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Surviving in a world of change ...or… what do you do when the cheese keeps moving?

Strategic plans

Who knew when we founded DeltaSigma five years ago our company’s name would be so prescient? The mathematical symbols ∆ and ∑ have been used to denote respectively "change" and "total" and that certainly describes the last five years of both the economy and healthcare industry. The advent and continuing rollout of the Accountable Care Act (ACA) and an econo

my that plunged to near disaster and now struggles to gain footing have completely changed the landscape from 2006 to 2011.

We've certainly seen the impact of this total change on plans, vendors and providers in our industry. Some have thrived while others have languished. We thought it would be useful to summarize the characteristics of the thrivers and encourage you to see how your organization compares. Let us know what you think of our list.

Embrace change

We've been struck by the contrast between those organizations that envision opportunities in a dynamic environment versus those that see only the threats. Thrivers accept new realities and adapt to them rather than try to negate them with a longing for the way things use to be. They recognize that the paradigm has changed and that they live in a new world with significant risk and opportunity. For them, embracing change means incorporating change vehicles into their organization at every level and in every activity from how they gather information to how (and how quickly) they make decisions. It sometimes means shaking up management structures and incorporating more "change-makers" in key spots. Thrivers believe the need for change never ends.

Be prepared

Most organizations go from crisis to crisis with little time to step back and see the bigger picture. Thrivers recognize that it is important to regularly conduct scenario planning sessions that ensure a focus on both opportunities and hurdles. Taking the time to step back and look at the "what ifs" of what could happen keeps their management teams sharp and ready to take action in a changing environment.

Find your sweet spots and partner for everything else

Thrivers have identified and concentrated their resources on the areas that are uniquely theirs while engaging partners and vendors for everything else. Thrivers have learned not to waste precious resources on building the perfect internal solution. They contract with “Best in Class” vendors or find good partners to bring them needed competencies

Listen to the market

When an organization resorts to a bunker mentality, closed off from the rapidly changing market, its days are numbered. Thrivers are active, talking with their members and providers and gathering and analyzing market and competitor data then looking for ways to better meet their customers’ needs. Thrivers view the changing world as a challenge and look for the opportunity to grow and diversify their organization by reading the market through multiple channels. They are always looking for ways to improve quality of care, reduce costs and increase access by adding their voice and resources where it can have the greatest impact.

Don't be a lone voice in the wilderness

Thrivers recognize the power in numbers and are actively involved with community-based organizations, advocacy groups, trade associations and business collaborations and other venues where they can join with like-minded allies. By combining forces, thrivers have a better chance of having a positive impact on legislation and regulations critical to the success of their organization.

Be the change you want to see in the world

Few of us will be able to change the world as much as Steve Jobs but most of us have a desire to do so. He once said, "Being the richest person in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me." The healthcare industry is in desperate need of a “Steve Jobs” mindset. Thrivers don't wait for someone else to do what they believe needs to be done. They do it and make their mark on the world.

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