Strategy and leadership in health care

Copyright The Beckham Company


Phone:  (843) 298-1131
Fax:  (941) 722-7797

Our Consulting Philosophy

We believe Executive Leadership is responsible for strategic planning.
Ultimately, the Executive Leadership team sets the strategic direction for the organization. Strategic planning efforts that involve a wide range of stakeholders reflect a decision on the part of Executive Leadership to seek out wide involvement and input during the planning process. This helps ensure a diversity of perspectives while building ownership and alignment. But in the end, Executive Leadership must decide what strategies will be embraced and pursued. Management is not a democracy and neither is effective strategic planning.

We think Vision is painted with words that matter. We regard Vision as a picture painted with words. During interviews, we probe for key words, ideas and concepts that can serve as ingredients for the Vision Statement. We use metaphors, stories and visual examples to spur development of Vision. This takes place within the context of a facilitated group exercise. We engage in dialogue regarding the meaning of key words to enrich understanding and relevance. A process of prioritization is used to identify which words are most important. These "most important" words then comprise the critical ingredients for the Vision Statement. The words used are the clients', not the consultants'. As consultants, we weave these words into a coherent Vision Statement. When well articulated and consistently communicated, Vision can help pull the organization into the future. In combination with Mission and Values, we view Vision as the central mechanism for inspiring, informing and aligning strategy and action.

We feel strategies are more than a "to do" list. Strategy development is mostly art with some science thrown in. It requires a "feel for the doable" that comes only from experience. We've spent our careers as students of strategy. It's all we do. Because of that, we feel we bring a unique level of insight to questions of strategy. Some strategies are better than others.

We wear our strategic thinking on our sleeves. In more than 100 published articles, we share how we think about strategy and why. We also take provocative stands on the future of health care. We are rigorous about importing the latest thinking on strategy from other industries. We also reach outside the organizational setting to pull in metaphors and stories that bring new thinking to bear. Our clients are obviously in the best position to judge the quality of thinking we bring to engagements.

We never walk into meetings with blank sheets of paper. We always carry in recommendations. We do this for two reasons. First, it gives the planning team something to "work on." This is invariably more productive and satisfying to the team. Second, this approach allows us as consultants to bring our experience and thinking to bear. We are more than facilitators. We've spent our careers helping health care organizations achieve superior strategic positions. Our clients want to benefit from that experience and thinking. Our preliminary recommendations provide a mechanism for bringing those perspectives to bear.

We are committed to our planning model.
The integrated strategic planning model we apply has taken us many years to develop and refine. It has been applied with a wide variety of organizations. It works.

We will fight for our recommendations.
Sometimes we will feel strongly about a particular strategy or course of action. In those instances, we'll work hard to make our case. In the end, the client must make the critical strategic decisions, but we feel we have a professional responsibility to help ensure that those decisions are well tested.

We feel creating the future should be invigorating. The consultants have an important role to play in making the strategic planning process engaging and enjoyable. Spirited dialogue, energizing exercises and a sense of humor help generate strategic thinking and creativity. So does hiring consultants who have a sense of humor and who genuinely enjoy what they do. Our clients can attest to the personal characteristics we bring to projects.

"It is impossible to be completely flexible. You need a mix of resolve and flexibility - a combination of nonnegotiable expectations and purposeful experimentation. What's needed is a flexible persistence."

Dan Beckham