Yokl: How Are You Generating Creative Tension?

As a supply chain leader, one of your primary jobs is to make outside market pressures felt inside your healthcare organizations as suggested by Robert Simons a Harvard Professor.  Instead of making your employees feel ultra-comfortable with the current state of their performance, you need to light a fire under them to do even more with fewer resources — than ever before.

This “mindset” is critically important in a non-profit setting since it is very easy for your employees to feel they are isolated from the healthcare market forces that are keeping you and your executive management team up at night. They need to be motivated to feel the pain too.

This might seem like harsh treatment at first, but it is the reality of the new healthcare economy.  You need all hands on deck on your supply chain ship, ready and able to contribute more creative ideas to lowering your healthcare organization’s cost and improving its quality which is the chief target of the ObamaCare’s bending of the healthcare cost curve policy.

The first strategy that I would recommend to get your employees motivated to think and act differently is to share with them, at each and every one of your staff meetings, the new revelations that are coming out of Washington and the marketplace about how ObamaCare will affect your healthcare organization. 

For instance, every hospital is scrambling to decide how they are going to reduce their readmissions rate to comply with future regulations, so that they will not have their reimbursement cut.  This information will get your staff to start thinking about what they can do, if anything, to assist your healthcare organization with this challenge and to understand that no hospital will be untouched by ObamaCare’s new regulations.

Next, I would start to implement ambitious stretch goals for all of your staff members to be measured and held accountable for achieving. They could be similar to increasing your inventory turns by 15% or doubling your savings over last year. These new go-the-extra-mile goals will stimulate your employee’s resourcefulness in figuring out how to do it while challenging their old assumptions, norms and expectations.  

As Simons recommends, I would have all of your supply chain staff become members of hospital cross-functional and cross-unit teams.  This way they will not only serve as emissaries for your supply chain department they will also return with ideas and innovations from their colleagues they can use back at their home base.  Think of this tactic as cross-pollination of new ideas from every area of your healthcare organization.

All of these propositions I have just offered have one goal in mind: generating creative tension. No longer can we hope that our supply chain staff “get it” that we are all in for a rocky ride with ObamaCare. They must be pressed, pulled and then motivated to see that the healthcare landscape is rapidly changing and that their commitment, creativity and decisions are crucial to your healthcare organizations survival in preparing for the tsunami that is on its way.  To deny this eventuality could be disastrous to your healthcare organization’s financial health.

Robert T. Yokl

Chief Value Strategist

Strategic Value Analysis® in Healthcare


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