Leadership Commitments in Action


All KentuckyOne Health

Eric Gilliam
President of Saint Joseph East
Interim President of Saint Joseph Berea

Eric Gilliam on encouraging employees to go forward in the face of great change

Eric Gilliam, MHA, president of Saint Joseph East and interim president of Saint Joseph Berea, believes we are currently experiencing an amazing time in health care.

“To be involved as a new model of health care is being developed – it’s exciting to see the growth and the change,” he said.

Eric frequently communicates this excitement in his discussions with employees. The third KentuckyOne Health Leadership Commitment is integral to his leadership approach: “I will talk about the future with honesty, enthusiasm and a positive perspective that gives people the courage to go forward in the face of great change.”

“Leaders must be positive and enthusiastic with their employees in order to win their support for change,” he said. “If you don’t have employee support, the plan will not succeed.”

If, on the other hand, a leader explains change with complete honesty, “telling employees what the challenges will be, and what the opportunities will be, they will have the courage to follow their leader.”

Eric points to Eric Little, RN, BSN, as an inspiring example of a leader successfully guiding employees through a major transition. Eric Little, then-director of gastrointestinal services for Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East,* led the endoscopy departments of both hospitals during a period of numerous changes — among these changes, significant increases in volume. Staff members could have had difficulty accepting the changes. Eric Little’s leadership, however, helped to encourage positive and productive responses to the many challenges the teams faced.

“The results were impressive,” Eric noted. “Staff morale went up. Patient and physician satisfaction went up. His teams embraced change and achieved great outcomes and great quality.”

In health care, change is inevitable, particularly at present, he said. “The big changes involve moving to population health management, which results in a new model, compared to what we’re currently operating under. In population health management, which seeks to create healthier communities, we’ll realize significant change in the health care community.”

This change is exciting, because it’s what our mission has always been: to create healthier communities, Eric said. “I’m confident that KentuckyOne will embrace this change and allow us to move into the next era of serving our communities. We’re not there yet, but we will find a way to make this change work.”

Communication, Eric believes, is key. “When you share a vision and a direction with your team members, they will have the courage to embrace the change.”

*Eric Little accepted the position of executive director of clinical services at Saint Joseph East this past September.

Click here to learn more about the KentuckyOne Health Leadership Commitments.