'Course Correction': Navigating Strategic Initiative Setbacks
Wednesday, September 26, 2018 9:00 AM
A long-time client of mine has been focused on implementing a multi-year practice transformation after a period of unfortunate mismanagement coupled with tremendous growth. Progress in executing strategic initiatives has been exemplary the past year, with the practice successfully navigating governance restructuring by redefining the managing partner position, creating an executive committee, and recruiting an extremely bright and capable executive director. This multi-million-dollar practice began to implement Phase III of its strategic plan, which included recruiting for a newly created clinical nurse supervisor position that ended in a setback.
After an extensive search, the recruiting committee selected a candidate to fill the clinical nurse supervisor role. The HR director was involved in the onboarding process and covered all practice protocols that had been in place for many years. The candidate then shadowed all clinical areas of the practice. During that time, the nurse reported in to the executive director for brief onboarding meetings, and things seemed to be going well. However, reports of inappropriate conversations began trickling back to the executive director, including dismissive remarks regarding practice policies, sharing confidential provider conversations, and so on. Things escalated quickly, resulting in the termination of the individual in this newly created key managerial position.
The executive director — as all true leaders should — dealt with the HR problem when it became apparent. Hoping to avoid similar situations moving forward, he paused to examine the entire recruitment and onboarding process. The director then asked himself, “How, what, and where could we have done things differently?” It did not take him long to zero in on several significant areas of improvement.
1. Candidate selection. It was agreed that the selected candidate had the skill set and experience needed but had a clear “Type B” personality. One quality that all acknowledged as a future necessity for the organization was a person exhibiting a stronger “Type A” personality.
2. Onboarding process. Part of the board’s overarching strategic plan called for significant change management, with accountability being a strong core value. However, when the organization hired and onboarded its first new management-level talent in more than 10 years, it failed to make sure the candidate understood the company’s goals and was held accountable to them.
3. Feedback loop. During management onboarding, a physician and supervisor feedback loop can be instrumental in providing structured communication to candidates regarding practice core values and fostering culture assimilation. Leaving feedback to chance can result in more vocal individuals overstating certain situations, while introverted individuals remain silent, assuming their input is unnecessary.
Learn from Failure
Although this organization suffered a setback, it is important for leaders to avoid being too hard on themselves when every element of a plan is not executed perfectly the first time. Although it is valuable and necessary to self-examine when the implementation of a strategic initiative does not go according to plan, to dwell on it for too long will only slow down course correction. The important thing is to evaluate and improve to ensure that the same mistakes aren’t repeated. This case study illustrates how valuable it is to be able to adapt and improve when necessary.
Organizations that successfully maintain the will and focus necessary to execute strategic initiatives position themselves well for the future. BSM is a firm believer in the value of strategic planning. In fact, this week the BSM team is heading off to our own annual strategic planning meeting, where we will review last year’s key initiatives and how we executed against those. Our success in implementing (or course corrections) will inform our discussions regarding current opportunities.
While I thoroughly enjoy helping clients like the one mentioned above through their strategic planning and implementation process, our own BSM strategic planning meetings fill me with a special mixture of excitement, intellectual stimulation, and pride. Planning, forecasting, being bold with market-focused data, and implementing against strategic initiatives is a part of BSM’s DNA. A high professional standard at every level, kindness and respect, humility, and servant leadership are also part of BSM’s makeup. These intangibles can't be measured financially but make all the difference in our company culture, goals, and execution of future initiatives.
YOUR TURN: How does your organization adapted when the execution of initiatives doesn't go according to plan? Share those strategies with us in the comment section below.