychology to increase resilience. However, it became evident that the problem was more extensive, requiring broader solutions beyond wellness alone. Drawing on her unique background as a physician, a certified executive coach, and a healthcare leader in hospital administration, public health, and the health insurance industry, Dr. Herbert delved into the complexities of physicians’ roles within the evolving healthcare landscape. 

She recognized that physicians were often trained to operate in isolation, with a focus on perfection and independent thinking, which posed challenges in the face of rapid changes in the healthcare system. As the system evolved, doctors were not adequately equipped with management skills, hindering their ability to collaborate effectively with other healthcare professionals and administrators who embraced change and adaptation. 

For Just The Right Balance, leadership training and development emerged as a crucial part of the solution. By providing physicians with leadership skills, they gained the capacity to actively participate in decision-making processes that directly impacted their careers and the communities they served. Having a seat at the table allowed them to thrive within the healthcare system rather than merely surviving. 

Today, Just The Right Balance offers comprehensive coaching, consulting, and training services, guiding physicians on their journey to becoming effective leaders with the full support of their organizations. Through this approach, they are better equipped to navigate the complexities of healthcare, contributing significantly to the overall improvement of the system. 

Challenges and Opportunities for Physician Leaders 

Just The Right Balance specializes in offering comprehensive solutions to organizations seeking to cultivate and retain high-performing physicians and healthcare leaders. Their services encompass peer and executive coaching, along with training on various workplace topics such as communication skills, work-life balance, stress and burnout management, conflict resolution, team building, and leadership development. Additionally, they provide consulting to organizations aiming to establish effective leadership programs and identify emerging leaders, ensuring a sustainable pipeline of healthcare professionals committed to delivering exceptional care. 

When assessing the current state of the industry they operate in, Just The Right Balance observes several significant challenges. Despite the United States having the highest healthcare spending, the country faces alarming statistics in areas like maternal mortality, life expectancy, mental health access and treatment, and preventable diseases. The healthcare landscape is continually evolving with changing policies and regulations. Moreover, there has been a shift from volume-based care, focused on patient numbers, to value-based care, prioritizing the quality of care. 

A crucial issue is that physicians, who possess unique perspectives on these challenges, often find themselves excluded from decision-making conversations at the leadership table. Yet, they hold valuable knowledge and skills that many non-clinical healthcare professionals lack, possessing a deeper understanding of healthcare delivery complexities. To bridge the gap and address these challenges, the industry needs physician leaders who can effectively blend clinical expertise with management acumen. 

However, the shortage of physicians in certain specialties and geographic areas, coupled with the scarcity of physicians in leadership roles, poses a significant hurdle. Barriers such as the lack of formal leadership training, inadequate organizational strategies for leadership development in healthcare institutions, and limited diversity and inclusion in healthcare leadership positions, particularly for minority and women physicians, further compound the issue. 

On a positive note, the demand for physician leaders is experiencing a sudden upswing. Recent trends indicate an estimated 20 percent increase in hospitals and health systems seeking physicians as candidates for CEO searches. This presents an opportunity for Just The Right Balance to identify and support physicians who are willing, prepared, and capable of assuming these leadership roles and making a positive impact in the healthcare industry. 

Listening, Learning, and Evolving 

To ensure that Dr. Herbert’s products and services meet the needs of her customers, the first step she takes is actively listening to their concerns. In the current state of society, where the art of listening is often overlooked, she recognizes the importance of striking a balance between talking and listening. Engaging in active listening means giving undivided attention to her customers and refraining from immediate responses. This practice not only demonstrates that she values their thoughts and ideas but also helps in building trust, a crucial element in influencing others and leading change. 

Apart from listening, Dr. Herbert adopts other strategies to stay abreast of changes in her industry. She emphasizes continuous learning through reading, attending conferences, and networking. By actively seeking knowledge and staying informed about industry trends, she can adapt her products and services to meet evolving customer demands effectively. 

Dr. Herbert believes in the importance of testing new products and services before introducing them to a larger audience. This approach allows her to gather valuable feedback, identify potential issues, and make necessary improvements before offering the solutions to a broader customer base. By incorporating this iterative process of testing and refining, she ensures that her offerings remain relevant and effective in the dynamic marketplace. 

Empathetic Coaching for Thriving Leadership 

With 25 years of experience as a family physician and holding leadership positions, Dr. Herbert possesses a unique ability to build trust with her clients. Having walked in their shoes, she understands their experiences and can connect with them on a level that others may not. This foundation of compassion and empathy forms the basis of her coaching and training approach. 

