by: Tina Nazier
As a health care executive, you are faced with many challenges including navigating new payment systems, optimizing practitioner performance, integrating systems, building trust, and everything in between in the pursuit of delivering an exceptional patient experience at a reasonable cost. All of these efforts, in addition to fueling growth for the organization, can stretch your band to the point that it snaps!
Here are six strategies to extend your bandwidth:
1. Implement a dyad leadership model. This is crucial to achieving the greatest results. You can implement a strong dyad leadership approach by carefully defining roles and responsibilities with a clear delineation between operational and clinical functions. In addition to clearly defined roles and responsibilities, each leader is accountable for achieving specific measurable outcomes. Clearly defined roles and outcomes leave little room for ambiguity in expectations and create an environment of individual accountability, thus leaving you more time to focus on other strategic priorities.
2. Perform an objective executive talent assessment. Who are your top leaders? What are their strongest competencies? What areas of personal and professional growth are necessary? What is their potential to grow in the organization? This should be an objective assessment done in conjunction with other leaders, peers, and staff in order to provide a 360 degree view of the individual. Don’t forget to assess both performance and potential in order to look at both the needs of the individual and the organization. Ensuring you have the right leaders with the right skills and competencies will create alignment at the top which is required to successfully cascade strategy to every level in the organization.
3. Create a powerful coaching and mentoring plan for your key leaders. Once the talent assessment is complete, you need to think critically about how to develop individuals to their fullest potential. Strategies may include additional training, executive coaching, and behavioral change modeling in order to achieve individual goals. Executive coaching should take into account the entire individual; professional and personal, to achieve the greatest results. Due to the sensitive nature of coaching the entire individual; it is sometimes more beneficial for the executive coach to be someone outside the organization who understands the health care environment and possesses the skills necessary to coach at this level.
4. Execute your plan and insist on alignment throughout the organization. Strategy is only as effective as its implementation. Executing strategy should be at the forefront of each executive team member’s mind. The organization needs a consistent process for strategy execution that includes steps to cascade the strategy to every level of the organization. Since organizational culture will either hinder or support the successful implementation of strategy, a cultural transformation component should be part of the overall plan. This will increase the probability of achieving targeted results.
5. Measure your results flawlessly. The plan should include a “short list” of metrics and an easy, almost automatic, way for each executive to view daily, weekly, or monthly results as appropriate. Metrics should be defined based on an organizational, departmental, and individual basis. Quality, safety, patient satisfaction, and performance metrics should be measured and communicated across the organization. Timely communication of metrics through a dashboard tool will ensure your leaders stay focused on results and can immediately make course corrections when necessary.
6. Structure your reward system based on results. Compensation and other incentives should be tied to outcomes achieved. Rewards are most effective when they relate directly to the overall performance of the individual, department, and organization. Since reimbursement is tied closely to patient outcomes, it makes sense that reward systems should also be tied to patient outcomes. A motto for future health care effectiveness is “no outcome, no income.” It may be helpful to consider this as you develop individual and organizational incentives that reward what really matters in health care.
As you look to incorporate these six strategies into your leadership approach, you may experience a renewed sense of energy and find more time to focus on what really matters–RESULTS. Frequently, busy executives get stuck putting out fires and managing daily crisis. Time spent in crisis management diverts attention from improving outcomes and achieving results, and this diversion is costly to the organization. It takes the entire leadership team performing at an optimal level and incorporating these strategies into their leadership approach to achieve organizational results.