Skills and Attributes of the Health Care Strategist

Bridging Worlds provides an opportunity for healthcare strategists to add increasingly greater value to their organizations, to broaden the impact of their roles, and to shape the future of the healthcare field. Superior performance calls for the expansion or development of characteristics in the form of skills and attributes, otherwise known as competencies.

The skills and attributes offered in Bridging Worlds are relevant to both aspiring new strategists and experienced or senior level strategists. They present an opportunity to delineate learning focus and identify development opportunities for individuals and teams.

  • Skills reflect areas of technical and specialized expertise, competencies, abilities, or aptitudes.
  • Attributes refer to behavioral characteristics, qualities, or traits.

Excluded from the skills and attributes are knowledge areas, such as business management, healthcare IT, and financial management, since these represent foundational learnings for most healthcare professionals.

The behavioral attributes identified through Bridging Worlds encompass key concepts common to healthcare leaders, such as adaptability, collaborative leadership, open communication, conflict management, continuous learning, discernment/judgment, influence, interpersonal savvy, and innovation.

“If a person has all of the skills and foundation knowledge, but is still struggling, not advancing, etc., it is a strong indication that the person's challenges are more likely behavioral.”
– Richard Metheny, Leadership Solutions Practice Leader, Witt/Kieffer

In 2014, the first edition of Bridging Worlds included its first set of skills and attributes, which have been assessed by more than 300 strategists using SHSMD ADVANCE™. Aggregate data findings have provided insights to less critical and redundant skills, which have been modified or removed in this edition. Other skills were added or modified to reflect current thinking identified through leadership interviews and recent expert input. Presented in the diagram that follows is a reflection of the most current thought leadership about strategist skills and attributes, all of which have been updated in the SHSMD ADVANCE™ platform at

The specific application of the Bridging Worlds skills and attributes will vary, based on the type of organization and the individuals’ roles within it. In some instances, organizations may elect to hire for new skills and experiences not currently represented in-house. Others may elect to develop existing leaders, using emerging skills and tools of strategy as a guide to map professional growth. Some will seek out generalists—professionals who are adept in wearing multiple hats simultaneously. Others might prefer multispecialty positions staffed by employees with deep subject matter expertise in two or more specific disciplines (e.g., analytic modeling, strategy formation, design, and social media). Recognizing the scale of organizational types and sizes, we intentionally make no recommendations on a preferred approach. Rather, we suggest paying more attention to the implications as well as the skills and tools that healthcare strategists will need.

Examples of tools used to successfully perform skills are also provided for consideration and further learning.

The diagram that follows presents the skills, attributes, and tools from all five implications in a single view. Use this diagram as a roadmap for professional development by identifying your areas of interest as wells as any gaps in your current skills. Use SHSMD ADVANCE™ to assess and identify skill levels among individuals and teams, then build those skills using SHSMD’s online resource library containing hundreds of articles, books, courses, and tools to help you develop your abilities.

“We’ve used Bridging Worlds as a team read where we’ve asked our strategy team to read it, digest it, and then do some self-reflection. We actually use it for career planning for all of our team members.”
– Caryn Esten, Vice President of Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement, Froedtert Health