At Simon Associates Management Consultants, we have recently been conducting extensive research and client work supporting the great transformation that's finally beginning in some (regrettably not all) hospital and healthcare call centers across the U.S.
Recently I have been working with several clients that need to change their organization’s culture while changing their market positioning and in some cases, while expanding globally. Some of the recurring challenges I’m seeing often follow this kind of decision to become a different type of company. In today's business environment, companies are frequently ready to shed some of their controls, rules and top-down management. Indeed, they want to become more innovative with greater empowerment for their staff and more decentralized decision-making processes.
Clearly, it is time for more creative solutions, particularly ones from the field, as business leaders realize that the best ideas often come from their own employees and even their customers. And while these forward-looking values and behaviors sound like the right ones to be pursuing, the ability to let go of the old and actually enable the new is not that easy.
Our Guest Blogger, Cheryl McMillan, has written a great blog that might help you think about how to re-tool decision-making strategies, increase empowerment and move away from a controlling culture in ways that still reflect your company’s core values. We hope you enjoy the following blog. If you try these ideas, let us know how they worked!
Common CEO Mistake: Being Unclear About Decision-Making Authority
Do you ever complain that your direct-reports don’t make enough decisions on their own? Do they ever complain about your micro-managing? In my work with CEOs and their Sr. Executives over the last 10 years, I often see that the boundaries and authority for decision-making are blurry or non-existent.
Imagine that Sue is COO at ABC Services Company and reports directly to the President, Fred. Over the last couple of years, a technician, Frank, has made several errors, causing several thousand dollars of rework. Believing that it is her responsibility and authority to hire and fire, Sue terminates Frank, who signs a severance agreement. Fred hears through the grapevine that Frank has been fired and was offered a severance agreement well above the company’s standard. Fred is appalled by Sue’s judgment. Doesn’t she know that he must approve all terminations and severance agreements? Sue is furious that Fred is meddling in her direct area of responsibility. Without clarity on specific types of decisions, these situations are guaranteed to occur.
In any typical organization, there are 3 basic levels of authority:
- Someone makes a decision and doesn’t inform others.
- Someone makes a decision with input from others.
- Someone makes a decision and informs others afterward.
This table illustrates how these types of decisions work for a CEO and COO:
Dwight Eisenhower allegedly said, “The chief executive only gets the hard decisions. All the easy ones are made by people below him or her.”
To ensure that happens in your organization, you can create a list of decision-making authority levels using the codes described above. For example:
To create further clarity, you can use these decision codes to clearly state authority levels for decisions that are not specifically listed.
For example, assume Sue approaches Fred with a decision that he wants her to make. Frank could say, “That is a Code 4 decision. You make it and I don’t need to know about it.” Or, if Sue is unclear about a decision, she can ask Fred, “What is the decision code on this?”
Think about the hundreds of decisions that are made in your company every day and what’s at stake. Can you afford to be unclear about your authority levels? What benefits would enhanced clarity bring to your organization?
I've worked in the healthcare arena for the past two decades and one of the pervasive problems affecting hospitals, primary care physicians and the rest of the healthcare industry can be summarized in one question: How do we encourage more men to play an active role in their health?
Looking around towns across the U.S., it’s easy to find Urgent Care Centers (UCCs) that have been thriving for a few years, or have just opened, or are now under construction. In this blog, I wanted to share with you our anthropological research on UCCs and some early insights into how they maybe transforming healthcare. As we work with clients on their customer experiences, the fast growth of UCCs is opening up major opportunities to reassess healthcare strategies.
We are pleased to feature the following blog by our Guest Blogger Cheryl McMillan, a Vistage Master Chair who specializes in helping business leaders change. We thought you would find it of particular interest because its message is perfectly in sync with what Simon Associates is all about: helping companies and their leadership change and adapt to today's shifting business environment.
Using Blue Ocean Strategy®, Innovation Games®, the OCAI culture assessment tool and a variety of workshops and presentations, we apply our anthropological approach to companies who want or need to change, to great results. (Read our Stories2Share.) Similarly, Cheryl writes about helping business leaders change using The Enneagram. Enjoy!
I believe that the health of any company is directly related to the health of its leadership. Therefore, my primary strategy as a Vistage Chair is to help my members learn and grow so that they can become better leaders.
The Enneagram: An effective business tool for transforming relationships and enabling personal growth
When I became a Vistage Chair, I wanted to supplement my business background with a certification in a personality or behavioral assessment system. I looked at the most well-known ones, such as Myers-Briggs and DISC. None gave me insight into the motivation that drives an individual’s behavior. After researching “The Enneagram,” I found it was a great fit and, in 2009, I became a Certified Teacher.
Anais Nin said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
This is a great summary of The Enneagram, which is one of the world’s oldest known personality systems. It recognizes and describes nine distinct and fundamentally different viewpoints, called “Type” in Enneagram lingo. Each Type has a distinct pattern of thinking, feeling and acting.
The power of The Enneagram comes from:
1) identifying the core motivation or belief about what each of us need in life to survive and be happy, and
2) identifying the perceptual filters that shape our perception of the world.
Once we discover our own filters and triggers, we can make new choices based on self-awareness
Each Enneagram type also has a blind spot, which is one focus of our self-development efforts. Studying The Enneagram also helps us to understand and have empathy for others.
To learn more, please check out the following books and websites:
The Enneagram: Understanding Yourself and the Others In Your Life, by Helen Palmer
www.enneagram.com: A portal into the accumulated wisdom collected by Helen Palmer who has been working with The Enneagram system over thirty years. Unique to Helen’s understanding is the integration of psychology and spirituality from the perspective of the Inner Observer, also known as “witnessing consciousness."
www.enneagramworldwide.com: The website of The Enneagram Studies in the Narrative Tradition Professional Training Program, which contains more detail about the individual Types. Helen Palmer and Dr. David Daniels, world-renowned authors and Enneagram teachers, founded the training program in 1988 to certify individuals.
TheEnneagramInBusiness.com: The website of Ginger Lapid-Bogda, providing specific information for using The Enneagram in business.
Marketers should work to become much more attractive to potential customers searching for their goods and services online, advises Andrea Simon, Ph.D., corporate anthropologist and President/Founder of Simon Associates Management Associates (SAMC) in her article, "Maximize Your Inbound Marketing Now," recently featured in PeerSphere Magazine (page 28).
Whether you are involved with the launch and growth of an urgent care center (UCC) or lead another type of healthcare organization, you should be asking yourself the branding question, "Why you?" states Andrea Simon, Ph.D., Founder/CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC), in her May 7, 2015 FierceHealthcare article, “Are Urgent Care Centers Brands Or Commodities?”
Stericycle Communication Solutions (SCS) Joins Simon Associates Management Consultants (SAMC) for the Latest "Trends from the Trenches" Webinar
NEW YORK, NY – May 7, 2015: Reducing the cost of care is a primary focus for most U.S. healthcare organizations today. But concentrating all efforts on cost cutting isn’t the best approach. Healthcare leaders also need to concentrate on the other side of the equation – generating revenue. Join the next Healthcare Innovation: Trends from the Trenches webinar, on May 15, at noon, EDT, and learn how creating extra revenue can be – and should be – an important factor even when cost cutting is a primary objective. Register here for: “Proven Ways To Increase Revenue While Reducing Costs.”