Strategic leadership involves crafting, implementing and evaluating decisions to enable an organization realize its long-term strategic objectives (Terzic-Supic et al., 2015). Strategic decisions enable an organization to carry out its core activities while maintaining a competitive position in the sector that it operates (Swayne, Duncan, & Ginter, 2012). Although the environment that health care organizations operate in is different from that of business organizations, changes in the health sector over the last two decades have created the need for strategic leadership to enable them effectively deliver services. Demographic shifts, economic fluctuations, change in the health market, and new technologies have put pressure on health care institutions to implement strategic decisions to cushion themselves against adverse effects of such environmental changes (Terzic-Supic et al., 2015).As such, strategic leadership allows health care institutions to change and adapt in complex and dynamic environments without experiencing significant disruptions in their main activities (Swayne, Duncan, & Ginter, 2012).
Implementation of Organizational Strategy
Some approaches have been proposed to help organizations implement strategic programs. Vision, mission and goals are essential elements of any organization. Strategic leaders must clarify the vision, mission and goals of the organization to the medical personnel and other hospital employees to create a shared purpose for the organization in question (Speziale, 2015; Swayne et al., 2012). Such approach enables all stakeholders to understand the reason for the existence of the organization as well as creates an awareness as to why adapting to change is critical for self-sustenance in the modern health care environment.
Modification of organizational culture can also help leaders of health care organizations to implement strategic solutions successfully. For successful implementation of an organization's strategy, a culture change is critical(Speziale, 2015).Culture is all about the unique way a particular group of people do things and represents the groups consciousness in regards to values, beliefs, traditions, norms and behaviors in the context of health care settings (Speziale, 2015; Swayne et al., 2012). According to Speziale (2015), culture defines who we are and what we need to accomplish. In other words, culture enables health care institutions to adapt to change which is the foundation of strategic leadership.
Aligning Individual Vision, Mission and Goals to those of the Organization
Aligning the vision, mission and goals of stakeholders to that of the organization is critical for successful implementation of strategic decisions. Stakeholder involvement can be helpful in ensuring that the interests and views of stakeholders are factored in the decision-making process. Stakeholders may have different interests in strategic plans, and this may create favorable conditions for conflicts. A leader who involves stakeholders reduces barriers and minimizes conflicts due to the tendency for stakeholders to give legitimacy to strategic decisions that are made in an environment where everybody participates (Swayne et al., 2012; Veronesi & Keasy, 2009). This is the case as such leader builds a consensus which makes stakeholders feel that they are part of the strategy implementation process. Moreover, involvement makes stakeholders understand where the organization intends to be within a given period. Accordingly, Terzic-Supic et al. (2015) find that when leaders include the perspectives of employees and customers in strategic decisions, capacity to deliver quality health care improves which, in turn, enhances patient satisfaction.
Employees are at the center of implementation of strategic plans. Since employees have personal goals to pursue, it is crucial to equip them with skills that develop their visions and goals alongside those of the organization. If the leader of a health care organization seeks to improve quality, then skills of medical officers should regularly be honed to reflect new medical realities (Veronesi & Keasy, 2009). Education is one of the most critical elements of any organizations strategy (Terzic-Supic et al., 2015). This makes it imperative to develop employees since it helps in shaping the vision of the organization in the sense that training reduces work-related stress associated with inadequacy of skills. In the end, their visions become part of that of the organization, and this engenders motivation in what they do for the organization.
Effective Communication Strategies
Articulation of the overall Message of the Organization in the Context of Improved Quality
Articulating to the medical staff and other stakeholders an organizations overall message in the context of improving the quality of health care is an important tool for effective communication. Often, organizations have visions that have a deeper meaning and, as such, may sound abstract for some employees (Everse, 2011). To pass information effectively leaders should establish the relevance of the vision in the minds of employees by speaking to their emotions and aspirations as they relate to provision of quality health care. This makes employees build an emotional attachment to the organization and the jobs that they do (Everse, 2011; Mayfield, Mayfield, & Sharbrough, 2014). As a result, employees become more inclined to embrace the strategic direction of their employers.
Recognition of New Medical Practices and Customer Views
Passing information about the strategic vision of the organization in a way that acknowledges new health care trends and the customer/patient views can also be an effective communication mechanism of passing information. When stakeholders receive information about market trends, they are more likely to embrace a change that is intended to implement a strategy that reflects the new market trends. This is to say that stakeholders identify themselves more with the strategic vision since there is adequate information for the rationale for the intended strategic changes (Everse, 2011).
