Fall 2011
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Leadership Editorial
Rod Corn, FACHE

In visiting with health care leaders across the Midwest, the elevated level of anxiety and stress has become quite clear in the decision-making process today. Having been a health care system executive since 1979, I recall the transition from Medicare cost based reimbursement to the Prospective Payment System causing a similar state of fretfulness among health systems leadership. Of course, most hospitals survived that era of major transition. The key difference today is the rules from which we will have to operate are grey and not yet clearly defined. The introduction of Prospective Payment System and the current state of proposed health care reform initiatives seem to have a common theme of change, that being “Reform Business Model Reinvention.

With this thought, the recent unveiling of the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington D.C. stirred a thought that relates to the current health care industry dynamics. If you think back to the successful modern social reform movements like Martin Luther King, many of those occurred successfully with little or no “designated authority.” History has proven to us that many of the world changing outcomes accomplished by Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were achieved, not by being an appointed leader, but as charismatic leaders. A common reactive trait among leaders in dealing with a significant problem is the urge to utilize their designated authority status to create and lead the implementation of the “solution. Harry S. Truman was once quoted, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit. During the past few months of being exposed to multiple different clients’ environments, I have come to learn that you can quickly identify those organizations that would embrace Harry S. Truman’s quote and those that do not.

In creating a solution for whatever type of problem, architectural or patient care related, I would encourage not adopting the “…form ever follows function…” principal of Louis Sullivan, America’s first Modern Architect, but that of Frank Lloyd Wright, “Form follows function - that has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” The spiritual union inference would suggest we will have better outcomes by a team approach methodology. Utilizing this belief within our organizations can be best accomplished by one of Steven Covey's principals of “Unleashing Talent” in co-creating solutions to migrate your organizations through this era of “Business Model Reinvention.”

In the midst of your everyday challenges, I would encourage you to reflect and recall that the word leadership is a noun and innovate is the verb that rallies leadership into action. If one of your outcomes of innovation discoveries leads to the need to reassess your facilities plan, we at ACI-Boland would be pleased to share our experiences and expertise with your team.

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