Staying focused on the mission
Alignment of an organization’s stakeholders behind a core mission is one of the keys to meeting strategic goals while being ready to capitalize on opportunities that may arise in the midst of ever-shifting external forces.
Every year at Akron Children’s Hospital, when we evaluate how well our activities advanced the planks of our strategic plan, we start with our promises to care for all the children and families who come through our doors. Next, we look at our mission statement, which has five components: delivering expert family-centered care, promoting education, advancing research, engaging in community service and advocating for children.
Our mission provides stability in the face of uncertainty because we are ever certain about our purpose. We know we must invest in good people and give them the training, technology, equipment and facilities they need to perform. Everything we do is driven by our commitment to provide the best care to as many children as possible.
Secret to success
It is very humbling to see the acts of sacrifice and kindness that take place every day in our hospital. I see health care providers working closely with patient families, medical staff and management teams consulting with board members, and employees at all levels engaging with community partners. I believe our ability to collaborate, internally and externally, is the secret to our success.
In health care, quality needs to be the most important metric. Our quality committee comprises providers, board members, managers and parents. Together, they review issues and suggest improvements facilitated by a culture of respect. We listen and learn together. There is no blame or finger-pointing. We identify areas for improvement and move forward because we share a profound commitment to each other, our patients and our mission.
There are many organizations in health care and other industries that lack this alignment and transparency. Their ability to deal successfully with external challenges is hampered by internal issues created when people are unable to work well together.
A just culture
Respect is vital to creating an environment that promotes the collaboration necessary for problem-solving. People may not always agree, but if you provide a safe forum for expressing conflicting ideas in a respectful manner, you will end up with better decisions. A just culture also makes it easier to make adjustments when it becomes clear that a solution is not producing the desired outcome.
Our mission has stood the test of time and is the basis for the stability of our organization. When I look at our growth, morale and the way everyone involved with our hospital works together, it’s clear our independence, collaborative spirit and the alignment of our stakeholders behind our mission allow us to meet each new challenge with a singular focus on improving the lives of our patients, staff and communities.
William Considine has served as CEO at Akron Children’s for 37 years. He has dedicated his career and personal life to improving pediatric care and the quality of life for children and families.