When the economy fell apart in mid-2008 and state budget gaps left her organization with a $3 million shortfall, Lisa Rubino realized the vision and plan she had established as president of Molina Healthcare of California needed to change.
“As a leader, you’ve got to be able to create clarity out of chaos because there are so many things that could cause people to get out of focus,” Rubino says.
Instead of turning her back on the vision she created for the 370-employee, $417 million subsidiary of $3-plus billion Molina Healthcare Inc., Rubino used it as a road map that suddenly had numerous detours in it. She explained those detours to staff members and constituents with instructions on how she intended to get through them rather than having them worry that the destination was no more.
“Just tell them the brutal reality,” she says. “… Break it down from the macro to the micro, to how it impacts us and what it means to have a $3 million problem. We said, ‘Here are the things we’re doing about it.’ So it was just taking the outside, bringing it in, and then focusing on what answers we have.”
The fact that there was an active plan provided Rubino with something concrete to work with. When she laid out a slight course correction, she was able to point back at the original vision to illustrate how the change put the team back on its path.
“I look at it as a recipe,” she says. “… If I’m going to make a cake and it’s for six people, and instead it’s going to be for 24, I’m just going to add more ingredients. So it’s just what ingredients do you add, what ingredients do you take away?”