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    Strategic Design
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    High Performance

Strategic Flexibility

December 1, 2018

Managers must build strategic flexibility into their operations.

Adapting to change – is an essential component for the survival of Behavioral Health Organizations. Today’s healthcare manager must quickly find the right answers to complex questions posed by their increasingly hostile environment.

Oftentimes healthcare managers focus on the inflexibility of the situation they find themselves facing and the inflexible nature of their environment as well as the hostile competition they are facing. Many times, these forces somehow appear to materialize out of nowhere.

These same managers feel real stress from competitive forces they don’t fully understand. Yet they’ll try to overcome problems by ignoring issues and not dealing with them for as long as possible. Part of the forces overshadowing daily operations is coming to grips with  rapidly changing consumer buying patterns, the expectations related to purchasing experiences including improved service quality of the healthcare they receive.

What is particularly interesting is that consumers are making “Service Quality” the major determinant in their health care purchasing decisions. Their attitudes reflect a newer reality that, “we’re ready and willing to travel for the best healthcare service”, which means buyers are willing to ignore normal cost barriers to do it. If a loved one needs health services then they will search out, find and then purchase the best care available.

Management strategic flexibility also requires Providers to upgrade their organization’s information technologies since everyone with access to a smart devices can now get on-line. This factor means today’s health consumers are much more mobile and willing to receive their healthcare at facilities linked with major medical centers who have a reputation for excellence. These recent shifts in patient referral systems shifts, and access  to health care centers of excellence, has further isolated smaller local behavioral health providers. As a result, small providers are finding their patient catchment areas are much less regional and more local in scope.

The net result has been that technology has improved strategic flexibility for some of the larger health providers and has been a major driving force in increasing the inter-dependency within medical care referrals. Concurrently, local small behavioral health providers have become increasingly isolated and have seen their patient numbers shrink. This has had the foreseen impact of further isolating behavioral health providers.

Rather continue avoiding competitive market forces the only way forward for many small providers is to embrace current changes in consumer expectations and build strategic flexibility into their operations.