Is it 'Mission Impossible' for healthcare? Why mission-driven leadership is still the answer.

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By Rand O’Leary

Healthcare has been in a tremendous period of change, mergers, acquisitions, leadership restructures, and new and improved strategic plans and priorities fill the time of most leaders.  During this time of change, many leaders may wonder privately, does the mission of this organization still matter? Or is it only about the bottom line?   

When looking at high performing companies outside of healthcare, they all share some things in common, first, they have a clear and well spelled out purpose/mission. This is important so everyone, front line staff to executives can understand the why we are here, and how we will define success.  This is not just a feel-good statement, and properly developed and executed this has the potential to pull people forward, especially during uncertain or difficult times. 

Healthcare is special in that at our fundamental core, we take care of people.  People who are vulnerable and frightened, and don’t know what to expect next.  So, the why in your Mission Statement is critical, and can serve as a rallying point in tough times for all Caregivers, regardless of their role in the organization, ie: we are all here to serve patients, do what’s right for the patient and you will always be correct should be a fundamental building block of any healthcare mission.

Organizations outside of healthcare discovered long ago, that without clarity of purpose, the organization is not efficient, and will waste enormous amounts of time and resources as it drifts aimlessly, like a ship without a rudder from storm to storm.  Worse yet, are leaders who, without direction perform busy work, that often leads them to the wrong outcomes and more drain on usually limited resources

Few would argue that how we deliver effective health care has changed much in the last decade.  And yes, that’s true, but nothing worth having has ever been easy.  And remember, as leaders this is our primary purpose, to lead the organization in the achievement of its goals and objectives which directly align with our Mission.  Truly Mission driven leaders help everyone, from front line staff and leaders to engage around this goal by the development of effective actions that will directly navigate the ship to its intended destination, correcting for the wind and storms that may block our path.

So, the answer is a resounding yes! Mission driven leaders in healthcare are important, and relevant, maybe more so now than ever before.  And a properly developed and executed Mission statement will not only inspire your caregivers, but also build trust and alignment with leadership by putting our full resources into improving the care for the patients and the communities we serve, after all, isn’t that what it’s all about?