Connecting Physicians, Staff and Community with Strategy

Posted on by Kim Barnas

Stack of hands. Unity and teamwork concept.

Catalysis Healthcare Value Network member, New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC), serves as a hub for seven counties in North Carolina. The system consists of two hospitals and thirty-six physician practices. In 2018 Forbes named NHRMC one of the top employers in America -an honor that their CEO, John Gizdic, attributes to the engagement of their staff and the organization’s culture.

A significant part of engaging the workforce is allowing them to do meaningful work that aligns with the goals of the organization. When visiting NHRMC I saw first-hand their strong alignment and engagement between staff and physicians with their strategy. 

Here is what I observed:

Focused, Well-Defined Strategic Plan

NHRMC understands the value and power of a focused and well-defined strategic plan. Executive leadership has narrowed the strategic initiatives to three areas of focus and defined measures of success for each of these areas. This allows them to focus on the “vital few.” Their strategic plan fits on a single sheet of paper, making it easy to share with their staff members and community partners.

Cascading A3s

Each area of focus within the strategic plan were assigned an executive leader and physician dyad. These cohorts along with their teams, developed the master A3’s that are displayed and maintained in the O’beya room. Along with the master A3’s, they also display the “status at a glance” symbols using a red or green shield. There is a rotating schedule for reporting out on each A3. As the plan progresses over a one, three, and five-year period, other A3s branch out of the larger A3 and cascade down to the front-line staff level. In addition to utilizing frontline staff, mid and top management physicians, they are engaging the surrounding communities and customers to partner with them to lead them to outstanding health. To date there are 38 teams that have been set into motion, and they consequently have 400+ problem solvers working on making their strategic plan as successful as possible.

Connecting Staff to Strategy

Connecting staff and the work they do to the strategy of the organization is difficult, but it is necessary for true culture transformation. When staff feel connected to the strategy and can see how they can make an impact they become more engaged. This strong connection helps ensure that everyone across the organization is working on the things that will help strengthen the organization, positioning NHRMC as a leader in healthcare for southeastern North Carolina.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center creates alignment to strategy in many ways, including daily visual management and their O’beya room. They have also done something unique that I believe takes staff engagement to the next level. They packaged their strategy in a simple, easy to follow way and sent it to all their 7,000 employees. They also asked each staff member for their ideas on how they can become involved in the strategic plan.

I invite you to join me on an Executive Site Visit at New Hanover Regional Medical Center so you can experience the culture for yourself and see the engagement and connection the staff has with the strategy.

Kim Barnas, CEO



Related Items

Executive Site Visits 

Catalysis Healthcare Value Network 

Book: Patient-Centered Strategyby Jeff Hunter


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