Stephen Ayre – Chief Executive Officer – Metro South

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Intro  0:13  
Many aspire to reach the upper echelon of the healthcare industry, but few are able to successfully navigate the corporate ladder. As Asia becomes the world epicenter of the healthcare industry, C-Suite Partners sits down with international healthcare executives asking the tough questions and unpacking the personalities of the top industry leaders.

Welcome to the boardroom.

Michael Murray  0:37  
Stephen, thank you for joining C-Suite Partners in the boardroom.

Stephen Ayre  0:40
Not a problem. 

Michael Murray  0:41
Talk me through what you’ve done in your role over the past five years as a part of the digital innovation piece.

Stephen Ayre  0:49  
Yeah, that is one of my sort of, you know, crowning career moves, like, in getting that over the line and being able to have a very successful roll-out, which we rolled out at Princess Alexandra Hospital, round 1000 beds, and we’re just at the moment doing our last Hospital of 200 beds. So around 2000 beds, all total, five hospitals with an integrated system across all of those hospitals.

Michael Murray  1:18  
And what do you think was the successful ingredient? Because that’s a very, very big job, and other people have failed with that. Now, in hindsight, what do you think that was?

Stephen Ayre  1:28  
The most important thing is really the clinician engagement, but also the unswerving support of the board and the executive. A single-minded approach to this, that this was a, an opportunity to position the health service moving forward. And to give us a competitive edge.

Michael Murray  1:49  
Can you just run me through a couple of statistics of the budget that you look after in the amount of staff in Metro South?

Stephen Ayre  1:57  
Yes, well, we employ around 14,000 staff, our budgets, 2.4 billion Australian dollars annually in expenditure. And, you know, so that’s a very large organisation, lots of challenges, and you need a very good executive team to be able to ensure that that all comes

Michael Murray  2:17  
And what would you look for with executives coming into your team? What are the three attributes? 

Stephen Ayre  2:22  
Look, I look for contemporary practice and understanding, agility, and flexibility. And probably the most important thing is really an ethical approach to decision making. I think that’s enormously important. And that’s where a lot of executives come unstuck is, you know, being a bit on the border there sometimes.

Michael Murray  2:47  
Okay, and what are your thoughts on MBA versus real-life experience?

Stephen Ayre  2:53  
Look, I think these days, we do need, you know, there is an expectation that people will have had the rigour of tertiary studies, you know, Masters sense, though, you know, balancing that with the real-life experience, I think is important. But it does give you frameworks and an approach that adds rigour to the way that you go about your business that a Masters can only give

Michael Murray  3:19  
Would you go back in your career and think about moments where you would actually ask for help? And if you’re asking for help, who would it be?

Stephen Ayre  3:29  
I think that’s one of the real issues when you get to the executive level, often, you know, asking for help may be seen as a vulnerability. And so getting that balance right is important. But I think there have been a couple of key watershed moments for me in my career, where I’ve actually recognised that I need help because that’s often the first. The first thing is having that insight. Yes, and then seeking help and seek advice from the right person

Michael Murray  4:03  
And making that transition clinical to the executive space. Was there a specific skill set that you thought you needed to uplift?

Stephen Ayre  4:14  
I think managing staff, you know, does require a finessing, and it often requires, you know, what I think is the element of emotional intelligence into being able to put yourself in their shoes around decisions and concerns that people may raise from time to time. So I think, whilst your medical training and your experience as a medical practitioner provides you good insight into patients, having and the empathy that is in that space, does stand you in a reasonably good state, I think for understanding the impact of decisions on individual staff members and when the concerns are raised

Michael Murray  5:05  
And what about your career in one word, what would it be?

Stephen Ayre  5:10  
I’d like to think it was committed.

Michael Murray  5:13  
Committed. Stephen, thank you for spending time with C-Suite Partners in the boardroom.

Stephen Ayre  5:16  
Pleasure, Michael

Michael Murray  5:18  
Thank you

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