With a headline like: Most Heath System Mergers Don’t Meet Expectations – Will Lancaster General Health and U.Penn Be Different? Business Writer, Tim Stuhldreher of Lancaster Online isn’t making any current employees or future patients of either hospital system feel warm and fuzzy as he writes about a proposed merger. The big question for me is:
Why don’t many mergers meet expectations – for hospital systems or other businesses?
Why indeed? From my perspective, the less-than-expected mergers of late are no different than the TQM Total Quality Management reengineering initiatives of the 1980s and 1990s that were so completely logical but failed more often than not; The people part of the equation was ignored. In TQM initiatives of yore, the engineering, production and quality teams did amazing jobs in identifying ways to redesign and reengineer production floors, flows, and processes. Inefficiencies were identified and targeted, and enhanced efficiencies were well calculated. Yet for many organizations set to reap the rewards of massive enhancements and cost-savings, their initiatives often stalled at the outset due to employee resistance or slowness. What?? Why would employees sabotage enhancements and cost-savings? They didn't intentionally. They simply hadn't been brought or kept up to speed on what changes were going to be made. They hadn’t been asked to share their insights as to the proposed changes and their implications. They hadn't had time to process the need for the change, understand the proposed changes, internalize the proposed changes, and get ready for the new way of working. The employees at times felt they were indirectly being told, “What you used to do wasn't good enough even though we've been telling you for years you've been doing great work here. So now, here’s how we want you to do your same job differently. Get going and show us some improvements!” Confusing isn't it?
For any re-engineering initiative, change effort, or merger, the people have to be a part of the equation first, last, and constantly. The best calculations, engineering plans, and merger prospecti aren't worth the paper they're printed on if the people expected to implement the change, work through and after the change aren't a key part of it to ensure that what was good about the old isn't lost and what’s needed in the new is in fact, really needed. Talking about the financial benefits, merging best practices from each entity, and reaching a larger market aren't enough – those are the basics. Having a shared mission of “health-care” in this instance also, isn't enough. Duh. You’re hospital systems – providing health-care IS what you do. What will the combined “you” be able to do and do so well for the good of your patients, you can't but help join forces? Because if you can’t join forces and work together, all that’s really happening is one of the parties is being bought out by the other and taken over. That’s not a merger. That’s a takeover.
So why don't many mergers meet expectations? The people involved aren't the people involved. And the full picture of why the merger is being done isn't as clear as it needs to be for everyone involved from making it happen to reaping the rewards. Read the article on this proposed merger of the two hospital systems, then come back here and tell me what you think about my question:
Why don't many mergers meet expectations – for hospital systems or other businesses?
Copyright MMXIV Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.
I've been speaking to a number of Human Resources professionals groups lately and sharing my speech: How Does HR Get A Respected Seat at the Strategic Planning Table? As I contemplated what to blog about today, I thought I'd keep it simple and share advice from my book Don't Let 'Em Treat You Like a Girl: A Woman's Guide to Leadership Success® that links to ideas shared in my speech. In a nutshell, if you're at the table: Demonstrate you belong at the table!
If you're not an active contributor to a team, why are you on it? If you want to be on a team, you need to maintain your right to be there. Don't relinquish your spot.
I've given a number of speeches lately to HR professionals and business owners. One of the challenges I've presented each group is: What would your managers say about your leadership style if I happened to bump into them today? Would they say they're staying with the company because of your leadership? Or, would they admit they're looking to leave….because of your leadership? That thought caused me to remember this article I pulled from the archives. What types of managers have YOU helped to develop?
I feel bad for a few of my clients. They're at that point in our leadership training and coaching projects where they're actually doing what they should have been doing for years. And it's not easy.
Changing behaviors and implementing new policies, new personnel actions, and new initiatives is difficult.
It’s amazing how life and business is a cycle. I pulled this from the archives. I wrote this ten years ago, but I could have written it this morning. See if there’s something in here that resonates with you…
I recently read the McKinsey & Company Report on Global Leadership in which they site the two primary concerns for global executives: 1 - The Economy; it's recovery has not been as strong and doesn't look as if it will be as strong as anticipated six months ago, and 2 - Retaining Employees; how to retain talent?
On my return flight from a recent speaking engagement, I started talking with the gentleman sitting next to me as both he and I worked on our laptops. Roger was a senior level manager for a 250 person, defense contractor and was traveling to meet with his company's leadership team for an off-site management and strategy meeting. Roger was finishing his notes on what he wanted to present to help create greater clarity, energy, and productivity throughout the employee population. When I shared with Roger what my company did, he asked if I'd mind critiquing his ideas. (Poor Roger, he had no idea who he'd just asked to critique his ideas!)
Many organizations and individuals get into trouble attempting Stage 2 Leadership when the time isn’t right. The problems arise because, more often than not, organizations promote the most technically proficient doers into supervisory, team leader, or management roles. However, a great Stage 1 Leader doesn't necessarily make a great Stage 2 Leader.
The skills needed to be an effective supervisor, team leader, or manager are vastly different than those needed to be a proficient doer.
I’ve pulled another article from the archives as I believe it’s something we as business owners need to keep in mind…. I had breakfast this morning with one of my sisters at a nice little restaurant in Denver. The waitress sat us immediately, and then started listing all of the house specialty coffees. When my sister and I both said, "Just plain coffee please." The waitress laughed, and said, "I like it plain too, but I've got to tell every customer the specials." She then took our orders, and within minutes brought our coffee, food, and casually, yet, efficiently checked up on us during our meal. As we were leaving, I said to my sister, "She's really very good." My sister's reply was, "Yes, too bad she won't last here."
Her comment struck me because it was so true.
Here’s an article pulled from the archives. It’s sad to say, but what I wrote in 2002 is still right on target – if not more so – today.
“At this moment, America’s greatest economic need is higher ethical standards, enforced by strict laws and upheld by responsible business leaders,” (President) Bush said in a speech delivered to the Association for Better New York. “In the end, there is no capitalism without conscience, no wealth without character.” (July 9, 2002)
Who ever thought the Golden Rule would come back to bite so many?
“When you’re a leader, not everyone will like you” is advice I recently shared with a manager. This manager is not a newbie manager. She’s not inexperienced or passive by nature. Yet, in dealing with a challenging employee situation, she was struggling with doing what needed to be done for fear of others labeling her as “mean” or “uncaring.” I shared with her what I’d previously outlined in my book Don’t Let ‘Em Treat You Like A Girl – A Woman’s Guide to Leadership Success.
Not Everyone Will Like You
The most important leadership lesson I ever learned from my dad - I learned at his funeral.