This past week we celebrated the ultimate legacy leader at the Revolution.  Doug Hornsby, who mentored me and many others at Signature Healthcare, is transitioning from our CEO of Silver Angels to the next chapter of his life.  Doug will no longer be my day-to-day partner after 24 years with the organization. Over a decade ago, Doug’s move from Champion Administrator to our fearless leader of Silver Angels might be the best story in East Tennessee by anyone’s standards.  Doug took a fledgling start-up and made it into an excellent Medicaid waiver home care company that is the largest in the State with over 1,000 stakeholders and nearly 1,000 customers. One of the best examples of going from a clunky start-up to a powerful movement is when the leader keeps the mission front and center for everyone to rally around. 

Personally, Doug and I have stayed very close for the past two decades, sharing our highest highs and lowest lows, and I consider him one of my closest friends on the planet.  We pray together, try to vacation together with our families, and ride the healthcare roller coaster together. We have constantly challenged each other to stay faithful to our callings and give wise advice to each other in times of uncertainty because of the deep trust we have earned. Enough about Our history. Let’s get to Doug’s.

The core of his being is a lifelong commitment to serving brothers and sisters within his community as a man of Christ.  Previously, he found the time to start and develop a fantastic ‘non for profit’ women’s crisis center in his hometown in rural Tennessee that is still changing lives daily with its expanded service offerings. However, Doug is now ready to start a new chapter by founding his following ‘non for private’ calling, an addiction center and addiction program around his service area needed in these trying times. He will launch later this summer.

Doug Hornsby is the very rare individual who, when you think of all the things he mastered, contributed to, or help build, it seems like a Forest Gump remake.  When I first met Doug, he was the former president of our healthcare organization, and we hit it off on day one.  I remember walking through his office, waiting for him to meet with me, and looking at all of his plaques, memorable pictures, and rare mementos on his office walls with slight envy. Doug was a small town Alabama boy with a distaste for traditional academics but a voracious passion for leadership and service to his community and his teammates.

The ten leadership lessons that we can all learn from Doug Hornsby that deeply impacted me are:

  1. Be very generous because it is the key to true happiness. Doug has given back and has provided for so many people along his spiritual walk that he made me realize joy does come from giving, not receiving. 
  2. You can have many chapters in your book if you can trust the Lord, but the key is to let one door close, or you will never see what was coming your way. Doug has been everything once.
  3. Family is much more powerful when we see it as a call to open our arms as wide as possible to let others join us because we know we are all deeply connected, and family is not a ‘bloodline’ or a generic link. It is something much bigger. 
  4. Mastery of forgiveness may be our biggest challenge, but we can truly love others like never before if we can get there. Doug taught me forgiveness in my darkest hours.
  5. Stop keeping score all the time! No one cares like you think they do. Let it all go, and learn to cheer for everyone around you! 
  6. Only be passionate about things that truly matter! Doug loved every SEC team that ever won a football championship which seemed almost sac-religious, and I asked him why and he said, “I like winners, and everyone needs to win some time.” 
  7. Be a lifelong learner, and you will never age! Doug continued to share new literature with me and kept going deeper within himself when many were already winding down! 
  8. Every advanced hiring tool we can use to assess talent is essential today but always hire for HEART first and foremost! Doug gave so many leaders today a shot without requiring the perfect prior experience or best-in-class credentials, and usually, he was right! 
  9. Be a great friend and check on others often! Doug was always sending me motivational quotes or scriptures to check in with me in many trying times, and it made him be a friend that I have rarely had in my lifetime! 
  10. Be Humble! It’s the last place uncrowned! Doug had deep quiet competitiveness, but it was against himself, not others, and he learned early on there is no “I” in the word TEAM where he rarely accepted credit or wanted attention.

I was sad at his recent reception last week because I had powerful memories racing across my mind from years back as we told the room war stories about happier, hopeful, and transformative times that we shared. But then I had to remind myself of one of my favorite quotes by Groucho Marx – “don’t be sad it’s over, be glad it happened”! Doug, I am so glad it all happened! Thank you!

We will miss you Doug, but you will always be a big part of who we are at Signature HealthCARE!