Like many Chicagoland natives, Douglas Winkelhake is a diehard Cubs fan, a feeling he was able to transfer to his eldest son. His younger, more rebellious son became a fan of the Chicago baseball team's archrival, the St. Louis Cardinals—something sure to strike the heart of a Cubs fan. But Winkelhake is able to laugh it off.
2009 Up & Comers: Douglas Winkelhake
It's part of Winkelhake's desire to be a driver of consensus, instead of trying to dictate terms. And it's a trait that has come in handy in his role as president of Norton Brownsboro Hospital in Louisville, Ky., over the past few years while he has overseen the facility's $146 million construction. Winkelhake sees the new hospital—built using environmental and patient-focused design principles—as being a catalyst of change for the entire Norton Healthcare system, a concept he anticipates with both excitement and anxiety.
Winkelhake, 39, has been with the Louisville-based health system since 1998, when Norton purchased Suburban Hospital and kept him on as assistant administrator. From there he advanced through several executive positions with the organization, exemplifying “high-energy” leadership, says Stephen Williams, the system's president and CEO.
“Due to his extensive and varied experience at Norton Healthcare, Doug possesses a comprehensive understanding of all the processes and services within our organization, from clinical, administrative and financial perspectives,” Williams says.
Winkelhake takes his consensus-building leadership style seriously. A 2007 graduate of the Leadership Louisville Center, he says it's important to take the time to really understand a person's perspectives and strengths, and ensure that others grasp his position as well. It's a style that he has used in his approach to Norton Brownsboro's construction.
However, most of the clinical staff that gave their feedback to the architect two years ago aren't with the hospital any longer. So when current employees have walked through the new facility to see how it was progressing, Winkelhake was nervous. “For me, it was a little scary” as they viewed their new workstations and the new floors, he says.
But when Lynn Goranflo, the “battle-hardened” nurse manager for the intensive-care unit, saw her floor and started to cry, Winkelhake was able to relax. “Stuff like that makes me feel good. I can check that unit off,” he says, laughing.
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