Engagement of Nurses, Physicians and other Stakeholders in Discussions
Leaders should provide feedback on the questions and concerns that stakeholders have in regards to the desired outcomes of a given strategy. Taking into consideration the views and fears of stakeholders creates positive attitudes about the organizations strategy (Everse, 2011; Mayfield et al., 2015).Through this technique, ambiguity is minimized among stakeholders as the message about the strategic vision of the organization is clearly articulated and issues arising out of any strategic intentions are addressed.
Organizational Culture and Internal and External Environments
Culture affects all activities that take place within an organization (Speziale, 2015). The beliefs, values, norms, and routines affect the behavior of employees as well as guide their efforts towards achieving strategic goals. Besides, organizational culture allows firms to continually adapt to the market dynamics and react to these changes in a manner that enhances organizational performance. Furthermore, culture stimulates creativity and innovation among employees (Yang & Hsu, 2010).These events impact strategic goals significantly and, therefore, must be arranged in such a way that steers health care institutions to the desired directions.
External environment constitutes of rules and regulations, customers, competition, and economic factors such as inflation and employment, among others (Swayne et al., 2012).Laws influence the way internal activities of organizations are to be conducted. Often, external environment creates expectations that organizations need to meet in order to enhance their position in the market (Yang & Hsu, 2010). For this reason, all the expectations external to the business organization must be aligned with strategic goals not only as a way of achieving compliance with the external pressures but also as a means of exploiting the potential of the organization for maximum output.
Leaders can align organizational culture with external and internal environments through the involvement of stakeholders in these two environments. Aligning culture with external environment may entail capturing market trends and regulatory requirements in influencing the behavior of employees (Yang & Hsu, 2010). Such an approach would ensure that cultural aspects such as creativity and innovation are pursued in accordance with laws and market needs. On the other hand, the involvement of employees can be done through consultation where views and suggestions of workers are examined to ascertain their viability in pushing forward the strategic agenda of the firm. Also, employee involvement creates a shared vision and also provides a clear path which organizations need to follow in order to realize their goals (Veronesi & Keasy, 2009).
Financial forecasting provides tools for leaders to predict future demands for health care services. Forecasting gives the leader the best estimate in terms of resources that organizations need to carry out its core activities vis-a-vis its previous expenditures(Guerard, 2012).Put simply, forecasting outlines the financial constraints that leaders must operate with as they strive to achieve organizational goals and objectives. Given this, forecasting can be described as a tool for budget making based on historical and future outcomes (Guerard, 2012). Accordingly, budgets offer estimates on expenditures and revenues which is an integral part of the mandate of leaders of any organization.
Forecasting also assists leaders to do planning. Plans are blueprints which break the activities of business organization into different portions that usually represent the functions of various departments within the organization. Plans spell out what is to be achieved and the resources that may be required to do so (Guerard, 2012). Each of the different departments plays a critical role in ensuring that the strategic vision of the organization is actualized. To accomplish this, these departments need resources that are often raised financial forecasting. All these activities give organizational leaders an insight into what they can achieve given certain limitations of resources.
Everse, G. (2011). Eight ways to communicate your strategy more effectively. Harvard Business Review.
Guerard, J. B. (2012). Forecasting: its purpose and accuracy. Introduction to Financial Forecasting in Investment Analysis, 1-18. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5239-3_1
Mayfield, J., Mayfield, M., & Sharbrough, W. C. (2014). Strategic vision and values in top leaders communications. International Journal of Business Communication, 52(1), 97-121. doi:10.1177/2329488414560282
Speziale, G. (2015). Strategic management of a healthcare organization: engagement, behavioural indicators, and clinical performance. European Heart Journal Supplements, 17(suppl A), A3-A7. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/suv003
Swayne, L. E., Duncan, W. J., & Ginter, P. M. (2012). Strategic management of health care organizations. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Terzic-Supic, Z., Bjegovic-Mikanovic, V., Vukovic, D., Santric-Milicevic, M., Marinkovic, J., Vasic, V., & Laaser, U. (2015). Training hospital managers for strategic planning and management: a prospective study. BMC Medical Education, 15(1). doi:10.1186/s12909-015-0310-9
Veronesi, G., & Keasy, K. (2009). Policy implementation and stakeholder involvement within the National Health Service. University of Leeds. Retrieved from http://soc.kuleuven.be/io/egpa/org/2009Malta/papers/EGPA%202009%20Veronesi%20and%20Keasey.pdf
Yang, Y., & Hsu, J. (2010). Organizational proc...
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