In today’s healthcare environment, an organization’s capability
to growing a sustainable revenue line is dependent on growing their market
share. Because of the increasing availability of comparable clinical outcome
data and ease of transportation, consumers have more flexibility in selecting
their health care providers. An important question that the CEO and Leadership
Team of any healthcare organization must be asking themselves: “Is
our culture and brand strong enough to attract new customers and retain
our old ones?” This is the critical question that all leaders of
any business must ask and answer in the affirmative to contribute to future success.
Culture and brand are linked together as the face of the organization,
so what are the elements needed? Culture is the “soul” of
the organization and its people. Brand is its identity. Creating a strong
culture and brand is not an accident, it must be intentional. If the culture
is weak, the organization’s brand and its products and services
become unrecognizable from any others. The essential components of a strong
culture and recognizable brand include:
1. Mission, Vision, and Values – a simple way of articulating these
for the employees is that the Mission is who we are, the Vision is where
we are going, and our Values are how we live each day. In these highly
challenging and competitive times it is important that these three foundational
elements of the organization not be written documents posted on the walls,
but rather daily, lived experiences.
2. Accountability of its People – every strategy and tactic, so critical
in building the brand, should have an assigned responsible party/parties,
metrics for success, and timelines for completion.
3. Environment of Transparency – All outcome data, good or bad should
be communicated both internally and externally. This provides a strong
motivation to improve. Without it, mediocrity is often the outcome.
4. Authenticity of Board Members, Physician Leaders, and Administrative
Leaders – It is important leaders be humble, be inclusive, and “walk-the-talk”.
5. Embrace a Journey to Excellence – Best practice outcomes should
be utilized as the goals for all work.
6. Use of a Balanced Scorecard – All oversight and decision-making
should be driven by a balanced scorecard populated by those measurements
deemed critical for success. These measurements should represent clinical
outcomes, service delivery indicators, business literacy goals, and community
7. Strategic and Future Planning Processes
8. Effective and Strong Physician Integration
9. Organization Ethics - A strong moral compass is required for all. A
non-retaliation environment is critical for those who come forward identifying
10. Enterprise Risk Management – Understanding the potential side
effects of change and putting in place strategies to minimize such is
an important process. Also, fostering an innovative environment requires
a defined risk tolerance level.
11. A Palpable Passion – All who work in healthcare must remember
that it is a “sacred ministry” because each day people come
in and turn their most precious gift over to a healthcare professional,
their life. This is an awesome privilege, which should generate a high
level of passion. Passion is required to face the enormous challenges
which lie ahead.
It is clear that a strong Culture and Brand are critical success factors
for any organization, perhaps even more important today than they were
in the past. If the components described above are not embraced at all
levels of the organization, the best strategies will not be implemented
successfully. We have all heard repeatedly that “culture trumps
strategy”, but my version is “the organization’s culture
and brands wil drive its strategy”.