As President and CEO of MaineGeneral in Augusta, Chuck Hays has had a year to remember. We caught up with him to ask a few quick questions about how he has faced the challenges of the pandemic and how his M.B.A. from Thomas helped prepare him for fast-changing times.
Earlier this fall, we had a quick Q&A with Chuck Hays M.B.A. ‘02, President and CEO of MaineGeneral Hospital in Augusta. In addition to being an active alumnus and engaged member of the central Maine community, Chuck and his wife Maria helped to invest in the College’s Guarantee the Future Campaign, earmarking their support for scholarships.
Q: Being a hospital CEO is already a huge job. What has it been like to add management and oversight of a pandemic to your duties?
A: It is certainly a different perspective. Having to redesign every process in every single department to ensure the safety of our community members and staff makes you focus on today. Typically, I would spend more than half my time on strategic initiatives and planning for the future but during a pandemic you are in the here and now. What was normal practice yesterday is unacceptable today, so you have to be willing to think differently and adjust.
Q: How has your Thomas MBA prepared you to stretch and help the organization become more resilient throughout this challenge?
A: My MBA at Thomas opened my mind up to the diversity of opinions and help provide me with the tools to navigate to a solution. I think this is critical when tensions are high and there is a lot on the line. Also being comfortable with the unknown or the constantly changing environment. We were and are in a time when there is so much information circulating and if the majority of it is not based on science, it is easy to go down the wrong path. Thomas has taught me the importance of making decisions based on real science and data.
Q: What advice would you offer to your fellow MBA graduates – and current students – about being nimble as a leader?
A: In this day and age there are not many businesses that can afford to stand still. In this global economy there is constant change. Your ability to adapt and be comfortable in a changing environment is critical. This means that you have to reevaluate your own decisions constantly. You can’t own a decision for too long. Even a great successful decision made five years ago may not be the right move for your business today. In this pandemic, a decision made two weeks ago is not always the best decision two weeks later.
Thank you to Chuck M.B.A. ‘02 and Maria Hays for their work in the central Maine community and support and enthusiasm for Thomas College students.