Built to Last: The Key to Sustainable Solutions

Built to Last: The Key to Sustainable Solutions

Borrowing a concept from the automotive industry can help establish the foundation for successful, sustainable programs

Before coming to Riley Children’s Health, Mark Anderson spent most of his career in the automotive industry. In many cases, shifting his focus from cars to kids requires a new approach. But when it comes to building a sustainable program or process, there’s one management mantra he says applies to children’s hospitals as well as assembly lines.

“You’ve got to own it internally,” says Anderson, vice president of human resources at Riley Children’s in Indianapolis. “It may take a little bit longer, but if you pay the price and learn it, you’ll build self-reliance on your skillsets as an organization in the long run.”

It may be tempting to seek the expertise of outside consultants for faster solutions, but quick fixes may not last. “Often what happens when they go away is other priorities start to take over and you lose a lot of the knowledge that was brought in because it was an outside-in approach,” Anderson says.

Leadership program built from within

With that in mind, Riley Children’s chose an inside-out approach when establishing its triad leadership development program earlier this year. The program seeks to enhance team member’s leadership skills while breaking down silos across the organization. As Riley Children’s wraps up the initiative’s first cohort, Anderson acknowledges it will take longer to cascade the program across the hospital’s more than 3,000 team members.

“We'd rather be the tortoise than the hare on this one,” Anderson says. “We were very intentional in that we were going to develop this internally and grow it slowly but surely because we want sustainability, we want stickiness. That's the goal.”

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