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Strategy: Charting the Course in Healthcare

by Mike Freel, PhD on September 10, 2020

Business NavigatorStrategy and leadership go hand in hand. One of the things I like about organizational strategy is that it takes creative, innovative and brave leadership to move an organization into the unknown. It’s like sailing into uncharted waters. It’s a place you have to go but it’s a little scary and you’re not quite sure what course to take.

In previous Cassling Leadership Institute sessions, we’ve talked about fear, conflict and how successful leaders are never satisfied with the status quo. We talked about change. Setting organizational strategy encompasses all of these things. You can’t move forward, do anything different or get better at what you do if you don’t have a strategy to get there.

At the most basic level, a strategy involves getting from point A to point B. But a lot of things can prevent us from getting there. In real life, point B moves! It’s never in the same place and it never stays put. I wish it would. It would make strategy a whole lot easier.

As leaders in our organizations, we constantly face environmental and organizational changes. Just look around. How has the COVID pandemic affected your organization’s strategy? We face a lot of challenges right now! Having a solid strategy in place will help us adapt to the inevitable waves of change.

Strategic management is a model for how organizations create strategy. When organizations adopt this model, they become more fluid. They are better able to adapt to changes.

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Strategic management is a four-part, cyclical model for how organizations address strategy. It involves identifying current or impending environmental changes, developing specific strategies to address those changes on the horizon, implementing one or more of those specific strategies and, finally, measuring the impact the strategy had.

As I mentioned, it’s a cyclical model. No single part is more important than the whole. Organizations that adopt this type of model don’t have to stop what they are doing to readjust their strategies. If point B moves, it’s no big deal. We adjust. We adapt. We don’t start over.

A lot more goes into strategic management than just planning and implementing strategies. It involves a keen business sense and understanding of how your organization conducts business. It involves innovation at several levels. It involves understanding your place in the healthcare world.

Do you add value at each step? Do you connect people to resources? Or are you a one-stop shop? Your business model will impact your organization’s strategy and how you deliver care.

When we talk about strategy, remember, strategy isn’t a linear process. You don’t merely chart a course for where you want to go. Successful organizations understand that the winds of change, the tide and the currents will push you around. When your strategic goals change, the successful organization is able to adapt to that change and set a new course… But they don’t stop sailing.

Register now for Dr. Freel's upcoming Cassling Leadership Institute webinar, "Strategy: Charting the Course," taking place on September 17.

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Meet the Author

Mike Freel, Ph.D., has served as a seminar speaker for Cassling’s Investing in You educational program. Mike Freel, Ph.D., is currently an Associate Professor and Program Director for Bellevue University's Master of Health Administration and Bachelor of Healthcare Management programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Freel has a professional background in healthcare, as well as experience in corporate organization and employee development. He has served in several healthcare roles in the clinical and academic fields. He is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the Education Advisory Board for the Nebraska Hospital Association. He earned his Ph.D. in Human Resource Development from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he researched emotional intelligence in clinical nurses. He has authored several publications on EI and leadership and presented on various healthcare and leadership topics for local and national conferences.

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