Since this is my first blog entry on my first blog, it makes sense that I take some time to explain why am I writing this. Several things happened to help me with this decision. One of the early parts occurred as I walked into our kitchen and had a conversation with my 20 year old son as he watched ESPN, sent text messages on his phone, updated Facebook and spoke to me about something he read online about politics. That image helped me grasp what our own marketing department had been talking about for the last year or so. Soon after, I heard a presentation on social media and blogs at a health care meeting and it all came together with one last hurdle to overcome – I do not particularly like to write! A couple of recommendations from writers and readers of blogs were for the author of the blog to really be the author and to write on a consistent basis – that commitment will be the growth opportunity for me.
So, with that as a backdrop, the discussion turned to what do I talk about. The name of the blog gives that away – To Transform Health Care – and it comes from our vision statement. Vision statements speak to what an organization aspires to be, what is the higher calling. Our vision statement is fairly new and here is how it came about. After arriving at GHS in 2006, one of the first tasks was to review and revise the strategic plan. As an aside, reviewing or revising a strategic plan is pretty standard approach for a new president of an organization – especially if things are going well and there are no major crises to deal with. That was the case when I arrived and it is why I jokingly and affectionately say that my predecessor, Frank Pinckney, will get a Christmas card from me for as long as I am at GHS.
What is fascinating about a strategic plan is that it not only provides a roadmap of what an organization needs to accomplish, but as importantly, it directs an organization what not to do. It provides the rationale to use a powerful word “no” when determining where to spend money or expend effort. I was fortunate to hire an individual as our VP for Strategic Services, Malcolm Isley, from Duke University Hospital. Malcolm led a process that engaged physician, nursing, administrative and Board leadership as well as frontline employees and managers.
The strategic plan was inclusive, thorough, well-done, and laid the course for where we are heading. And, after it was approved by the Board, one of the Trustees, Jerry Dempsey, commented how the vision at the time did not mesh with the strategic direction of GHS. That comment, supported by others, kicked off a year-long review of the Vision Statement by all levels of leadership and front line employees which again ended in early 2009 when the Board approved the following: Transform health care for the benefit of the people and communities we serve.
I welcome your thoughts, comments or blurts about the blog or the Vision. I plan to speak more about our Vision with my next entry.