When working with clients, Dr. Herbert prioritizes understanding their individual stories. She takes the time to delve into who they are and what they truly desire, want, and need. By establishing this personal connection, she can better tailor her guidance to address their specific challenges and goals. 

For her individual coaching clients, Dr. Herbert brings two key elements of her expertise to the table:  

  • Positive psychology principles: Dr. Herbert integrates the principles of positive psychology into her practice. This approach emphasizes recognizing and harnessing personal strengths to foster thriving, meaningful, and fulfilling lives. By helping her clients cultivate their best selves, they can enhance their experiences in relationships, work, and life. 
  • Emotional intelligence coaching: Recognizing the significance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership, Dr. Herbert provides coaching in this area. Leaders with high emotional intelligence can navigate challenging situations with greater ease, build strong relationships with team members, and inspire others to reach their full potential. Emotional intelligence involves understanding and managing one’s own emotions and the emotions of others. Dr. Herbert’s certification in emotional intelligence equips her clients with a valuable skill that can profoundly impact their careers in the long term. 

By combining her medical background, leadership experience, and expertise in positive psychology and emotional intelligence, Dr. Herbert offers a comprehensive and compassionate coaching and training service that empowers her clients to thrive personally and professionally. 

Seven Years of Excellence 

Dr. Herbert proudly states that her company has been successfully operating for 7 years, during which they have served over 500 clients and collaborated with more than 20 healthcare organizations. Their efforts have gained widespread recognition in the media. 

Her core values serve as guiding principles in all aspects of her work. Striving for excellence, effective communication, authentic leadership, curiosity, and driving positive change are integral to each interaction and the development of every product and service. Dr. Herbert understands the importance of constantly reminding herself of the purpose behind her business and the impact she aspires to make, ensuring that her endeavours remain aligned with her vision and values. 

Cultivating Healthcare Leadership with Purpose  

Dr. Herbert’s commitment to giving back has been evident throughout her career. From volunteering to speak at local schools about medicine to starting a pre-med support group in college, she has consistently worked to support underrepresented students pursuing careers in medicine. Presently, she volunteers as faculty at a medical school in her state, imparting knowledge and training the next generation of healthcare leaders who will make a difference in their communities and address healthcare disparities. 

The mission of her company is to train and build a greater number of healthcare professionals in leadership roles, aiming to bridge the gap between communities and healthcare, emphasizing the human connection in medicine. Driven by the quote “To those whom much is given, much is expected” by John F. Kennedy, she considers it her call to action to utilize her gifts and talents to uplift others and create positive change. This mission is deeply woven into her company’s overall strategy, with a focus on leaving a lasting positive impact and giving back. 

Dr. Herbert also feels a profound desire and responsibility to increase the number of diverse leaders in healthcare. Recognizing the underrepresentation of minorities and women in leadership positions, she understands the significance of this imbalance on healthcare outcomes, hiring practices, and work cultures. Through her DE&I Leadership Consultant arm, she partners with organizations to develop strategies that foster inclusive cultures, promote equitable systems, and retain high-performing leaders from diverse backgrounds and experiences. 

Her commitment to giving back, uplifting others, and promoting diversity and inclusion serves as a driving force behind her company’s initiatives and its ultimate goal of creating a better, more inclusive and equitable healthcare landscape. 

Towards Achieving Work-Life Balance 

As a CEO, Dr. Herbert acknowledges that one of her most significant challenges is letting go of perfectionism. Having always set high expectations for herself, she recognizes the need to grant herself grace for mistakes and imperfections. Striving for perfection can lead to added stress and overwhelm, and she understands that embracing the ups and downs of the journey is essential. Embracing the wisdom shared by Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Herbert has learned to find solace in not having all the answers and instead asks herself, “What is the next right move?” She has grown to accept her decisions and views mistakes and failures as valuable lessons. 

To maintain a work-life balance in her busy CEO role, Dr. Herbert starts by defining what balance means to her personally. She believes that the concept varies for each individual. For her, achieving work-life balance entails being the best version of herself and creating space for what truly matters. This includes making time for physical activities like walking and exercise, nurturing her spiritual connection through prayer and meditation, and spending quality time with her significant relationships. Though some weeks present challenges, having a clear foundation for re-centering helps keep her cup full and fosters a sense of equilibrium in her life. 

Vision for Global Impact 

Dr. Herbert’s goals and aspirations for Just The Right Balance are to continue growing and offering a well-balanced mix of services that support healthcare professionals and their organizations. Alongside leadership development, executive coaching, and training, her company aims to become the top choice for healthcare organizations seeking diverse, high-performing talent due to the tools provided for cultivating excellent leaders. Looking ahead, Dr. Herbert envisions supporting leaders in various industries and across the globe.