Barclay E. Berdan, CEO of Texas Health Resources, one of the nation’s largest faith-based, nonprofit health systems at 24K employees and $4.5B in revenue.

Normally a calm man and methodical leader, imagine his surprise when just after assuming this role he was found himself smack-dab in the middle of the first case of Ebola ever diagnosed in the U.S. Welcome aboard, Barclay. Don’t mind those 40+ television and satellite trucks in the parking lot; nothing to see here…

A brief side note: he was criticized for hiring a PR firm for the Ebola nightmare. I think it was one of the smartest things he could have done. Sorry, but I doubt (before this) that hospitals had an Ebola Contingency Plan to dust off. CEOs must be accountable, but they are not necessarily clairvoyant.

Berdan’s focus on strategy – he calls it “climbing transformation mountain” – is all about THR reinventing itself and becoming more than a sum of a suite of free-standing hospitals and ERs. And by the way, continue being a top-notch outfit all the while we’re slogging through this reinvention stuff.

Did I say top-notch? I’m not prone to hyperbole when analyzing leadership, but this guy gets it. THR has been on Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since Berden’s promotion. And not just that; they have also been awarded <deeeep breath>:


Best Workplaces in Texas 2017 (ranked 1)
Best Workplaces for Women 2017 (ranked 1)
Best Workplaces for African Americans 2017
Best Workplaces in Health Care 2017 (ranked 1)
Best Workplaces for Parents 2017 (ranked 47)
Best Workplaces for Diversity 2017 (ranked 9)
Human Capital 30: Companies that Put Employees Front and Center

50% of company execs are women, 11% are minorities. THR regularly has facilities ranked in the Top 100 Hospitals.

Berden’s style of leadership drives employee engagement, satisfaction, and their discretionary efforts. THR avoids that child-hood game of “telephone,” as senior leaders conduct regular “rounds” to check in with the departments implementing their plans. Face-to-face exchanges focus on work-related issues and inform how executives solve problems.

Flexible schedules, opportunities for community time off to give back, fitness and health programs etc., lots to really shows the commitment to the employees. THR does an excellent job of promoting from within. They created pipelines to develop employees for next-level roles, and actually have no-kidding tools and resources to assist those who are in leadership roles to be more effective. I only wish that wasn’t such a uniquely admirable trait.

You can read Barclay Berden’s recent holiday memo to his team. Heart-warming and sincere. Easy to see why he’s respected, and why he’s this month’s Leadership Leader.

He keeps climbing Transformation Mountain.

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