Moffitt CEO Leads Beyond the Office

By Sarah Garcia - January 04, 2022

Every one to two weeks, Moffitt Cancer Center President and CEO Dr. Patrick Hwu visits with a specific team or department around the center, either in person or virtually. We sat down to chat with him about the practice of executive rounding and why it’s so important to him and the organization.

Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO
Dr. Patrick Hwu, President and CEO

What exactly is the practice of executive rounding?

I prefer to label these interactions with programs, departments and other business units more as “listening” tours, which stem from a widely published leadership best practice known as “management by walking around.”  Since arriving at Moffitt Cancer Center in November 2020, I’ve conducted over 50 listening/rounding tours, with many more scheduled at least biweekly.

These engagements have provided and continue to offer excellent opportunities for me to learn about the organization and its culture, and for leaders and team members to engage in a productive dialogue with other senior leaders, who regularly accompany me on listening tours.

Those on the front line hold all of the secrets to our success, and it’s essential that leaders at all levels make a conscious effort to walk around, meet with and learn from them, as they know what we need for us to be successful. I encourage all leaders to adopt “management by walking around” as a habit. 

Why is this face time and connectivity with team members even more important during the pandemic?

These interactions provide a way to get to know team members, gain a shared understanding of their opportunities and challenges, and foster a dialogue about our strategic direction. I use these exchanges to share my intent to reduce cancer deaths, reach more patients and enable the cancer center to thrive in a rapidly changing health care environment. Accomplishing these goals requires integration and coordination, and face time helps inspire a culture of teamwork.

Who goes with you and what areas and locations do you visit?

Senior executive leaders, including the physician-in-chief, research center director, chief operating officer, chief financial and administrative officer and chief medical officer, often accompany me on listening tours. Other senior leaders from the Moffitt Medical Group, Research, Digital and IT, among others, join as well. 

I make a concerted effort to visit areas across the entire enterprise: from Diagnostic Imaging and Interventional Radiology to Cutaneous and Sarcoma; from Supportive Care Medicine to Payer Strategies to Digital Innovation, Quality and Safety, Health Outcomes and Behavior, and so many more.  Outside of Moffitt’s Magnolia Campus, I have met with the team at Wesley Chapel, Moffitt at International Plaza, McKinley and Memorial Health System.

Do you ever visit with patients during rounding?

The focus of listening tours is to learn from team members on the front lines, which inevitably provides me with the opportunity to visit with patients during the tours. I’ve often had the opportunity to meet patients while rounding with the nursing staff from all shifts. 

What are you looking to take away during rounds?

I want to cultivate relationships with the team, communicate and relate with them, share context and insights, and enable all of us to tap into the organization’s collective wisdom through the free exchange of ideas. I always leave each listening tour inspired by our opportunities to work together as an integrated team to plan for the future, streamline processes and decision-making, and grow future leaders within the organization.

Do you have a favorite moment from rounding over the past year?

There are too many to count! I really enjoyed seeing virtual reality-based radiation therapy in action, in which the patient and a Moffitt radiation technician (acting as a coach) worked together to deliver the therapy. This type of capability not only enhances the patient experience, but it also dramatically improves care and outcomes, which is truly a differentiator.

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