Innovation is on the top of strategy “to do” lists for most organizations and for good reason. I think the most fundamental challenge for the executives of most organizations serving complex consumers is coming up with “the next big thing” (see Coming Up With The Next Big Thing). For many organizations, the services that have been the foundation of sustainability are losing their market preference and their margins.
The drivers of this change? Preferences for integrated care coordination and service delivery models, value-based reimbursement, consumerism, technology, and competition for talent. All these market developments are making traditional services obsolete and driving demand for new approaches.
Even with a strategy that is heavy on innovation and new service line development, when it comes to implementation, most strategies and new service lines fail (see How Many Strategies Actually Get Implemented?). The reasons are many, but generally fall in two categories—implementation planning and culture (see Making Change Happen: From Strategic Planning To Successful Implementation).
For organizations that must navigate these changing strategic waters, the question is how to proceed. In his presentation, Positioning Your Workforce For The Value-Driven Environment Of The Future at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat, OPEN MINDS Senior Ken Carr suggested that executives take some advice from Vijay Govindarajan and use the “three box solution.” The concept is to address the past, the present, and the future simultaneously in innovation implementation. (I find it interesting that the concept is based on the three gods of Hindu cosmology—Vishnu, the preserver, Shiva, the destroyer, and Brahma, the creator.)
In the context of managing a health and human service organization, the management translation is managing the present, selectively forgetting the past, and creating the future.
Managing the present—This is all about keeping the wheels on the bus and optimizing current service lines.
Selectively forgetting the past— This means closing service lines that no longer make sense and it is the tough one for most organizations. Mr. Carr explained:
Everyone can name one program that made sense five or ten years ago but may not be delivering on the mission or bottom line that it originally did. A couple of times a year, we need to review service lines and we have to say for some, we can’t do this anymore. We can’t drive new things if we are putting resources into old things that we are no longer about.
Creating the future—Finally, there is building the service lines for the future. It is taking new service line concepts and making them a reality, first in pilot projects and then at scale.
This simultaneous focus on the past, the present, and the future demands new leadership skills and the ability to manage complexity. In my closing at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat, Your Organization Is Ready, Are You?, I spoke to the need for new leadership skills and transformational leaders who can deal with the complexity of the current and the future simultaneously.
For executives of most health and human service organizations, the key questions as they look ahead are what will we be in the future, can we afford to get there, and who will lead us there? The first two are answered by strategy but making them happen is all about leadership.
For more on complexity leadership, check out these resources in The OPEN MINDS Industry Library:
- The New Executive Strategy Role: Becoming The Agent Of Change For Your Organization
- Succession Planning: Positioning Your Leadership Team For Future Success
- The Complexity Challenge: How To Position Your Organization For Success In A New Era
- The Complexity Challenge Keeping You Up At Night? Former Execs Advise. . .
- Succeeding In A Value-Based Health & Human Service Landscape: Keys to Balancing Performance, Measurements, Talent & Capital
- What Does It Take To Outlast The Disruptors? Building A New Strategy For A New Market
- Collaboration, Connectivity & Complexity: Building A New Leadership Framework For A Value-Based Market
- Do Something Different, “Differently” – A Specialist Provider Organization Guide To Building A New Strategy For Service Line Sustainability
- How To Build A Strategy For Success: Best Practices In Strategy, Portfolio Management, & Scenario-Based Planning Breakout Session
- From Organizational Strategy To Marketing Strategy: How To Develop A Successful Marketing Plan In Sync With Your Future Vision
For even more, join us at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute in Clearwater, Florida on February 13 for the session “Workforce Innovation In A Complicated Market: Using Technology To Augment Staff & Increase Clinical Effectiveness” led by James Stewart, President & CEO, Grafton Integrated Health Network.