A new health system CEO brought energy and an expansive vision
of the health system as a key contributor to a vibrant community of
health and well-being. She and her leadership team were instilling
performance improvement management principles system wide,
including the Foundation. The Foundation had undergone some
reorganization and process improvements in preparation for a more
robust future. Recent efforts to reexamine the role of board
leadership found this body in some flux, with some newer and
younger members seeking a strategic role. Additionally,
identification of meaningful and sustainable fundraising
initiatives had been difficult in recent years, leaving some
Foundation leaders to believe that the Foundation was drifting.
After two years of operational and tactical improvements,
Foundation leaders sought to frame a more dynamic future and to
create a plan that could propel the Foundation to an entirely new
level of impact and effectiveness.
The Foundation was the first adopter of the new system vision.
The system CEO encouraged the Foundation to proceed with its own
planning, recognizing the delicate dance of potentially "getting
out ahead" of the whole system. Historically within the health
system the Foundation's role had been viewed as an ATM for system
capital needs, resulting in little authentic engagement in
community well-being. Against the backdrop of sweeping health care
reform initiatives, both the system and the Foundation realized a
need to engage the community in unprecedented ways to achieve
lasting impact and to achieve the vision: "optimal health and
well-being for our patients, our community, and ourselves."
Design and guide a multi-dimensional, intentionally focused
planning process that aligned missional, cultural, individual, and
directional elements of the Foundation plan. We engaged system
execs and board members, broad representation from the whole
community, and Foundation board and staff leaders to:
- Adopt a whole, connected ecosystem view
- Examine the ecosystem's behavior over time, collectively
identifying, mapping, and interpreting key patterns that shape the
present moment so we could understand the interdependencies that
influence the system's/the Foundation's future direction. This
process produced a working draft picture of the evolving
transactional environment of the last 30-40 years.
- Employ a vision deployment matrix as a tool for creating a
framework for large-scale change and investment.
- Identify the forces of change and the key drivers. By examining
the intersection of these drivers, we had the scaffolding for four
plausible future scenarios of the whole community 20 years
- Use the scenario stories to imagine and rehearse adaptable
strategies for the system and the Foundation.
- Framed by this work, develop the Foundation's 36 month
- The system and Foundation engaged community leaders in new
ways, which elevated the organization's profile and credibility in
- The system CEO leveraged her leadership team's involvement to
accelerate system wide transformation efforts.
- The Foundation leadership team came to comprehend and more
clearly articulate the relationship of philanthropy to the
collective vision of the community's well-being.
- A strategic Foundation plan now aligns with the health system
cultural and community initiatives, providing guidance to ongoing
decision making and strengthening the credibility of the Foundation
in attracting board and staff talent, health system allies,
community partners, and visionary donors.
- The Foundation Executive Director expanded his personal mastery
with key concepts and tools for designing the path toward a
resilient and relevant Foundation, coaching his team toward
maturity and greater effectiveness.
- The Foundation's organizational culture moved intentionally
toward developing and reinforcing resilience.