How an In-House Consulting Team Saved $3 Million in 9 Months

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media , September 9, 2011

Walker resisted the temptation to develop any type of reporting structure for a year because she wanted team members to realize that no priority—not even their former boss's wishes—was bigger than any other.

"We wanted people who could effectively float to the needs of the organization and leadership was based on the need," she says. "In healthcare, people have traditionally been comfortable with lines of authority. We wanted to change that." 

The team meets for a half hour (and no longer) every Monday at 8:00 AM. They all stand so as not to get too comfortable. They use whiteboards to detail all the work currently in process. The team talks about what needs to get done this week and whether team members assigned to certain projects need to enlist help.

"Is there any dissatisfaction that I need to talk to one of the executive sponsors about?" Walker asks rhetorically, in her staccato meeting style. "Sometimes that person might be the holdup, and I might need to intervene."

The team incorporates individuals that come from both management and non-management backgrounds. It consists of one vice president of business development and the vice president of marketing. There are three associate vice presidents: one in quality, one in finance, and one in communications. It has four "generalist" directors, two project managers and four analysts.

The diversity of the work depends on the needs of the executive "sponsor." Consultants on the strategic services team dowork ranging from writing manuals, to business assessments, to business plans.

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