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by Shawn Foley
Published on October 24, 2016

The Middle East is a wonderful place to work. Some of my favorite moments and professional involvements have occurred due to the sheer variety of experiences and possibilities within the health care practices and the information technology projects that have been initiated by our clients and beyond.

If you are living in this region, then you live in one of the most diverse places in the world with regard to ethnicity, nationality, language and culture. It is at times overwhelming and always amazing. In light of this varied representation the efforts of our clients in this region are truly transformational.

As a result of this diversity, gaining agreement and achieving commitment from people, teams or organizations presents a strong opportunity. The more diverse the environment – the more diverse the cultures, the ideas and the mindsets – the larger the opportunity.

Peter Senge maintains “when there is genuine vision (as opposed to the all-too-familiar 'vision statement'), people tend to excel, and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to.” The question I often ask myself …how can you and I gain alignment and commitment for our projects, our colleagues, our teams or our clients in the absence of a genuine or a shared vision?

In order to improve our capability to solidify vision, foster alignment and direct our projects toward success you and I need to leverage leadership. Cerner asserts that a key ingredient to successful projects is leadership. Leaders must lead in communicating vision and commitment throughout the life of the transformation.

There are at least four critical factors that can either lead us to success or can introduce a challenge (opportunity) for our projects:

  1. Executive Sponsorship: How executives and leaders engage and sponsor the project is important. The more closely they engage in project activities and involve themselves in the project correlates closely to the success and the value that is achieved. 
  2. Realistic Expectations: Whether or not expectations are attainable, measureable and are set up as S.M.A.R.T. goals – specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time bound will have an acute impact on your ability to influence success. 
  3. Competent Staff: Your people need to be able to achieve what you expect them to achieve. Ask yourself and assess if they have the education, knowledge and skill sets to be successful. If not, you need a plan in place to address the knowledge and skill gaps.
  4. Crystal Clear Vision: Vision sets the tone for your project. Vision can help you to manage passions and to manage relationships. Vision helps your teams to connect and to collaborate with each other. And vision focuses everyone involved on the results and the value you want to achieve.

It has been said that ‘change’ is an external situation or event that makes something different for someone. It happens without people transitioning.

Transitions in contrast are the internal, psychological processes that people experience while accepting and adapting to change. 

In order to manage change and organize for transitions, Cerner works with our clients to connect personal values to a shared vision. Our clients are asked to create commitments, manage accountability, initiate value planning and outline an E.H.R. governance structure early on in our projects in the critical stages of alignment development. One objective of the CME Consulting Framework and the Model Experience is to start our projects with a clear vision and keep our projects on track with that vision, every time, as the team works toward success through value achievement.

For example, Dar Al Shifa Hospital (DASH) does this very well today. DASH is Cerner’s first Cerner Millennium™ footprint in Kuwait. Located in the Hawally Governorate, DASH is Kuwait’s first privately owned hospital. Established in 1963 as a maternity hospital, they have grown over the years and are now a full-fledged general hospital. While still recognized for its women’s health services, the hospital has expanded into other specialities such as cardiology, orthopaedics and endocrine. DASH is the benchmark for exceptional patient care and distinguished experiences in Kuwait, and they also set an example for other health care facilities in the country and within the GCC. heir vision statement is as follows:

To be the regional health care leader in providing high quality care and services, distinguished by compassion, innovation and excellence.

This vision is the foundation for everything that DASH and Cerner do together. This is further enhanced by defining what success looks like through the characterization of guiding principles to be followed. The combination of these early efforts help us to achieve alignment & connect with commitment – and that will lead to the kind of distinguished innovation and excellence that all of us want to be a part of for the betterment of our communities.