Bring Your Strategy to Life: Implementation and Feedback Stages

Gabrielle DeTora, for HealthLeaders Media , May 28, 2010

Empowering employees to take action and succeed above and beyond their CSFs, as well as recognizing and rewarding employees for doing so, is a necessity for achievement. Proving a culture of honesty and support for underachievers is equally important. You do not want your employees covering up failures and not sharing information that could lead to process improvements. Health system managers must also hold employees accountable for not achieving their CSFs, all the while creating a culture of honesty for employees to admit the reality of where they stand. Then management needs to discuss if there is an opportunity for more support through training, IT, marketing or other support services.

Sharing the organization's CSFs in a data dashboard is also helpful. Information may include goals for numbers of procedures preformed, average length of stay, market share, operating margin and so on. Clear information readily available to health system leadership is vital to ensuring honest communications and smart decisions to build organizational success. You can't have a culture of decisive action when management is working in a vacuum, without accurate, up-to-date information.

Lastly, throughout the execution process, it is beneficial to conduct periodic checks of CSFs against the overall vision and goals. If the CSFs which you thought were correct are tracking well, but the plan is not actually being realized, you may not be really measuring what you thought you were.

Out-executing competitors
As Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM, stated in his book Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround, "If you want to out-execute your competitors, you must communicate clear strategies and values, reinforce those values in everything the company does, and allow people to act, trusting they will execute consistent with the values."

It is sometimes difficult to see the forest for the trees. Just as a hospital hires outside consultants to write their master-brand and service-line marketing plans, having external support in creating a plan to execute a health system's strategic plan may be necessary for success. They can support healthcare leadership by clearly communicating organizational strategy to all employees, setting up feedback loops to listen to employee feedback, and include all stakeholders in the execution process. A hospital's physicians and employees are the lifeblood of the organization. Having pride in them and challenging them to make a difference with their day-to-day actions may mean the difference between strategic success and failure.

Gabrielle DeTora is a strategic healthcare consultant in Philadelphia. She may be reached at 908-447-9231 or
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