Andrew Miller's Business Checkup // Insights on Operational Effectiveness for Healthcare
Volume 26, April 2013
This monthly newsletter is designed specifically to help healthcare executives and business owners raise the bar within their organizations by providing insights on how to improve performance and maximize operational effectiveness and profitability.

Case Study

The Situation

The Canadian subsidiary of a U.S. corporation was having difficulty implementing the strategy developed by their parent company. They believed that many of the components of that strategy were not suitable for the Canadian market.

The Intervention

Andrew first worked with the subsidiary to identify which parts of the strategy might not work in Canada. He then met with the head of the Canadian organization and key people at the US organization to ensure that all of the objectives of the parent company were taken into account. Based on these meetings, Andrew helped develop an implementation strategy that aligned the tactics of the subsidiary with the strategy and objectives of the US parent by focusing on practical ways to achieve those objectives.

The Results
The Canadian organization saw a 10% growth in profit after that strategy was implemented and a new strategy development process was created to ensure similar results in the future.
About Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller is a consultant, writer and speaker who has helped world-class organizations improve profitability and performance through operational excellence. His healthcare clients include renowned hospitals, global healthcare suppliers, shared service organizations, group purchasing organizations, private clinics and government institutions.

Andrew provides value to his clients by using his experience from both the private and public sectors to help maximize their strategic and operational effectiveness.

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What insights can you draw from this case study and how might they be applied elsewhere?

Focus on strengths, not weaknesses

While some components of the U.S. strategy were not applicable to the Canadian market, many of them fit with the subsidiary's strengths and the Canadian division was able to take advantage of them. The best results come from focusing on what an organization does best, not trying to fix its weaknesses.

Tactics must align with strategy

In many organizations, the daily activities of the employees don't always align particularly well with the overall objectives and strategy of the organization. The mistake organizations often make when faced with this issue is trying to micromanage their employees, This is not an efficient use of resources. Better to focus on results and outcomes, not activities and tasks. By focusing on those outcomes, organizations can ensure that what their employees do on a daily basis will align with the overall strategy.

Strategy must be organic

Strategy is not something that is developed once and never changes again. It must change as the business environment changes. In this case study, Andrew helped the Canadian organization identify which elements of the strategy were most applicable to their market and which wouldn't work. Recognizing that not every market is the same will go a long way towards successful strategy execution.


Gaining an outside perspective

The best companies in the world consistently look outside their organizations for new ideas, new interpretations, new innovations, and new ways of operating. They don't always adopt them, but they know what is out there. Healthcare companies, both providers and suppliers, need to do a better job at this, and not just when budgets are being cut or business might be lost. It needs to be a part of your corporate culture. Call it a zest for learning and improving performance. I call it the pursuit of operational excellence.

Here are some ways to gain an outside perspective:

  • Talk to your peers. Learn what other organizations have done in similar situations. Odds are, most challenges have been addressed somewhere before. There is no need to start from the beginning.
  • Become active in industry associations. This builds on the first point and gives you access to industry experts with similar interests. Make sure you choose the right association - one that will provide value to your organization and where your organization can also add value.
  • Talk to your customers. Find out how customers have handled various situations in the past with other providers. Ask your customers to talk to their peers to gain additional insight.
  • Talk to your suppliers and business partners. Suppliers and business partners have access to many other organizations, including customers, prospects, and peers, so they can often provide you with examples of other organizations that have faced similar challenges and opportunities.
  • Hire outside advisers. I can't ignore this one. There are companies that can bring unique perspectives and best practices from many different organizations. Those perspectives and practices can then be adapted to best suit your organization.
  • Find other trusted sources. These might come in the form of blogs, articles, newsletters, international organizations, or organizations in other countries. Find sources you trust and stay connected to them to learn what is happening elsewhere.

My client work often includes validating the ideas that clients already have and then building on those ideas. There is great value in that it allows an organizations to ensure it is moving in the right direction. Too many organizations I talk to acknowledge that the healthcare environment is changing but aren't doing anything about it. We may not be reading about those companies for very much longer.

Are you opening the doors and windows to get an outside perspective? Or are you stuck in a closed space breathing your own exhaust?

On Andrew MilleR


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© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.