I was recently reminded of the balance between strategy and tactics when I came across this quote by Sun Tzu:
“Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
In work with hospitals and physician practices I often see tactics proceeding strategy. Many times this is the result of the urgency to address situations such as managing medical staff tensions, responding to a budget crisis or planning for new development. Each of these, and many more, are no doubt complex yet “best thinking” is often sacrificed for expediency and relieving the need to act with decisiveness.
Take a look at again the March post below on Strategy & Tactics. Although it’s focused on program and business development, it is applicable on a broader scale.
When working with client hospitals I often encounter five tactical approaches to building incremental volumes, either alone or in combination:
-recruit a new surgeon with incremental volume
-appoint a Medical Director
-assign an effective hospital manager to organize the services
-build new patient care facilities or remodel existing space
-develop and implement marketing & promotional campaigns
Each can impact specialty programming growth, i.e.- Stroke, Spine, Total Joint Replacement, but in the absence of a broader strategy and a comprehensive programmatic structure, they will rarely create and sustain significant growth and improvement.
Effective program development is characterized by assessment and precedes strategy and tactics. Assessment can include:
-assessment of hospital and medical staff resources
-gap analysis of current versus desired clinical capabilities
While no matter how well planned, every program development initiative has its difficulties, investing in accurate assessment forms the basis for effectively crafting both strategy and tactical implementation (another common challenge…. for another blog.)