Kaleida Health may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of New York.However, with its five hospitals, 96 clinics, and one million annual patients, we thought there was something in the Big Apple for us to sink our teeth into.
Kaleida is the largest health care provider in western New York, with 1,800 physicians and 3,000 nursing personnel. Their economic impact in western New York is estimated to be $2.2 billion annually.
Kaleida had just emerged from a large nurse’s strike, and some of their other unions were threatening to strike as well.
These ongoing labor issues had created strained relationships throughout the Kaleida system, resulting in poor collaboration, and service delivery inefficiencies. For instance, doctors and nurses were not working effectively together nor were nurses and nursing assistants.
A nurse would not assist a doctor, the way a collaborative organization would. A nurses’ assistant wouldn’t take responsibilities of the nurse, even in situations of the nurse being overworked.
The speed at which things were being done was problematic, compounded by management’s desire to micro-manage and wield control.
For instance, tasks like assigning temps to certain areas of the hospital was being signed off by the Chief Administration Officer. This proved incredibly inefficient, but there wasn’t enough trust in the next level down or throughout all layers of the organization.
These strained relations throughout the system and resulting inefficiencies ultimately led to financial losses, and the need for more state funding. Tensions rose between Kaleida and the New York governor’s office.
Work Effects Solution
By encouraging cooperation and delegation between teams and organizations, Work Effects was driven to refocus the organization. We worked with them both on the leadership and the culture front; and inserted a leadership approach by utilizing our 4R model [Exhibit A].
The focus was determining the capabilities of the leadership team in terms of building relationships- even among themselves- and how that cascaded into the various roles.
These relationships played a large part in the much needed roles of direction setters and change agents.
To Encourage Innovation
One senior leader in particular had a history of accomplishing things through mandates. Although effective at times, this rigid approach would not sufficiently enlist the buy-in needed for the degree of change his department—and the broader organization— required.
Also concentrating on the culture of Kaleida, we encouraged exploring new avenues. By implementing our Leadership & Culture Solutions results, we were able to interject a risk mitigation approach that allowed them to move slightly towards encouraging risk [Exhibit B]. Kaleida began to tolerate a few mistakes and accept opportunities for calculated risk.
By implementing the WE Leadership & Culture method and skills, Kaleida Health achieved the much-needed cultural shift they were urgently seeking:
- Profitability was restored and state subsidies were no longer needed.
- They began attracting and retaining the talent needed to fulfill their mission of “advancing the health of our communities” throughout western New York.
- The National Institute of Health (NIH) began showcasing Kaleida’s operational methods and practices as a benchmark for other healthcare organizations throughout the U.S.