It’s the Bounce Back that’s Crucial

November 11, 2009

Setbacks are universal. Every person, department, and organization experiences them. As long as the external environment is in a state of change, setbacks are inevitable. Also, completely unexpected occurrences will cause disruptions from time to time.

While the movement downward is significant, it’s an organization’s ability to bounce back—and bounce back quickly—that separates the best performers from the rest.

Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana, is such an example. The organization has been recognized for excellence many times. Solucient listed it as a top 100 hospital. Studer Group has twice recognized it as Fire Starter of the Month. Other accolades include Best Places to Work, Kentucky Quality Award, and Economic Impact Award. It was an Indiana Excellence Award finalist. It received a Baldrige site visit in 2009.

Plus, the hospital’s results in Service, Quality, Finance, People, Growth, and Community have been solid for years.

So what happened? In the first quarter of this year, Clark had everything in place for an increase in patient care volume. But it did not come. A hospital that had always made money found itself, suddenly, in the red.

Here is what its leadership did, and they did it quickly: Senior leaders reduced their pay by 12 percent, and all other leaders reduced theirs by 10 percent until the organization was back on track. Not one leader left.

Staff focused tighter on all operations to improve productivity. In just one quarter they were back on track. During this time, staff turnover went down, productivity went up, and patient satisfaction stayed above the 90th percentile.

The organization is very transparent. It has been developing leaders for years and conducting employee forums. Leaders used their current methods to communicate all this information, the needed changes, and the “why” behind them. Their efforts paid off.

In summary, no one is immune to tough times. It’s how agile the organization is that counts. Having a strong foundation in place—one characterized by transparency, measurement, communication, hardwiring actions, and accountability—allows for quick action. Senior leaders lead the way with role model behavior.

In his newest book, Bounce, author Keith McFarland describes that every great organization faces adversity and setbacks—it’s how the organization bounces back that is the key. I agree. Over the years, I’ve seen his message played out by the organizations I serve…and I expect to see it proven again and again as we head into the future.


Quint Studer

Quint Studer, CEO

Studer Group

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3 Responses to “It’s the Bounce Back that’s Crucial”

  1. Jamie Bryant Says:

    Mr. Studer,

    I found this particular post very interesting. Bounce back is important and even more so in these trying economic times. What are some pointers to bouncing back when your hospital is situated in the middle of counties facing huge losses due to business closures or layoffs? Uninsured patients are growing and commercial insurance business is dropping. Any creative tips to help out in this situation?

  2. Maria Motsavage Says:

    Great article. In these difficult, challengin tiems for health care, we all need to be ready to “bounce back” and sustain our excellent results. Our Studer training has always allowed us to do that.

  3. Marty Gutkin Says:

    Enjoyed the story on Clark Memorial. They deserve the accolades. Reading between the lines……I think there is pride there. Don’t know if Quint has addressed pride; self pride, pride in what one does, pride in the team, pride in the organization, pride in the product.

    Today is Veterans Day. Talk about pride, let’s talk about our military and what they have done for over 200 years.

    I’d like to hear thoughts on pride and the role it plays in making great organizations.

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