• Article
  • November 11, 2020

Developing Strategic Thinking of Future Leaders

Using COVID-19 scenario planning, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford stress tested its strategic plan for 2021.

The potential of future leaders is directly tied to the potential of an organization. Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford invested in its leaders and its future by conducting a stress test of the strategic plan using COVID-19 scenarios that may arise in 2021.

At the 2020 Annual Leadership Conference, Rick Idemoto, chief strategy officer, and Rick Majzun, chief operating officer at Stanford Children's Health, and Toomas Truumees, founder and CEO at Adaptive Strategic examined how to develop the strategic thinking muscles of an organization.

"It's important to start thinking about how we make better decisions under conditions of uncertainty," says Truumees.

Scenario planning at work

Lucile Packard started with four scenarios for varying degrees of catastrophe. One example includes the Children's Health at Risk scenario, which anticipates social distancing into 2021, mental and physical health at risk and a lack of confidence in the health care system.

"Regardless of which scenario we were examining, they all had common problems arise," Majzun says. "From there we were able to look at broader problems and how to address them in our strategic planning."

From this scenario planning, leaders at Lucile Packard reviewed the organization's preparedness for each possible outcome and the probability of it coming true.

"After taking a team through this exercise, it developed a new thinking muscle for us that has been really helpful," Majzun says. "Bringing some of our younger leaders into this exercise meant we listened more and learned more about what they need to grow as leaders."

Stress testing for a better strategic plan

Stress testing an organization compares a strategic plan against possible scenarios to best minimize potentially negative outcomes.
"We felt our current actions were not sufficient to get us through the potential situations in the way that we wanted to," Majzun says.

Lucile Packard identified three categories for strategic initiatives and efforts:

  • Patient and family experience.
  • Workforce and staff.
  • Information technology and information security.

From here, the team identified solutions and the steps needed to move ahead. One example includes improving access and availability to mental health resources for patients by sharing these resources through telemedicine appointments and in person.

"We learned that we can come together as a team and, with so much unknown, develop strategies to keep moving us forward," Idemoto says.

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