Nav­i­gat­ing a rein­ven­tion

Modern Healthcare - - Bold Moves - An­thony Ter­signi CEO As­cen­sion

Peo­ple are now un­der­stand­ing the “why” and “how” these changes are crit­i­cal to cre­at­ing a solid foun­da­tion for this min­istry to sur­vive an­other 200 years.

As head of the na­tion’s largest Catholic health­care sys­tem, As­cen­sion’s An­thony Ter­signi has faced plenty of op­er­a­tional and fi­nan­cial chal­lenges dur­ing his near 15-year ten­ure. But in 2014, the St. Louis-based sys­tem em­barked upon an am­bi­tious en­deavor—com­plete re­brand­ing of its 151 hospi­tals in six mar­kets. Ter­signi and his lead­er­ship team re­cently com­pleted that bold move.

YOUR RISKI­EST DE­CI­SION

Launch­ing our One As­cen­sion jour­ney to bring clin­i­cal, op­er­a­tional and brand in­te­gra­tion align­ment into the en­tire health min­istry.

WHY WAS THAT MOVE RISKY?

We started in 1999 as a col­lec­tion of hospi­tals and grew into a pretty de­cen­tral­ized sys­tem. We needed to move from a hold­ing com­pany to an op­er­at­ing com­pany, which meant chang­ing our gov­er­nance and man­age­ment struc­ture. It was the largest shift in the provider space. It re­ally re­quired us to think dif­fer­ently, op­er­ate dif­fer­ently, re­ally re-imag­ine de­liv­ery of care and ser­vices. We al­lowed all of our as­so­ciates across the coun­try to weigh in on what they thought the cul­ture needed to be to move into the fu­ture.

THE OUT­COME

We’ve got­ten bet­ter ef­fi­cien­cies and out­comes and less vari­a­tion in care and ser­vices.

RE­SPONSE FROM THOSE IN­VOLVED

We just sur­veyed over 100,000 em­ploy­ees; 96,000 re­sponded and 86,000 of them com­mented. It’s clear that the di­rec­tion we’re go­ing in is res­onat­ing. Peo­ple are now un­der­stand­ing the “why” and “how” these changes are crit­i­cal to cre­at­ing a solid foun­da­tion for this min­istry to sur­vive an­other 200 years. The lux­ury of As­cen­sion is we al­low peo­ple to bring their per­sonal val­ues to the work­site. That, to me, helps make the cul­ture bet­ter. I will stop at an As­cen­sion fa­cil­ity and talk to peo­ple and ask how I can help them do their jobs bet­ter. And peo­ple are will­ing to of­fer their ad­vice and coun­sel.

AD­VICE TO EX­ECS IN SIM­I­LAR PO­SI­TIONS

CEOs can lead fil­tered lives, so the best way to make good de­ci­sions is to make sure you are get­ting in­put from dif­fer­ing views. My team has ev­ery per­son­al­ity and think­ing type imag­in­able. We will never have group­think and that means we’ll make bet­ter de­ci­sions. If you don’t have enough peo­ple with dif­fer­ing views around you, you’re go­ing to start think­ing that you have all the right an­swers. If that hap­pens you are des­tined to put the or­ga­ni­za­tion in jeop­ardy and your­self in jeop­ardy. A leader who thinks he or she knows ev­ery­thing is des­tined for fail­ure. Des­tined. Just go through his­tory and you will see that hap­pen.

DE­SCRIBE YOUR LEAD­ER­SHIP STYLE

I’m the sup­port­ing cast. I hire amaz­ing tal­ent, peo­ple smarter than me, give them the re­sources nec­es­sary to do their jobs, and then get the heck out of their way. My mantra is to have man­agers man­age and lead­ers lead. I also con­cen­trate on men­tor­ing. Cul­ti­vat­ing new lead­ers takes up 30% to 35% of my time right now.

HOW WOULD OTH­ERS DE­SCRIBE IT

That as a leader, I re­quire all in­for­ma­tion—good, bad or in­dif­fer­ent.

Bold Moves is a Mod­ern Health­care ed­i­to­rial fea­ture. Spon­sor is not in­volved in de­vel­op­ment of con­tent or se­lec­tion of au­thors.

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