The 4 attributes of effective leadership with exec from Cigna

Peter McCauley Sr., MD, CPE, is the medical officer at Bloomfield, Conn-based Cigna. 

Dr. McCauley Sr. will serve on the panel "Elevating Health Equity: Best Ideas and Strategies" at Becker's Payer Issues Roundtable. As part of an ongoing series, Becker's is talking to healthcare leaders who plan to speak at the conference on Nov. 7-8 in Chicago. 

To learn more and register, click here.

Becker's Healthcare aims to foster peer-to-peer conversation between healthcare's brightest leaders and thinkers. In that vein, responses to our Speaker Series are published straight from interviewees. Here is what our speaker had to say.

Question: What will healthcare executives need to be effective leaders for the next five years? 

Dr. Peter McCauley: Dealing with Ambiguity: We must operate our organizations effectively and efficiently, even when things are not certain or the way forward is not clear. 

Empathy: Leaders must be able to understand and share the feelings of another instead of just showing or feeling sympathy (feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune). This creates more opportunities for leaders to understand and appreciate the perspectives of others. 

A Strategic Mindset: Leaders must look ahead to identify future possibilities and translate those possibilities into breakthrough strategies. This includes leveraging data and digital technology. 

Resilience: We define this as rebounding from setbacks and adversity when facing difficult situations. Think of "failing fast" or moving on from failures quickly in order to learn what does not work so the organization can move on to other potential solutions. 

Q: How are you building resilient and diverse teams? 

PM: Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce empower everyone to bring their unique skills, talents and perspectives to the table and create an environment that encourages people to bring their whole selves to work. A diverse and inclusive environment enables us to innovate and leverage different perspectives to solve important business problems. Our culture embraces genuine and productive connections so everyone can develop and thrive. 

Here are some ways we are focused on building a diverse and inclusive culture here at Cigna.  

  • Through our Building Equity and Equality Program, a five-year initiative to expand and accelerate our efforts to support diversity, inclusion, equality, and equity for historically underrepresented communities, we work to build a pipeline of diverse, qualified talent who are empowered to grow and thrive within our organization, and we partner and build relationships with a number of external organizations that help us support and achieve our inclusion and advancement objectives. 
  • Cigna's Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are a cornerstone of our commitment to diversity,  equity, and inclusion. Our ERGs help foster an inclusive environment for a wide range of employee groups, create a safe space for employees to bring their whole selves to work, and help educate the business on the unique skills our diverse communities offer. Our ERGs spearhead professional development opportunities and help shape our DEI strategy across our enterprise. 
  • Programs to develop leadership skills and traits can help fundamentally shape an employee's career advancement and open new doors to opportunities. We partner with organizations like CALIBR, a leadership development organization and professional network dedicated to accelerating the readiness of mid-level Black professionals for senior executive roles, to develop Black talent through specialized training, coaching, mentoring, and networking opportunities. To help women at Cigna increase their leadership effectiveness, we offer the Transformational Leadership Program for Multicultural Women. This virtual program provides coaching, course-specific learning, case studies, and peer-to-peer interaction and networking. 

Q: What are you most excited about right now and what makes you nervous?

PM: We should all be nervous about the continued escalation of the behavioral health crisis in this country, especially among our children and adolescents. However, I am extremely excited about Cigna's ability to meet our customers' behavioral health needs and make their behavioral health journey simple through our expanded network of virtual behavioral health practitioners.  

Our expanded network allows each patient to access the care they need with significantly reduced wait times in a manner they are most comfortable with like in-person, video chat or text messaging. In addition, specialized virtual care can help address conditions like anxiety, depression, substance use disorder and more.  

At Cigna, we make behavioral health simple, personal, and more affordable from start to finish, connecting members to the right level of care for their unique needs. Our partnerships, nationwide care provider network, and data-informed approach can treat various mental and behavioral conditions. 

We're committed to finding new and innovative ways to meet our customers where they are in their health journey.

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