Investing in the future
Bernard Tyson CEO Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente CEO Bernard Tyson has been at the forefront of addressing some of the industry’s biggest challenges. With the increased push to have providers take care of social ills, Tyson’s latest move might come as a small surprise. But that doesn’t make it any less risky.
WHAT’S YOUR RISKIEST DECISION? Our $200 million investment in addressing homelessness around the country.
WHY WAS THAT MOVE RISKY? Because it shows no immediate dividends. The whole point is to have an economic engine to support the infrastructure needed to make sure that we don’t end up with anyone using the streets of America as their home.
WHAT OUTCOME DO YOU HOPE TO ACHIEVE? It’s going to require a lot of responsible investment to make sure our organization is actively engaged. We’re not just contributing resources, we are co-owning the problem. We have to partner with a lot of people, a lot of agencies and a lot of organizations. We don’t think that we’re coming in with a magic pill, but we are coming in with a strong commitment that we’re working to solve what we consider to be an unacceptable problem in the 21st century. This is not about being a social program, but being socially responsible for the greater good of the community, which impacts all of us. So it’s not about them, it’s about we.
WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE FROM THOSE INVOLVED? It’s the perfect example of a team effort. But it also required our finance unit to put the same discipline around this investment that we do all of our other investments. So when we went to the board, we could tell our story about how this fits into the strategy of community health and the board supported it.
ANY ADVICE FOR EXECS IN SIMILAR POSITIONS? Something like this is not about solo leadership, it really is how do you galvanize the right people and how do you clearly identify what you’re trying to solve. People need to be energized by an effort like this and if it creates energy in the organization, you’ll have a good chance at solving the problem.
DESCRIBE YOUR LEADERSHIP STYLE. Passionate, fun, energized and future-thinking.
HOW WOULD OTHERS DESCRIBE IT? Passionate, fun, energized, future-thinking and enjoys what he’s doing, but he also speaks his mind and people may not ● like what they hear sometimes.
The whole point is to have an economic engine to support the infrastructure needed to make sure that we don’t end up with anyone using the streets of America as their home.