Clay Linkous, MBA, FACHE, CSSBB


With over 20 years of leadership experience, Clay knows what it takes to get results. He has a passion for leadership development and operational excellence, which has helped him achieve success consistently. He is known for expertly leading the delivery of Studer Group’s coaching partnerships in academic health centers, large regional health systems and national health systems. He has proven experience in coaching Studer Group’s Evidence-Based LeadershipSM framework in complex organizations that are managing multiple change initiatives. He is called on regularly by peers, partners and nonpartners to help them understand how Evidence-Based LeadershipSM is both a leadership system and an operating chassis for any transformational initiative. Whether an organization is deploying a lean management system, pursuing a Baldrige journey or striving to become a high reliability organization, Clay brings a wealth of experience, wisdom and practical coaching to executive teams. Clay’s coaching has impacted dozens of healthcare systems and hospitals that are led by thousands of leaders. These leaders support hundreds of thousands of employees and physicians who care for millions of patients each year.

Signature Engagements

  • Account leader for multiple nationally recognized academic health centers, large regional health systems and national health system partnerships
  • Over 10 different partners have received awards at Studer Group’s annual What’s Right in Health Care® Conference
  • In 2017, four partners were chosen to present their results at What’s Right in Health Care® Conference
  • Three-time Health Care Organization of the Month coach and two-time Studer Group Pillar Award winner
  • Account leader for the first six-time Magnet-recognized hospital
  • Account leader for the top hospital in Washington according to US News and World Report’s Best Hospitals rankings
  • Account leader for a hospital on Becker’s 100 Great Community Hospitals and Truven’s 100 Top Hospitals
  • Account leader for a hospital with second-highest value-based purchasing score in nation
  • Account leader for a hospital ranked in the top 20 on Modern Healthcare Best Places to Work
  • Account leader for two hospitals named to Becker’s Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital list
  • Account leader for multiple hospitals that have a five-star rating in patient experience by CMS

Education and Certifications

  • Certified Account Leader — Account Management Development Program — Studer Group®
  • Master of Business Administration (Health Services Administration), Strayer University, Knoxville, TN
  • Certified Six Sigma Black Belt of the American Society of Quality
  • Fellow of American College of Healthcare Executives
  • Tennessee Center of Performance Excellence (Baldrige) Examiner
  • Bachelor of Science in Physical Education (Exercise Science), East Tennessee State University, Knoxville, TN
  • Lean for Healthcare Certificate, University of Tennessee College of Business, Knoxville, TN
  • Cardiac Rehab Internship, Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson City, TN
  • Walt Disney World College, Program Walt Disney World, Lake Buena Vista, FL

Professional Associations

  • Fellow, American College of HealthCare Executives
  • Former President, East Tennessee Healthcare Executives Affiliation, Knoxville, TN
  • Association of Training & Development Member
  • American Society of Quality Member
  • Healthcare Financial Management Association Member
  • Examiner, Tennessee Center of Performance Excellence (Baldrige)
  • Knoxville, TN 40 Under 40 Alumni
  • Alumni Leadership Knoxville – Introduction Knoxville Program
  • Elder, Faith Promise Church in Knoxville, TN – Top 100 Fastest Growing Churches in America

Publications/Speaking Engagements

  • Keynote speaker at Catholic Healthcare Association of Ontario’s General Assembly. “Sustaining Your Culture by Living Your Values.” Toronto, Ontario, October 2019.
  • “Making Sense of the Healthcare Process Improvement Equation”; “Executive Grit Required.” High Reliability Organization (HRO) Executive Summit. Las Vegas, NV, October 2019.
  • Speaker and subject matter expert on Lean and Evidence Based LeadershipSM
  • Presented to tens of thousands of leaders at hundreds of healthcare systems and hospitals for audiences of up to 2,000 people over the last six years. Presented “10 Minutes That Count” on “Getting Better Faster — Accelerated Results Through 90 Day Plans”
  • Co-presented a webinar in 2017: “Why Mergers & Acquisitions Fail; Using Cultural Assessments in M&A Due Diligence”
  • Keynote presenter at Hometown Health’s 2015 Fall Conference
  • 2014 NRHA Webinar Presenter on Lean and Evidence Based LeadershipSM
  • Presenter, “Taking Lean to the Next Level with Evidence-Based LeadershipSM” at What’s Right in Health Care® in 2013 and as a Studer Group webinar

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  • Clay Linkous

    Clay Linkous, MBA, FACHE, CSSBB

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