Book Reviews

The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up

“For the past 8 years, I have had the extraordinary privilege of working for Chris Van Gorder, who is not just an exemplary leader in American health care, but responsible for the dramatic turnaround of Scripps Health to make it one of the best health systems in the world. In The Frontline Leader Chris shares his successful philosophy for transforming an organization from the ground up.“
Eric Topol, MD, Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Health, Author, The Creative Destruction of Medicine

“The Frontline Leader” by Chris Van Gorder is a profoundly straight forward and common sense approach to effective leadership. Chris is a leader who exemplifies the content of this book. The chapters exude wisdom that can be utilized by any discipline or profession. I saw his leadership ability first hand when during Katrina our nation needed additional resources to manage this unprecedented catastrophe. It was Chris who stepped up and successfully led a very large Scripps team to oversee the care and evacuation of thousands of victims of the Katrina disaster. As a law enforcement leader Chris has also distinguished himself by adhering to his leadership principles and inspiring others to follow. I would strongly recommend this book to both seasoned and aspiring leaders for it will challenge you to take your leadership to the next level.”
Richard Carmona, RN, MD, MPH, FACS,
17th Surgeon General of The United States

“You can’t be a distant boss and hope to be effective as a leader. So writes Chris Van Gorder in The Frontline Leader. CEO of one of the largest health systems in the U.S. with thousands of employees and contractors (from custodians to brain surgeons), Chris still finds ways to remove distance between him and them. The results—corporate and personal—are unambiguous and amazing. Indeed, at the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, we know firsthand the effectiveness of Chris’s frontline leadership model. He leads our Reserve Deputy Sheriff program and our volunteer Search and Rescue team, an effort that takes him into the mountains, canyons and desert to look for folks who lost their way. Success or failure can mean life or death. Chris Van Gorder’s leadership is direct and straightforward and so is The Frontline Leader. He shows the way to become a leader who has real impact on your organization and in the lives of those around you.”
Sheriff Bill Gore, San Diego County

“The title of Chris Van Gorder’s book, The Frontline Leader, says it all, and he breezily details how he got there. His message may seem simple, but that’s just the point. In this rapidly-evolving tech world, it’s easy to forget the basics. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, Van Gorder’s genuine life and business experiences will lead you to the front.”
T. Denny Sanford, Philanthropist; Chairman, United National Corporation

“As a leader, developing an employee-focused work culture is a challenge that requires daily attention and effort. In the Front Line Leader, Chris Van Gorder outlines a set of practical, easily implemented strategies for leaders at every level to stay connected to their workforce. Chris’ personal story about overcoming adversity to succeed in business transcends industry, and his advice is applicable to everyone, from middle managers to officers at the highest level. Having worked with Chris directly in his role at Scripps, and having been a patient at Scripps, I have seen firsthand how this approach works. Success, whether in baseball or in business, requires a team mentality, shared commitment to a common goal, and the daily practice of winning strategies.”
Mike Dee, CEO, San Diego Padres

Chris Van Gorder is a man of service and purpose. When a disaster strikes the gulf coast, Haiti or anywhere Chris chooses to reach, he refuses to collaborate with hopelessness, rather he confronts affliction with action. Like so many great American leaders from our past, Chris has built sustainable infrastructure one front line leader at a time, sending messages to the future that reflect his values and healthcare’s endowed promise of a better life for all.
John Bardis, Founder, Chairman, President and CEO, Med Assets

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