By Tom Schramski, PhD, CM&AA
Volume 2 Issue 17, August 18, 2015
In her excellent book, The Agility Advantage, international consultant Amanda Setili analyzes one trait of consistently successful companies. They have organizational agility – the ability to see and capitalize on opportunities quickly. The benefit of this ability could be no more apparent than in today’s healthcare marketplace, rife with fast-paced, disruptive innovation, as well as unknown challenges and possibilities.
How can a healthcare or human services organization practice agility? Here are some practical ways:
Keep Your Leadership Strategic
More than ever, C-level executives and Boards of Directors need to step out of their day-to-day activities and focus on longer term objectives, while deploying the resources necessary to support future action as quickly as possible.
Make Your Cash Agile
Use your cash to support your agility. Matt Pettinelli, President & CEO of CapGrow Partners, notes, “Our programs help human service executives expand their strategic options by converting their real estate assets into accessible capital so that a greater investment in existing and new programs can be achieved.” CapGrow is one of an increasing number of investors and lenders that can enhance operational flexibility for mission-driven companies.
Focus On Customer Outcomes
Decision-making from the boardroom is a dying model for implementing strategic change, especially in a healthcare market that is increasingly person-centered and consumer-focused. The question becomes one of gathering reliable, useful customer data that is incorporated into decision-making – not general customer satisfaction surveys.
Increase Financial Alertness
A key to agility is confidence in your numbers and the ability to project likely strategic scenarios upon implementation. This is one of the essential qualities of a forward-looking company and is typically one of the standout weaknesses for leadership that fears the future.
Encourage Autonomy And Decisions
Despite the tomes of enlightened management best practices, meetings, structure, and the bureaucracy that David Graeber refers to as “still the water in which we all swim” often imprison us. Agile organizations consciously develop options that challenge traditional bureaucracy. Whether as simple as an independent work group with few pre-determined expectations or a company-wide last-ditch survival effort, autonomy and decisions are valued.
As Amanda Setili suggests in her conclusion, “agility isn’t something you leave to chance.” In fact, agility is imperative. Thoughtful planning to make sure your healthcare organization is agile and creative is about liberating your future potential.
Tom was the Founder and Managing Partner of VERTESS. He was a Certified Merger & Acquisition Advisor (CM&AA), consultant, and Licensed Psychologist with over 35 years of very successful national experience in the healthcare marketplace, including co-founding and building a $25 million behavioral health/disabilities services company. Tom represented sellers and investors across the healthcare spectrum and was recognized for his executive leadership in the 2005 Entrepreneur of the Year issue of Inc. Tom passed away in December 2018.