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Showing posts from September, 2009

Job Available - Experienced Health Care Architect & Facility Planner

A world-renowned Chicago-area health care organization is recruiting for a seasoned, stellar architect and facilities planner. Ideally a licensed architect with 10+ years in facilities planning and development, this individual will be comfortable working at all levels of the organization including C-suite and Board of Directors. S/he will see projects through all phases, from design through construction, providing strong capital budgeting and project management direction, while building a capable in-house staff of designers and project managers. Candidates should exhibit strong knowledge of health care engineering systems, urban planning and land use development, from either/both owner and consulting viewpoints.

Renee Banchiere of Hanna & Associates is coordinating the search. Contact her at or 714-465-2087.

McDonalds and Culinary Innovation

As I've said many times here on Health Care Strategist, I define a "brand" as that which an organization is WILLING to deliver, and actually CAPABLE of delivering, no more, no less. Within that context, it's interesting to see brands testing themselves and the marketplace on what they WANT TO and CAN deliver without straying from their essential "brand-ness."

Now Business Week magazine publishes a story on the struggles of being McDonalds' "Director of Culinary Innovation." What? McDonalds? Culinary innovation? Am I alone in finding the association somewhat jarring?

Talk about an uphill battle. Dan Coudreaut obviously "relishes" a challenge! (I know, I know...)

I might actually drive through for a late-night order of red curry eggplant. Hold the fries.

How Should We View A Leader Who Can't Make Work More Compelling Than Bowling?

Here's an assignment for all you hospital leaders: stand by your employee entrance in the morning, the door where most employees arrive at work. Observe facial expressions, tone of voice and body language.

What do you see? All too often it's the drudgery of coming to work made visible.

Now do the same exercise at the same door as employees leave work. Compare facial expressions, tone of voice and body language to what you observed that morning.

At this hour, I'm betting you'll see the excitement of LEAVING work made visible. The excitement of leaving a job that doesn't fulfill, on behalf of an organization not trusted, in the service of a strategy not understood. The happiness and engagement of leaving all that because something better awaits. Bowling, maybe.

Why is it that employees show far more passion for their hobbies and sporting activities than their work - where they spend the majority of their energy and waking hours? How is it that so many organization…

A Modest Speculation About Health Insurance Reform

For a moment, let's assume the passage of some sort of health insurance reform. If, as seems a likely outcome, millions of people become newly-insured, health care's providers may need an entirely new phraseology and strategic playbook.

Out the window: pervasive, demeaning codewords for the poor, like "medically indigent," "charity cases" or, worse, "deadbeats" and "GOMERs." Suddenly au courant: unfamiliar labels like "paying customers," underserved new markets" and "growth opportunities."

Who will those newly-insured reward with their loyalty and spending power? Think about it.

Will it be those providers (and you know who you are) who've spent professional lifetimes studiously avoiding any contact, closing services while de-marketing others, and de-camping to the wealthy suburbs whenever feasible?

I hope not, frankly. Somehow that'd be like well-fed banquet-goers heading back for seconds while starvin…

Taking Customer Loyalty To the Bank

Joe Inguanzo, President & CEO of Professional Research Consultants, Inc., commenting in the April, 2009 H&HN:
"It's fair to say that loyal customers are the only constant in today's rapidly changing health care environment. And, when every dollar counts, keeping loyal customers in your court is a sound strategy that can be taken to the bank."Inguanzo told me this afternoon that his research firmly establishes a relationship between those clients MOST focused on customer loyalty and those LEAST affected by the economic downturn. For one survey-leading client, a recent quarter's financial results were the best ever.

Take THAT to the bank!

Southwest Airlines' Brand Promise Goes 'Pfffth!"

In a desperate search for new revenues, Southwest Airlines is now charging passengers $10 for so-called EarlyBird Check-in.
"Southwest officials say that by paying the extra $10, you'll probably be among the first 30 people to board — the "A" group — although they won't promise it." (Emphasis mine.)
Analysts forecast the new charges adding $75 million - and possibly as much as $250 million - to Southwest's annual revenues. It's an interesting case study in pricing power and brand performance. If Southwest's fares are more than $10 cheaper compared to alternatives (which they are not, at least on the routes I fly most often) consumers may not care all that much.

But I care. And yes, it's partly about the money. For years I've gone out of my way to avoid Southwest, due mainly to their chaotic ticketing and boarding processes. There are better-organized bus companies plying back roads in the rural Third World. (Plus I hate Chicago's…