“Your people are your most important asset.”

There are three things I would like to say about that phrase. Well, actually four, but in this blog I try to avoid curse words.

  1. It is one of the immutable truths in business.
  2. Healthcare organizations love to include that phrase in their annual community reports.
  3. Strikingly, few organizations actually practice what they write.

His colleagues respect himGiven that healthcare reform seems to be picking up steam with recent CMS announcements regarding value based reimbursement, I thought it would be a good time to parse the phrase your people are your most important asset in the context of how the lives of leaders will change with a drastically different business model.

Asset – Property owned by a person or company, regarded as having value and available to meet debts, commitments or legacies.

People – Typically employees, but I am not sure that concept is broad enough to be of sufficient value in the context of reform.

Expanded Definition – I favor the idea of expanding your “assets” to include your physicians, board members, contractors, vendors and those politically critical stakeholders.

Independent community hospitals, from the 12-bed Critical Access facility in a remote southwest Texas town, to the 550-bed regional medical center on the east coast, will need every advantage they can muster, all the help, trust and loyalty of these assets, and more. This means CEOs must spend more time building strong ties – the kind that bind – to ensure that they can maximize the leverage of what their “assets” can offer. If you do not have this tight we-are-all-in-this-together relationship, you will see your revenue and operating margins slip away.

The independents will survive because they earn and sustain the trust, loyalty and support of their communities. You cannot, for one day or one minute take them for granted. There will be intense competition for those customers and it will take a team performing at a high level of efficiency and consistency to withstand the onslaught of the big systems that believe bigger is better.

Having a team of great employees who are valued and respected and who are committed to helping nurture and sustain the trust, loyalty, and support of your clients is not just golden, it is essential.