A strategic plan for a healthcare organization provides the organization and its stakeholders with roadmap of where it intends to be in future. It also details the plans and methods through which it will assess its progress. Strategic plans are used by profit-based entities to guide organizations about strategic priorities (Perera & Peiro, 2012). They provide a basis upon which future decisions are made. A strategic plan is necessary in strategic management. This paper is developed against the backdrop of a case study on Last Chance Hospital in which a strategic plan fails to achieve its intended goal.
Question one: Russ Newmarket planning strategies
Russ Newmarket ought to have used various strategies to positively affect the execution of the strategic plan. Russ ought to have understood where the organization was in terms of setting and budget. Through this, it would be possible to determine where the organization wants to be as well as the strategy by which it can get there. Russ failed to carry out an assessment of the community. Community assessment is important since it examines the health status of a given population (Jemmassi et al., 2011). The purpose of the assessment is to discover problems in the community in order to identify strategies of addressing the health needs of the population. In this regard, Russ should have briefed the senior management about the outcomes of the community assessment and use their inputs to develop a working plan.
Although he was aware of patient-centric trends developing in the country, he failed to notify senior executives about the potential ramifications of such a trend. Russ ought to have designed a strategy that combined both patient-centric and physician-centric approaches. As a strategic planner, Russ ought to have defied the norm and make it clear to the management that in wake emerging trends, the hospital needed to change its strategy. Even though the hospital’s management has traditionally stuck with physician-centred strategy, it was in order for Russ to warn the management of the consequences of its unwillingness to adapt to trends. Russ should have engaged all stakeholders in the hospital and serve them with reports detailing the hospital’s strategy in light of its mission, vision and objectives.
Question two: What Marvelous Marvin could have done differently
Marvelous Martin, the CEO of Last Chance Hospital, was at the centre of things when the decision to develop a strategic plan came up. As a CEO, he was the chief accounting officer regarding all issues affecting the hospital. Any failures by junior staff amount vicariously liability. In this regard, Marvin should have been more attentive and flexible to adopt working options. By ignoring the developing patient-centric trends, Marvelous cast out an image of a rigid leader who had very little instincts for change. He ought to have followed keenly the planning process and prevail upon Russ Newmarket to seal potential loopholes that may make the strategic planning process counterproductive. As the ultimate decision maker, Marvin should have assessed the steps in the strategic planning process to determine if Russ in the right path. Assessment of the planning process involves identifying the individuals that participate in the planning process as well as their titles (Swayne et al., 2012). In the case of Last Chance Hospital, the CEO should have assessed the duration of the planning process, the number of meetings held during the planning process, the methods used as well as environmental scanning process.
Bryson (2011) observed that adoption of strategic plan should involve confirmation of the strategic planning model. The model encompasses organizational mission, vision and principles; priorities, objectives, SWOT and external trends and roles and responsibilities of key individuals involved in the planning process. Marvin should have taken cognizance of the competition in the densely populated San Diego area. The case study reveals that the region has twenty hospitals. This implies that the CEO of Last Chance Hospital should have sought many strategies of enhancing competitiveness. Marvin overlooked the gaping disconnect between Russ Newmarket and his immediate supervisor, Courtney Graveyard. There was little coordination between Graveyard and Newmarket owing to the former’s obsession with nursing. Since Graveyard had a background in nursing, she spent most of her time recruiting nursing staff at the expense of supervising the work of Newmarket.
Question three: Political factors that created bias and clouded judgements
The failure of the strategic plan points to various weaknesses. Politics is discernible in the matter the ambitious plan was executed. The senior management seemed to have predetermined the outcome of the plan. It is evident in the case study how rigid the management was unwilling to discard the physician-centric mindset. This implies that the management decided to play politics with the plan because of their personal convictions that physicians ultimately attract patients. The senior management did not recognize the changing times characterized by the development of patient-centric mindset. In a bid to make a name for himself, Russ’s failed focus on the bigger picture but instead presented information that coincided with the mindset of senior management. Failure to balance personal ambitions and the demands of profession resulted into lack of market lead. The decision to ignore the remainder of the executive staff in the strategic planning process was political. An organization that strives to obtain market lead over its competitors cannot achieve its mission if some important members of the executive are ignored (Yoder-Wise, 2014). Last chance hospital needed the goodwill of its staff to push its agenda forward. By breathing a sigh of relief, the rest of the executive members were curved out of the greater goal.
Question four: Who is to blame for bad outcomes of the strategic plan?
The CEO, Marvelous Marvin, takes the greatest responsibility for the negative outcome of the strategic plan. By virtue of his position, he takes immediate responsibility for allowing things to go awry under his watch. Marvin is part of the senior management that Russ aimed to impress. He ought to be above board and critical examine the available options. He ought to have asked Russ to present alternative plans rather than remain fixated to the conventional physician-centric mindset. In the old English adage, “Fish rots from the top,” Marvin should be blamed for failing to follow up on the strategic planning process.
The COO, Courtney Graveyard, takes blame after Marvelous Marvin. She is the immediate supervisor of Russ. She became so engrossed with recruitment of nursing staff at the expense of examining the work of Russ. Her strict supervision could have resulted to strict adherence to procedures. It could identify areas of weaknesses and seal emerging loopholes.
Russ failed to observe professionalism while developing the strategic plan. His decision to please his bosses at the expense of presenting a logical plan was an act of deceit. He ignored his convictions and instead served the senior management with what they wanted to hear. In the end, he failed the organization. He ought to discover the dynamics in the industry through various assessments and determine working options. He ought to disagree with his bosses when needed than resort to selfishness.
Question five: Involvement of OR Director’s direct report managers
As a report manager, I would take an active role in the strategic planning process. Increasing the efficiency of the Operating Rooms is paramount for a successful organization. The management of Last Chance Hospital could not have thought any better. An efficient OR is appealing to nursing staff and surgeons. In this regard, I would liaise with the Russ Newmarket to develop a plan that would encompass recruitment of nurses and surgeons. I would recognize that an efficient OR can reduce operational budget. I would prevail upon Russ to convince the Board to consider patient-centred approach in the plan. This would have given the management a broad view of alternatives. Decreasing patient volumes occurred due to failure by the management to embrace change.
This paper sought to examine the strategic plan at Last Chance Hospital. By answering five critical questions, the study reveals that the senior management at the hospital takes blame for the failure of the plan. Russ Newmarket, the man at the centre of the ambitious plan, failed to develop a working plan that reflects the dynamic in the market. He opted to base his plan on the prevailing mindset of senior executives. The study reveals disconnect between Russ and his immediate supervisor, Graveyard, whose preoccupation with nursing overrode her commitment to the plan.
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