Leadership Agility: The Strategy For Success

Today’s health care leaders and their organizations face many challenges – changing regulations, new payment models, and total health care redesign. Accelerated change and mounting complexity within our industry feels like a curve ball thrown our way on a daily basis. If you are a leader, you know this feeling all too well.


Our industry is expecting us to be flexible, adaptable, and truly adept at understanding and managing change, regulations, data transparency, workforce needs, new payment models, and consumer expectations while at the same time determining priorities without sacrificing quality results.    


Leadership, team, and organizational agility are essential for success in the new health care environment. Leadership agility is the ability to take action in complex, rapidly changing conditions while leading organization change, leading teams, and having key strategic conversations to increase clinical capacity and capabilities in the new collaborative health care environment. As leaders, if we are just adapting our operational strategies, we are merely keeping pace with change and will continue to react to the “curve balls” thrown our way. A more strategic approach toward leadership agility is to strive to understand and anticipate health care trends and expectations, proactively defining innovative strategies to meet the clinical, regulatory, partner, and consumer demands to maintain our market position and achieve quality results.


Consider the following to increase your leadership agility: 
  • Increase Knowledge – Gain a clear understanding of the changes and their defined impact on your organization and outcomes. Don’t be sidelined by the “curve balls.” Stay on top of industry, regulatory, and market trends. Use your team to assist with this process and create a knowledge pool within your organization. 
  • Create the Vision – Based upon the knowledge of industry and market position changes, new payment models, clinical expectations, new regulations, and more…work with your team across all levels to design what your organization will look like in 2018 and beyond. Determine your organization’s value proposition and create the vision. 
  • Build and Sustain a Culture of Collaboration within your Organization – Create new leaders and subject matter experts within. As a leader you cannot do this alone. Your team wants to help and they genuinely want to contribute to the greater good of the organization. 
  • Determine Organization Clinical Readiness – Based upon the current market and future trends, assess your organization’s clinical competency, capabilities, capacity, and integration across provider types for safer care transitions and referral opportunities. 
  • Develop a Data Management Plan – Data is being examined by regulators, potential and current partners, and patients. Benchmark and position your organizational data to meet and exceed the expected levels of performance including average length of stay by top disease state, readmission rate, new quality measures, discharge to community ratio, Five Star Rating, total cost of care per episode, customer satisfaction, and engagement, as well as quality improvement. Create a strategy to review data and data sets routinely, creating a leadership dashboard to keep an eye on the pulse of your organization. 
  • Educate, Educate and Educate – All levels of the organization. I cannot express the importance of educating your team as to the changes, their respective roles, how they can get involved, as well as educating current and potential partners. The key to all of this is effective education and communication. 
  • Innovate, Partner and Collaborate – Being agile allows you to use your industry knowledge to design innovative strategies and services lines (creative solutions) to meet the new demands of health care today and beyond. Creating and guiding change is essential for operational success. 


As a leader, your ability to be agile and fuel creativity within yourself and your team is an essential capability to being both strategic and innovative. How one balances the science of analysis and the art of creativity is key to your team’s ability turn a strategic vision into actionable tactics.


Lisa Thomson,
Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer,
Pathway Health