2015 - What is Your Most Important Strategic Direction? (Plus FlashPage Audio!)

January 9, 2015 - 8:23pm -- site admin

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Whoa! It’s a new year! If you’re anything like me, your brain is half-mush coming into the concrete reality of C1 consciousness after the holidays! But in this “off-line” time, clarity can strike as brilliantly as the dawning of a sunshiny day… As leaders, we need to have the clearest visions of what we want to achieve strategically and tactically. All of us should be striving to be better business people and to run better businesses. If this is not on your mind, resign or retire…for this is a leader’s job. I do the same as you with MVI every year. The questions that should challenge us should include: “What is the most important direction that I can focus the organization towards? How can I best deploy and allocate the resources I have? How can we best serve our customers?”

Really the most important questions regarding our businesses should start with the foundation…that is, the customer…”What do our customers need?” “How can we serve better?” It is NOT “What else can we sell?” The customer writes every paycheck you will ever receive…the customer gives you every promotion you will get in life…the customer will also discharge you if you displease him or her. This is where to start…from a position of love of the client…and from a genuine heart of concern for their well-being… This is what I want you to feel from me…

3 Areas to Assign to Specific People

In my mind, there are at least three areas that are important organizationally speaking. They are:

  • People Development
  • Marketing
  • Profit 

These are really the big functions that need to be done exquisitely well. The question is “who’s doing them at your organization?” Is each of these important areas assigned to a specific person? Or do you take the position that “they are everyone’s job?” I will say this, if they are everyone’s job, they are nobody’s job. Each of these areas is significant enough to merit intense focus from a single person that has deep skin in the game. That really is what 2015 should be about...FOCUS…focus on the things that matter most and that will give you the biggest payoff. The CEO has to set the standards for all of these areas and NOT anyone other person.  The CFO or COO should champion Profitability and your top sales person should champion Marketing. The CEO champions People Development… 

This year, as in all years prior, we will be deluged with different opportunities and the static of the masses saying “do this or that” (see the repeat article below from the December Flashpage for more on this!). These distractions need to be cast off like water off of Aqua Man’s orange spandex! Top organizations, top hospices with the highest quality and profits focus on FEWER things… Every year, your focus should be become more intense and more detailed… carefully examining what is truly important. I know as I progress in hospice, I become more and more precise and exacting… as to what I expect hospices to provide in the manner of service as well as in care modalities (of course applying this to myself and MVI as well). In the old days, MVI was about the general ledger, doing accounting, cost reports, etc… this was where we were at that time. Now it still involves these areas, but it is deeper… much deeper. It is about the visit, how the phone is answered, the uniforms, the color of the uniforms, the smell, where every word and phrase is carefully considered in terms of how it make makes patients/families/referral sources/co-team members feel. Every word and action is weighed according to feelings and is either adopted or discarded in the light of whether it increases or diminishes the patient/family experience. Yes, what is important is the minutia of hospice. It is, or should be, interesting enough to hold our attention.  Failure to pay attention to the minutia may cause you to do the San Diego Model.

The San Diego Model

What is the San Diego Model? 

  • Do a lot of Palliative Care
  • In fact, teach others how to do Palliative Care on a national level
  • Get involved with research
  • Run an inpatient unit that loses money
  • Be dependent upon the community – Keep your open hands extended for a wealthy person, organization or the community at-large to bail out sorry-ass operations…unnecessarily of course…
  • Simply lose interest in core hospice operations and the idea of being extraordinary at it

That’s the strategy that will lead you out of business and owing $112,000,000 (give or take a few million) back to the Medicare system.


You can make the simple choice to become great at fewer things. Steve Jobs had it right: ”Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” You run a real business… The only way you’re’ going to be able to become an extraordinary organization is through the development of your people. I will continue to say this until most hospices get this concept and it sticks. And this development includes yourself….the CEO or leader of any hospice area. You have to evolve your “beingness,” your spirituality, your ability to do profit in the tangible dimension of money and in the intangible realms. Because if you don’t have the intelligence/horsepower/insight/ talent to do it (that is, teach people exceptionally well), then being exceptional will never be something your organization realizes. So get out your mirror. I’ve got mine…and I’ve noticed I’ve got some work to do. This year, I, Andrew Reed and MVI, will have more self-control than ever before…and we will take teaching to an entirely different level! You can do the same! 

Becoming a Teaching Organization Should Be Your #1 Strategic Direction 

This leads to yet other questions. “Are you a great teacher?” “Do you have extraordinary teaching skills?” “How do you know if you and your organization are teaching well?” If you aren’t, since teaching is your PRIMARY job (1st Duty) as a CEO or leader, how can you expect to teach and influence others effectively? Therefore, I challenge you and myself to dedicate this year, 2015, to focus on the Number One, #1, Numero Ono strategic direction… becoming the very best teacher you and I can become and leading our organizations to do the same!

~ Your friend in hospice, Andrew


Program: People Development & the Model
“This program requires the attendee to step out of their comfort zone and take a HARD look at their practice of training…and to realize it is often done very poorly.”
Bobbi Len, Northern Illinois Hospice