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Corporate Versus Regional Site Strategies

We recently received the following question from a registered attendee during our ACHE Cluster session, Strategic Planning from Formulation to Action, in San Antonio:

What is the relationship between a corporate strategy and the strategy for regional sites?

Health care organizations are changing to keep pace with an evolving market.  Many organizations that previously had locations in one market are now the hub of complex systems or part of a system, with many sites in different, diverse markets.  These developments create strategic planning challenges, as direction from the corporate level must be balanced with the unique needs of various regional sites.  An organization in a situation such as this must be mindful of a few key points as it proceeds with its strategic planning process:

  • One mission, one vision: Successful organizations have a unified direction that is relevant to every entity within them.  Establishing an organizational direction at every regional site would not only be cumbersome for the strategic planning process, it would also likely lead to inconsistent or conflicting strategies.  If your organization sets its desired direction and a regional entity is clearly an outlier to that direction, it will need to be redirected.
  • There are many opportunities to be inclusive in the strategic planning process – take advantage of as many as possible: While the corporate level drives the strategic planning process, it should not do so in a vacuum.  Representatives from regional sites should be included in the planning committee or task forces.  Interviews and surveys are also a means to get broad input from different individuals across multiple sites.  Strategic plans that are developed exclusively at the corporate level run the risk of falling apart upon implementation due to a lack of ownership and commitment at the regional level.
  • Consistency is the minimum standard: Goals and strategies do not have to be identical across every regional site within a system.  The external environment influences much of what goes into a strategic plan, so it is likely that entities in different markets require different approaches.  However, the goals and strategies at a regional level need to be consistent with the corporate strategy and direction.  If a significant variation in the strategy emerges, the rationale and benefits of the variation need to be clearly understood and communicated.

How does your organization handle its strategy?