Our Strategy Is Built Like A House

A good strategy should be easy to understand

Dear Colleague

Today I’m going to share the strategy for Al Wakra which was developed with colleagues right across the hospital.

  • A strategy is something which tells us what we should start doing today if we want to get to somewhere better tomorrow.
  • A strategy answers important questions and tells how we should respond.
  • A strategy is also something which should be easily understood by everyone and which can help us all to work out what is important when we make choices about priorities.

To help spread the word about our strategy it has been turned into a picture which contains all of the elements of what we will be focusing on in the months to come.

Strong Foundations

Our strategy is a picture of a house, as you can see. The foundations of any house are very important – they are what keep the house strong and stable so it can withstand stormy weather. Our foundations are these:

  1. Delivering strong value for the patient/HMC – We are entrusted by HMC to do the best job we can for our patients and support the corporate aims and objectives of HMC.
  2. Responsible Governance – Because we are entrusted to do this job, we must make sure that we are accountable for what we do. This accountability we share together for doing the right thing by the patient is something which should run up and down Al Wakra like a golden thread.
  3. Joined-Up Thinking – Patients don’t normally visit a hospital and see only one person. Usually patient care is a big team effort. Patients trust us to make sure that we collaborate together effectively and ensure there are no gaps in what we do.
  4. Teamwork – As I’ve been emphasising in previous letters, I believe good teamwork is essential for a hospital to work at it’s best. We must have a big effort to ensure we always remember we are working together with one goal – to serve our patients.
  5. Continuous improvement – Our work to perfect what we do will never be completed. There is always something we can do to make our services safer, easier to access, better quality and more cost effective. We can always ask ourselves: 
“How can I help to make things better?”

Strategic Viewpoints

There are four windows in our house. These are four different ways of looking at our strategy. When we look through each window, we are seeing what we must do to deliver our strategy from that perspective.

Patient Perspective

The first window is looking at what we must do from the perspective of the patient.

The question is: “From the patient’s perspective, what must we do to deliver our strategy?”

Internal Process Perspective

The second window looks at our strategy from the perspective of the internal processes we have to manage in order to make the hospital work well. An example of this is to work out how we can design completely safe treatment processes, or how we can eliminate delay from the patient journey through our services, or balance capacity and demand for our services. The question is:

“Looking at the processes we manage internally, what must we do to deliver our strategy?”

People, Skills and Technology Perspective

The third window is looking at the strategy from a people, skills and technology perspective. The question is:

“Looking at our strategy from this perspective, what must we do to ensure we have the right people, skills and technology to deliver on our strategy?”

Delivering Value Perspective

Finally we look through a last window which looks at our strategy from a value perspective. Value is the outcome we achieve for a patient, divided by the cost of achieving that outcome. The question is:

“From a value perspective, what must we do to improve outcomes for the same cost or lower costs for the same outcome?”

By addressing these four strategic questions and providing our responses, we will develop a very clear picture of what we have to do to deliver our strategy.

Two Pillars

There are two pillars which support the roof of our house and connect it to our foundations. These are the planning and performance review mechanisms we will use. 

  1. The planning mechanism is a process we will develop that will enable Divisions to submit their plans for the year(s) ahead. Each plan will be checked to ensure it is addressing the questions in our strategy and once agreed becomes the plan each Division will work on for the year ahead.
  2. The performance review mechanism allows us to keep in touch with the Divisions as they work to deliver their plan. It will be one way of ensuring we remain closely connected and supportive of one another as the year unfolds. This way we can make sure that no gap is created between us.

The Roof – Our Mission and Vision

All of these elements come together to support the roof of our house. The inner wall of our roof is a clear statement that summarises the job we are all here to do – our mission. We can see it clearly whenever we look up.

Mission: "To improve the health of Al Wakra and the surrounding population through the provision of safe, high quality and cost effective care".

The outer wall of our roof is our vision. Currently this is not as clear and specific as we would like. We will be exploring with HMC how we can develop a more detailed and agreed vision for Al Wakra Hospital.

There's a copy of the presentation I used at our Timeout which is available here. You can download a copy of the Strategy House here.

I hope that this rather lengthy letter helps to explain what our strategy is going to be. We now need to start to build plans to deliver on this strategy, something which I would like as many people as possible to contribute to.

I’d be very interested in any comments or questions you have about the strategy. Do feel free to share the picture with as many of our colleagues as you can.

If you’d like me to come and discuss what our strategy means for you and your team do let me know.

Finally, let me as usual wish good health and happiness for you and your family for the week ahead.

Best wishes