Leading with clarity at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Premium

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At a California hospital, a strategic focus on clarity that began 3 years ago is significantly boosting staff motivation, patient care, and financial performance. President and CEO, Daniel Wolcott, explains why and how clarity is making such a difference.

Biography

Daniel Wolcott became president and CEO of Adventist Health Lodi Memorial Hospital in August 2015. Previously, from 2009 to 2015, Daniel served as President and CEO of Takoma Regional Hospital of the Adventist Health System. Daniel holds an MBA in finance and a BBA in Marketing.

 

Since Daniel Wolcott began leading Adventist Health Lodi Memorial 3 years ago, he and his teams have been working “to hardwire clarity into the hospital’s DNA”. In many other organizations, meanwhile, the opposite of clarity – ambiguity – is tolerated and even encouraged… Daniel explains why and how they have taken such a strong stance on clarity at his hospital and its powerful results.

Should uncertainty make you more tolerant of ambiguity… or the opposite?

For Daniel, ambiguity, though seductive, is ultimately not the right tool for leaders in an organization. In fact, external uncertainty is exactly what feeds Daniel’s determination to create as much clarity within his hospital as he can.
“We have plenty of externally driven ambiguity, with all the unknowns in our political, natural, and technological environments, and we must be able to tolerate that uncertainty,” Daniel explains. “The problem is when all of the unknowns in our external environment lull us into tolerating ambiguity internally, where we actually can have clarity. In fact, it is precisely because our external environment drives so much ambiguity that I see one of my key roles to be creating as much clarity, here, internally, as I can.”
“Whether it is granular clarity in the operating room today around staffing, schedules and equipment, or the strategic focus of the company for the next 3 years, we all need clarity around our what problems we are trying to solve, who is responsible, and what results are acceptable.”

Using clarity to boost financial performance…

As president and CEO, it is important to Daniel to create clarity around the hospital’s short, medium, and long-term financial targets: “As a not-for-profit organization, some people question our needs to be profitable.” Teams can begin to ask: ‘Why are we so money focused? Shouldn’t we be patient-focused?’ Using tools around clarity is critical to helping people understand that profitability is what enables us to reinvest back into our hospital and our community,” he explains. “It – clarity of purpose around profitability – is the motivator for teams to step up and use our resources better.”

 

Excerpt from Business Digest N°289, September 2018

To go further

Read the full 3-part feature

Point of view

Clarity: a key performance factor

Interview

Leading with clarity at Adventist Health Lodi Memorial

It's up to you!

How to create clarity

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