A prestigious U.S. academic medical center was distinctly entrepreneurial – its researchers, clinicians and managers were creative, resourceful and action-oriented. Challenges were met, no questions asked. One of the drawbacks the center experienced due to its entrepreneurial nature was that the organization had become severely disjointed. Communication was stifled and information was siloed and teamwork, collaboration and trust suffered. World-class talent was walking out the door. The organization’s senior leaders were rightly concerned, and felt the solution required the integration of two of the three divisions.
During discussions with the client, it became clear that the organization needed help leading a change management program – beginning with assessing the risk and organizational readiness. Patina delivered a strong change effectiveness leader experienced in cultural transformation – a former CEO and COO who had addressed these issues in other healthcare organizations. The initial task was to re-examine the problem with the client. Rather than simply redraw the org chart to combine the two divisions, a task force was created among 15 of the organization’s most influential clinical and business leaders to examine underlying issues. The task force surfaced four key issues and invited another 35 leaders on four subgroups, each dealing with one of the issues. Patina met informally with all participants, facilitated all group meetings, coordinated communication with the rest of the organization, and interpreted findings for the senior leadership team. At the end of this five-month engagement, Patina presented its findings and recommendations to the senior leadership team and to the board of trustees.
While the process did result in the integration of two divisions, the process also surfaced and addressed several critical issues that had escaped the attention of the senior leadership team – including clear communication of strategy and priorities, priorities for bench research, processes to speed clinical transformation, and support for commercializing innovative ideas. What began as a cost-reduction effort became a set of recommendations and actions designed to also improve morale, collaboration, mission effectiveness and profitability.