What Is Strategic Planning
The healthcare industry is riddled with administrative and regulatory complexities that make it difficult for health systems to achieve the Triple or better yet, the Quadruple Aim of healthcare. Meeting and exceeding the national targets, benefits not only quality of care, but also healthcare organizations’ performance.
Identifying Strategic Goals
To transition from strategic planning to implementation, it is vital to get specific about the work that needs to be done and break down goals into timely, digestible, and definable segments that will help create a detailed roadmap that aligns the day-to-day activities of the organization with the overarching mandates of this strategy.
It may benefit healthcare leaders to only focus on 5-6 strategic plan objectives, such as safety, quality, satisfaction, people, and finance, to clear confusion and simplify the communication. Having a few definite objectives also allows the organization the flexibility to adjust the objectives and maintain consistency until the pursuit of continuous improvement is embedded in the organization culture (Regan 2012).
Translating Strategic Goals into Outcomes
The key steps to take to translate strategic goals into outcomes are:
Keep it simple, make it concrete: To start off the planning and execution process on the right track, it is essential to avoid long, drawn-out descriptions of lofty goals and instead stick to clear language describing the course of action. This ensures stakeholders at all levels know the strategies and are left with no ambiguity. More importantly, this allows the resources and action plan to become more effective while accountabilities are easier to specify.
Debate assumptions, not forecasts: To let the forecasts drive the performance, the organization’s assumptions about the long term plan must reflect the real economics of their markets. Separating the process of building assumptions from that of preparing financial projections helps build trust between teams and units while also removing barriers to fast and effective execution (Mankins and Steele 2005).
Use a rigorous framework and speak a common language: Without a rigorous framework, it is difficult to ascertain whether the financial projections that accompany a business unit’s strategic plan are reasonable and realistically achievable. As a result, management cannot know with certainty whether a performance shortfall stems from poor execution or an unrealistic and ungrounded plan.
Discuss resource deployments early: Discussing the level and timing of critical resource deployments at the forefront of planning allows for the development of more realistic forecasts as well as executable plans. An early assessment of resource needs also informs discussions about market trends and drivers. This act improves the quality of the strategic plan and makes it far more executable.
Clearly identify priorities: Prioritization explicitly gives each individual a clear sense of where to direct his or her efforts.
Continuously monitor performance: It is imperative that organizations continuously monitor resource deployment patterns and their results against the strategic plan using continuous feedback to reset planning assumptions. As a result, organizations can reallocate resources allowing management to spot and remedy flaws in the plan and shortfalls in execution.
Reward and develop execution capabilities: Companies that are strong on execution also emphasize development (Mankins and Steele 2005). Keeping employees informed of the progress, acknowledging the short-term wins and improvements, and most importantly, rewarding employees who carry out the execution reinforces the behavior needed to drive the organization forward.
Mankins, Michael, and Richard Steele. 2005. “Turning Great Strategy into Great Performance.” Harvard Business Review.
Regan, Scott. 2012. “The Only Five Strategic Plan Objectives You’ll Ever Need.” Achievelt. July 27. Accessed September 14, 2021.