Intentional Disruptions: Choosing to Take Action with Ben Breier

The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we see the healthcare system. It’s understandable to start to lose confidence in it. Especially in this day and age where social media and disinformation are prevalent, we forget its contributions, including the drugs and medicine that have helped us live better and longer lives. 

In this episode, Ben Breier, equipped with years of experience in the healthcare sector, shares the latest developments in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. He gives us an insider perspective on telemedicine and how it can improve our relationship with healthcare. Ben also discusses his takes on making intentional disruptions, as well as leadership and collaboration as a veteran in the healthcare sector. 

If you want to hear the ins and outs of the healthcare sector, then this episode is for you!

3 Reasons to Listen:

  1. Take a look into the current state of the healthcare industry.
  2. Regain confidence in the healthcare sector, especially during the COVID pandemic. 
  3. Learn how to handle stress both individually and as a corporate leader. 


About Benjamin

Benjamin Breier is the former CEO and Board of Directors member of Kindred Healthcare, where he served from March 2015 to December 2021. He is also a member of the Board for the Federation of American Hospitals, the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, and the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council.

Ben is the author of Intentional Disruption. He’s built on decades of experience at nearly every industry level and distilled what he’s learned into lessons that leaders — regardless of industry — can reference to make intentional disruptions by being prepared, intentional, and fearless.

Episode Highlights

[01:52] Introducing Benjamin Brier

  • Ben Brier is a health executive and the former CEO of Kindred Healthcare, where he served for nine years. 
  • Ben describes himself as a blue-collar operator of businesses who has worked his way to becoming the CEO of a publicly-traded Fortune 500 company. He specializes in managing companies with “large geographic disbursement of lots of different service sites.”
  • Ben left Kindred Healthcare after it was sold to another strategic healthcare company in Nashville.
  • Ben authored Intentional Disruption, a book on leadership lessons in healthcare, business, and beyond.

[10:35] The COVID Pandemic and Working From Home 

  • Ben sees the pandemic as an opportunity to get himself off the road. 
  • Since the pandemic started, Ben has started to take more care of his physical and mental health.
  • Ben follows a structured morning schedule with a workout regimen, meditation sessions, a good breakfast, and reading time.

[11:12] The State of the Healthcare Industry

  • Healthcare is a very, very complex industry.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic exposed significant issues in our healthcare system, especially in terms of socio-economic disparities. 
  • The elderly — our parents and grandparents — are the primary benefactors of our healthcare system. This raises several questions for the industry such as “Where will the money come from?”, “Who pays for it?”, and “How and how much do you get?”
[13:47] “Healthcare is a very, very complex industry. It is not easily understood by most who utilize it, by most who provide care in it, and by most who pay for that care.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[18:16] The Role of the Pharmaceutical Industry

  • The pharmaceutical industry has become both a blessing and a curse within the healthcare system. 
  • Many great things have come from research and development, and the deployment of drugs and medicine in the country has helped people live better and longer lives. 
  • On the other hand, these companies have also made millions of money from deriving these “historical drugs.”

[22:23] Regaining Confidence in the Healthcare Sector

  • It’s understandable to start to lose confidence in the healthcare system, especially in a world where social media and disinformation are prevalent. 
  • Every time you start to doubt the healthcare system, think of the physicians, nurses, therapists, and aides who risk their lives every day. 
  • Our personal experiences with health workers, including physicians and clinicians, allow us to regain confidence in the healthcare sector. 
  • The digitalization of healthcare (i.e., telemedicine) now allows people to talk to doctors from their homes. This development gives people access to the kind of care they need without having to deal with the other aspects of the system. 
[24:17] “Every time a consumer starts to think about a lack of trust in the healthcare system, I want them to think about what our physicians and our nurses and our therapists and our nurse aides.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[28:58] Intentional Disruption in Healthcare

  • Ben believes that most of his successes in his life and career have come from intentional disruption. 
[26:40] “I think that Americans should have confidence that we not only have a good health care system and an honest health care system but arguably the best in the world.” - Click Here to Tweet This
  • Intentional Disruption goes into different stories on business, such as playing offense, being strategic, being good decision-makers, and sticking to your core values. 
  • The book emphasizes the importance of “having the willingness in this world to be accountable.”

[36:40] The Power of Collaboration and Leadership

  • Leading an organization is a team sport. It is a collaborative effort. 
  • Like in any team sport, you learn through your experiences working with people towards a specific goal. 
  • You can only be truly successful through empathy, vulnerability, and collective collaboration transparency. 

[39:40] Redefining Success

  • Every leader must learn to assess their personal and the business’ core values. There must be an alignment between the individual and corporate core values. 
  • Learn to define success in a way you feel comfortable. 
  • Ben defines success through the state of his stakeholders and employees. Has the company and its service helped them improve? 
  • Leadership goes beyond providing quality service for your clients. You must also make sure that the families and dependents of your people are well-taken care of. 

[44:10] Intentional Disruption: The Book

  • Ben describes Intentional Disruption as an almost-autobiography, leadership, and business book. 
  • He wrote the book with pen and paper. It took him a year and a half to write, re-type, send it to the editor, move chapters around, and publish it. 
  • Writing Intentional Disruption taught him to be organized and disciplined with his thought process. 
  • Ben wanted the book to be personal because not everyone “has sat in the chair of being the CEO of an institutional Fortune 500 company.”

[51:06] Dealing with Stress

  • Stress is inevitable. 
  • Nutrition and fitness, and mental health are tied together. 
  • Eat healthier food and exercise a few days a week, and you will find that it will have a dramatic effect on your mental health and the clarity and outlook of your life. 
  • Find a solid support system. 
  • Understand that life is not a straight line of progressions. It will always come with a series of successes and failures. Learn to bounce back and know that you cannot get from Point A to D without any scrapes along the way. 
[55:16] “Life is not a straight line of progressions and we must remember that it's a series of successes and failures along the way.” - Click Here to Tweet This

[55:53] Two Years from Now: Ben’s Game Plan

  • Ben wants to get back to work. As a Type A personality, he believes that having idle thoughts and idle time is not particularly helpful to him.
  • He plans to internalize where his energy, effort, and experiences play best in the future to become a good functioning member of society, particularly in the healthcare sector. 
[58:23] “I think that there are stages in life where we need to turn around, look at generations behind us and say, ‘Here's some things that I did,’ [or] ‘Here's some things I didn't do well.’” - Click Here to Tweet This

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About the Podcast

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Seek Go Create
Redefining Success in Leadership, Business & Ministry

About your host

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Tim Winders

Tim Winders is a faith driven executive coach and author with over 40 years of experience in leadership, business, and ministry. Through his personal journey of redefining success, he has gained valuable insights on how to align beliefs with work and lead with purpose. He is committed to helping others do the same, running a coaching business that helps leaders, leadership teams, business owners, and entrepreneurs to align their beliefs with their work and redefine success.

In addition to his coaching business, Tim is also the host of the SeekGoCreate podcast and author of the book Coach: A Story of Success Redefined, which provides guidance for those looking to redefine success and align their beliefs with their work. With his extensive background, unique perspective and strengths in strategic thinking, relationship building, and problem-solving, Tim is well-suited to help clients navigate through difficult times and achieve their goals.