There is a family physician currently leading a hospital in New Jersey. He did not receive training to serve in the role, except for seeing patients for more than 20 years and being tapped to serve as a CMO along the way. However for several years, he closely observed the previous CEO, whose name is Chet. Now, when faced with a unique situation, this physician leader asks himself, “What would Chet do?”
November marks the anniversary of the untimely and unconscionable murder of George Longshore. His work in healthcare executive search and consulting had a significant impact on the lives of countless people, both within and outside the healthcare industry.
I first met George more than 30 years ago when we both worked for a small hospital system in Philadelphia. He was the newly hired leader of Human Resources for the corporation and I was an Assistant Administrator in a community hospital in the suburbs. George came out to handle a minor employee dispute and impressed everyone.
Shortly thereafter, George left to start an executive search firm. Ironically, it was the same year that Larry Tyler started Tyler & Company – 1978. We remained in touch over the years, however I did not require his services during my tenure at MEDIQ. Later, when I served as a hospital CEO, George helped me recruit a Vice President of Human Resources.
When I left the hospital, George presented me as a CEO candidate and later hired me as a Vice President of his search firm. At that point I was able to observe how George: led the organization; maintained long-term client and candidate relationships; and most importantly, how he helped people.
George had a classic Pendaflex file under his desk that had folders with resumes of folks who were in transition and needed a break. When talking with him in his office about a search engagement, George would magically produce a file that contained a potential candidate of someone that he knew needed help.
Some years later, after George left the company and joined Catholic Health East, I was being interviewed by Larry Tyler to join his Philadelphia office and, after a fast paced and pointed conversation, Larry asked, “Why do you do this?” My answer was, “I like to help people.” Larry nodded and said, “That’s right,” and hired me.
Beginning with George’s funeral, when dozens of people recounted how he had helped them, I continue to encounter others whose lives he had positively impacted.
Now that I have some operational responsibility for a search company, I am often faced with decisions and opportunities that weren’t covered in the management courses during graduate school, so I often ask myself, “What would George do?”
I am lucky that the two entrepreneurs that I have worked with in executive search have had the same, “Pay-it-forward,” approach. No one in this business gives back as much as Larry Tyler – he truly enjoys teaching and helping others. Many of the folks that he has trained remain in the healthcare search industry and continue to communicate with him regularly. One of the core values of Tyler & Company is to return all phone calls from potential candidates … something that has been sorely missing from others within the industry.
So as Tyler & Company celebrates its 30 year anniversary in 2008 – an amazing feat in this country within any industry – I am also reminded that it would have been the 30th for George Longshore as well. He is still with us.