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By Monica E. Oss

December 7, 2011

Last week, in response to my article, Marketing. How Much Should You Spend? Who Should You Hire? , I got some great feedback from all of you. One response was typical of many, written by a frustrated manager:

“I [am leading] the effort in obtaining accreditation, licensing and certification and opening a behavioral health inpatient adult behavioral health dual diagnosis hospital…Unfortunately…the mindset of [the] leaders…has not advanced to that level of excellence, innovative thinking and strategic development that is so very well outlined in the article…It is frustrating to say the least and somewhat frightening to see so many organizations not getting it.”

This is not an unusual situation – but it is a serious one. Executive teams need to focus not only on cutting their budgets in this time of change, but developing their growth strategies as well. These growth strategies need to be anchored in an understanding of the market and include a tactical plan that addresses the realities of the competitive environment. I recommended a few management exercises for my frustrated colleague to consider including:

  1. Customer market research—in-depth interviews with key payers/referral sources, gathering their experiences with the organization and with competitors.

  2. Competitor market research—what are competitors doing and what are they planning? (the key here is define “competitor” as broadly as our customers do).

  3. Payer-specific scenario planning—what are key payers planning to do?

  4. Zero-based marketing budgeting—start with desired revenue number for the next budget period, and build the model to achieve that number (with tactical metrics).

  5. Systematic new service line development decision making—metrics-based ranking of service expansion areas with investments made based on those metrics.

His response to my recommendations was an interesting one. He said that he would try to bridge the “knowledge gap” of the executives that he worked with using my suggestions, but he wasn’t sure if that was enough. His comment, “It is not just a knowledge gap, but also a passion gap.”

Unfortunately, while you can do much about the knowledge gap of many executive teams, there is not much to be done with the passion gap. You can’t create the interest in and desire to lead a the change that will allow an organization to reposition for success in a new environment. The old adage, “you can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” is very apt here. The organization lead by executives without a passion for change, like the proverbial horse, can die a slow death even in the midst of a flood of opportunity.


Monica E. Oss
Chief Executive Officer, OPEN MINDS

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For another free resource, see; Marketing Is Always The Key To Success all members 

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