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KUBICA LAFOREST Newsletter - September 2011


Kubica LaForest Consulting

Newsletter: September 2011

Nine Contemplations To Help Align Your Executive Team

Is your executive team aligned? We find that executive team members often understand the strategic vision and direction of the organization, but fail to agree on what needs to be done, by whom, and when. Does this describe your executive team?

In order to assess where your executive team believes they are with regard to alignment, we suggest asking these questions of each member and then comparing notes. Based on what you find you will either have an aligned executive team, or a team that is misaligned. And a team that is not aligned will fail to address the key initiatives and strategies for growth; which results in the organization, its clients and its employees suffering.

1. What are your biggest successes?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Do executive team members agree on the biggest successes?
  • Do they define success as functional unit-based or organizationally-based?
  • Do they define success as a sentinel event (i.e. starting the company, hiring a key employee, acquisition of a new client or another company)?

2. What are your biggest challenges?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Are challenges defined in terms of the organization or in terms of each executive's area of responsibility?
  • Are the challenges defined in broad general terms such as "we need to grow"?
  • Are they described in specific terms such as "we need to reduce our cost of production by a certain percent to be more competitive"?
  • Are they based on data, information and analysis rather than assumptions?

3. Who are your customers?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • How is the customer defined?
  • Are customers segmented into logical categories based on the nature of the business?
    • Demographic
    • Gender
    • Buying Habits
    • Psychographic
    • Socio-economic
    • Industries
    • Sectors within industries
    • Buyers within sectors within industries
    • Service providers
    • Other conditions relevant to your marketplace (In healthcare, an example might be all patients who require hospitalization within a 10 mile radius of the facility, or all patients who need open heart surgery.)

4. Who are your competitors?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Do all team members agree on the competitors?
  • Do any executives answer: we have no competitors?
  • Do any executives give the same answer for competitors as they did for customers?
  • Are competitors mentioned by name?
  • Are competitors defined as organizations in the same business, or are they defined as organizations that provide a different product or service but compete for limited buyer funds?
  • Do they define units within the organization as competitors?

5. What are your differentiators? How are you different?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Do executives answer this question with more detail than they answered the question on competitors?
  • Do they understand and articulate differences but are unclear whom they are different from?
  • Do executives list differentiators in broad general language?

6. How are your clients, customers, or patients better off because they work with you or receive service from you?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Do executives respond to the question using the concept of value provided to its customers?
  • Is the response functional unit-focused?
  • Is the response organizationally-focused?
  • Is the response framed in broad general terms?
  • Can the executive provide specific examples of how clients, customers or patients are better off?

7. Are you on target?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • How do executives interpret "on target"?
  • Is it in financial terms, market share, customer satisfaction or other terms?
  • Can the executives provide examples of why the organization is on target?
  • Is the answer focused on their functional unit or on the organization?

8. What is your 3 to 5 year vision?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • How similar or different are the interpretations of the future for the organization?
  • Is the future defined in terms of the functional unit and its future impact on the organization?
  • Is the future defined with specific details or in generalities?
  • Is the future defined as:
    • New product development opportunities?
    • Gaining market share, using a new strategy?
    • More growth and higher profits?
    • To be the best in our market?

9. What are the organization's top 3 priorities?
Considerations for Alignment:

  • Do the executives agree on the top 3 priorities?
  • Is there any agreement among the executive team?
  • How do the executives' priorities compare to the CEO's priorities?
  • Is there a written plan or readily accessible document that identifies the organizational priorities?
  • Did the executives refer to the plan when identifying the top 3 organizational priorities?

Executive team alignment is critical to the success of the organization. No executive works in isolation, at least successfully, for very long.

Understanding how each executive views your organization, its challenges and its opportunities provides an important foundation for strategic and implementation planning. "Being on the same page" is more than an adage; it is essential for organizational success.

Healthcare Corner

Preventive Care – Update

The Kaiser Family Foundation has published a timely piece on "Preventive Services Covered by Private Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act." We recommend you take a look at the Fact Sheet and familiarize yourself with the latest details http://www.kff.org/healthreform/8219.cfm.

We are strong proponents of preventive care because of its role in earlier disease detection, ability to manage the disease more effectively, and the ability to treat before complications develop or the disease is in an advanced state. But a barrier to using preventive care services has not only been awareness, but more importantly the out-of-pocket costs to the patient who receives preventive services.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) "requires private plans to provide coverage with no deductibles or co-pays for services under four broad categories":

  1. Evidence-Based Screening and Counseling
    1. Coverage would include: screening for depression, diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, various cancers. HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), and counseling for drug and tobacco use, healthy eating, and other health concerns.
  2. Routine Immunizations
    1. Coverage would include: coverage for immunizations for influenza; meningitis; tetanus; HPV; hepatitis A and B; measles; mumps; rubella and varicella
  3. Preventive Services for Children and Youth
    1. Services would include: immunization and screening services defined above, behavioral and developmental assessments, iron and fluoride supplements, and screening for autism, vision impairment, lipid disorders, tuberculosis, and certain genetic diseases.
  4. Preventive Services for Women
    1. Services would include: annual well-woman visits, testing for STIs and HIV, support for breast feeding, and screening and counseling for domestic violence. The requirements also include FDA-approved contraception methods including sterilization procedures as prescribed by a clinician as well as patient education and counseling on contraception.

Almost Half of the Uninsured are Unaware of the ACA Provisions to Help Them

Believe it or not, of the 32 million uninsured population who will gain coverage under the ACA, 47% didn't think they would be affected by the act.

To be more specific:

  • 14% believe the health reform law will hurt them
  • 31 % believe the health reform law will help
  • 7% don't know or refused to answer
  • 47% said it won't make much difference

Communication issue? Awareness issue? Too preoccupied with other daily challenges to take time to learn more about the Act? A complicated issue that on its own merits is hard to understand? Yes to all of these, and likely more.

This is important because it does provide some evidence that individuals, for various reasons, may not know or fully appreciate the potential impact that is about to happen to their health care coverage. And not knowing or understanding a benefit is a serious issue. The preventive services components of the Act stand to create a significant opportunity for improved health in the uninsured population. This is a time where we cannot communicate too much.

To read more about this survey see Drew Altman's Blog – Pulling It Together: http://www.kff.org/pullingittogether/uninsured_informed_altman.cfm

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