After a period of wrestling with and weighing up all the pros and cons, we in the corporate leadership all agreed that our company’s future success in the dynamic healthcare sector depended on strategic, structural change. It took courage to set out on this path of transformation at a time when our company was not facing financial pressure to do so. Particularly for myself, it was a question of first understanding that the “case for change,” even when it comes to the company’s culture (with regard to the habits of all managers, sustainable leadership under increasing operational pressure, etc.) requires systematic training.
Meanwhile, I have come to understand that necessity, and I am strongly convinced that we made the right decision! In the past, individualistic thinking and actions cost us a lot of energy as a community. The process of cultural transformation enabled us to develop a mutual understanding (a “we” mentality) and combine our efforts to achieve more together while also experiencing greater personal fulfillment. Managers are paid for their effectiveness. It is imperative that cultural change starts with the company leadership, i.e. at the highest level. These leaders then transfer their insights to the rest of the company, serving as role models.
Manres: Their Role and Approach
Together with Manres, who guided us through the cultural transformation process, we organized major events as well as in-depth workshops for the highest level of our company leadership with the objective of raising their commitment to implementing the strategy. We established a uniform language and mutual understanding and set preconditions for leadership to enable ourselves to serve as role models for all direct and indirect subordinates and lead them through the changes with a positive attitude.
To support the process internally, we assembled a Core Team whose members acted as ambassadors for the transformation throughout the organization’s various locations. Their main topics were authorship, relationship-building and coaching skills. The concept of authorship made it clear to everyone involved that each of us is responsible for where we invest our energy; this gave us greater freedom for personal action. By developing our relationship-building skills, we also succeeded in breaking through existing walls and building bridges on many different levels – an important precondition for the shift from “I, the clinic” to “We, Hirslanden.” Coaching skills are needed, not just to maintain the necessary momentum for the change of business, but, to a far greater extent, to guarantee that it multiplies within the company through targeted motivation and encouragement.
From “I” to “we”: Transforming from a group of clinics into an integrated healthcare network.
What We Achieved
From my current point of view, my assessment of the transformation process is positive because this work has had a visible impact over the last two years. Today, we in the company (at least at the top leadership level) are becoming more familiar with many topics that had previously been unknown to us. We think and act with a much clearer sense of personal responsibility, regularly give constructive feedback, encourage each other along the way and think for one another. This gives us confidence, even during the difficult phases which we will always encounter from time to time as the process continues. From my perspective, what matters is that we continue to constantly work on the topics, also as individuals. I consider it critical for success that the corporation’s leadership act as one, especially when dealing with unpleasant topics. Another critical factor is that the top leadership level remains focused on things within its sphere of influence.
Manres guided the Hirslanden private clinic network constantly, offering us professional encouragement and effectively supporting all stakeholder groups. In this way, we succeeded in moving past a territorial mentality and focusing on the general interests of the company. Now, we are moving forward in the right direction as a unified “we.”