Andrew Miller's Business Checkup // Insights on Operational Effectiveness for Healthcare
Volume 32, December 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

A rapidly-growing medical device company wanted to maintain their current level of growth, but their current infrastructure wouldn't support any further growth. They needed a better infrastructure to support further growth.

The Intervention

Andrew worked with the senior management team to help them focus on the growth opportunities that best aligned with the organization's strengths. This included assessing the best opportunities for growth, allocating resources to take advantage of those opportunities, and ensuring the current customer base was not forgotten about. The focus became customer retention and referrals.

At the same time, Andrew worked with the senior management team to identify areas of the infrastructure that needed to grow with the business. The organization built up the infrastructure as needed in some key areas by re-deploying key resources and adopting operating processes focused on outcomes and results.

The Results

The organization was able to maintain an annual growth rate of more than 15% per year without hiring any additional staff, and it was also able to build its infrastructure to support that continued annual growth rate.
About Andrew Miller

Andrew Miller is a leading expert in operational excellence. He helps his clients maximize profitability and performance by integrating strategies around driving innovation and collaboration, improving customer on boarding and retention, aligning strategy and execution, hiring and retaining top people, and optimizing speed.

His healthcare clients include renowned hospitals, global healthcare suppliers, shared service organizations, group purchasing organizations, private clinics and government institutions.


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

Focus on strategic growth

Too many organizations want to grow in too many directions at once and usually flounder. The most effective growth comes from areas that align with the strengths of your organization. Focus on growth that compliments the customers and markets you are already in.

Leverage your existing customer relationships

Your existing customer base offers the quickest and best opportunity for growth. Focus on customer retention and gaining referrals to help with that growth. Offer other products and services to your existing customers and ask them for referrals to prospective customers.

Practice disciplined and controlled growth

Organizations don't want to grow too quickly so as to sacrifice the quality of what they offer. Don't sacrifice existing customer relationships for new ones. Don't try to grow into multiple markets at the same time. Don't launch too many new products at once. Don't bite off more than you can chew.


Improving the Use of Project Teams

Organizations use project teams to achieve a specific goal or initiative. Often these teams are made up of individuals from different departments and have various expertise. Even though there might be a team leader or a project manager, one of the biggest challenges organizations have is how to get results when that team leader doesn't have authority over project team members. They don't work for him or her.

There are a few things organizations can do to ensure the success of these projects teams:

  • Set a clear objective for the team - What is the desired outcome? Why was this team put together? Every successful initiative begins with a clear statement about what needs to be accomplished.
  • Include the team in developing the plan - The clear objective shows that team what needs to be accomplished, a good team leader will involve the team in the development of how it will be accomplished. If team members are involved in the planning, they are more likely to take ownership of the initiative and their role within it.
  • Set clear expectations - Everyone on the team needs to know what is expected of them and what contribution they will make to help achieve the objective set out for the team.
  • Empower team members - Team members need to be empowered to make decisions in the best interest of the successful achievement of the objective. They may need to bring in other resources, perform research, or hire an outside firm for advice.
  • Set clear success measures - These success measures must focus on outcomes, not activities and they will give team members a clear view on how they will be assessed. This will help inform their behaviour, so it is paramount that the success measures tie directly back to the objectives that were set out.

Too often organizations strike up a project team for the purposes of gaining perspective from different areas of the organization, but they don't have a clear goal or objective in mind. This leads to wasted time and effort, the creation of silos as each team only focuses on their activities, and longer timelines for completion.

By developing a clear vision of what success looks like, team members can focus on the same goal and discuss and debate the best way to get there. The most successful projects teams are ones that focus on achieving a specific goal, not the completion of activities.

When you focus on activities you will never have the right people or the right level of ownership and accountability. When you focus on results and outcomes, you bring in whomever is needed to help you achieve those outcomes quickly and successfully.

On Andrew MilleR


Upcoming Events
I am hosting a free workshop on Operational Excellence on January 30 in Toronto. This will be a great opportunity to interact with people you wouldn't normally meet, discover new strategies to boost the performance of your organization, and try those strategies out through exercises and group work.
Click here to register and for more details.
My forthcoming book, Redefining Operational Excellence: New Strategies for Maximizing Performance and Profits Across the Organization, is due out early next year.


Recent news

Listen to my recent teleconference on how to increase the adoption of innovation in healthcare.

Read my latest article for the Ontario Hospital Association on how to achieve profitable growth in a changing healthcare industry.

Check out my blog, From Chaos to Order, where I post new articles, provocative ideas and other content regularly.

Recent videos
Check out my video series on Operational Excellence. These are short videos filled with tips to help your business run more effectively.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Have a safe and healthy holiday season!

Please note that we grow our business through referrals and would never be too busy to speak with a friend, family member, acquaintance or colleague if you think we could be of assistance.

Please contact Andrew Miller at 416-480-1336 or visit our website at

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© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.