Friday, January 28, 2011

Change Has Been Painful - State of the Union

Did you get a chance to check out President Obama's State of the Union Address this week?

I always look forward to these speeches just to get a sense of some key messages. When discussing the past, he stated:

"That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful. I’ve seen it in the shuttered windows of once booming factories, and the vacant storefronts on once busy Main Streets. I’ve heard it in the frustrations of Americans who’ve seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear – proud men and women who feel like the rules have been changed in the middle of the game. They’re right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there’s an Internet connection."

How many of you have seen the same impact in your personal and professional lives?

Then he brought us forward to what we can do, the responsibility we should take:

"And now it’s our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That’s how our people will prosper. That’s how we’ll win the future. "

The first step in winning the future is encouraging American Innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do – what Americans do better than anyone else – is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We’re the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn’t just change our lives. It is how we make our living."

When I think about the overall impact healthcare reform, value based purchasing and hospital re-admission penalties, it is daunting. When I think about the fact that in my hospital alone, we have 1,300 associates, over 600 physicians and 800 volunteers, I am more than encouraged to know that we can and will make the necessary changes together. As the President stated, the changes are very painful at times. In the long (and short) run, it will be easier if we constantly look at the ways we innovate and do things differently to deliver the service and outcomes we expect as employees and consumers of healthcare.

The challenge of moving an organization in the same direction towards a shared vision and common goals is exciting and trying at the same time. Up for that continued challenge? What parts of our business and personal lives to not have that constant challenge over time. How we adapt and innovate will continue to be vital to our core.

I look forward to your thoughts. Enjoy your weekend.

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