• How you got here no longer matters. Navigating this 12 months we are all transformation leaders.
  • The one key switch in priority
  • The three steps you must lead this Quarter to navigate to July 2021


The pace of change on the outside must be at least met by the pace of change on the inside not to be going backwards.

Or as famously stated by Jack Welch, CEO of GE during a period of significant change and development:

If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

In times of accelerated and dynamic change in our environment, this means we must change from work patterns which matched less turbulent times.  Times when different assumptions were useful.

Working as a transformation leader is a chosen path for some.  Coming from a range of disciplines, talking with these people or looking at their CV you can see patterns of putting themselves in positions of significant changes.

For others ticking over an efficient operation, meeting budgets, keeping ‘out of trouble’, passing Audits and assessments has been the sure and steady pattern.

How you got here no longer matters. Navigating this 12 months we are all transformation leaders.

McKinsey captures the big picture of our current situation saying COVID-19 has caused the Great Amplification, where the factors were previously just starting to separate the best businesses from the laggards – great technology, asset-lite business models, a global outlook, a systemised approach to dealmaking – have become even more powerful.

The emphasis is on the need for speed and flexibility. They use the analogy of two people running away from a bear – a 10 per cent health difference can quickly become a 100 per cent difference.

Looking at this from a Health & Age Care perspective there are issues known and discussed across the sector and within it’s segments.  Many of these have been the fodder of reports and conferences over the last decade.

  • A system weighted to acute treatment rather than quality of life, prevention, and chronic condition management
  • A system that is economically unviable given aging demographic modelling and despite annual cost cutting efforts
  • A system that reverts to the perspectives of it’s parts when under pressure
  • A system saddled with legacy technology that fatigues clinicians and is nowhere near the service we experience in other aspects of our lives
  • A sector that is both brilliant examples of innovation and a noted laggard in industry comparisons

Those experienced in the sector will readily add to this list.

There is also the harsh reality of the wider social and economic pressure which will be experienced across our society.  The Health sector may feel relatively well funded in these immediate Covid19 response times however  as implications flow from beyond the sector it is most likely that dynamics will disrupt previous operating models within and between segments of Health.


As transformation leaders rather than ‘As is’ operational leaders there is one key switch in priority to be aware of in our work each week.

Best summed up by the catch phrase:

“Working ON the system, not IN the system”

It starts with reflecting on where we use our time.  Perhaps making visible to ourselves and our colleagues.

Over the years I have had these conversations with hundreds of leaders as we look to embark on a new strategic phase.  Even acknowledging that we will always have a mix in the real world, with a “guesstimate” as a starting point the great majority of leaders acknowledge the pull into the task work of keeping existing work going and that they have not got this mix where they would like it to be. 

Looking more closely at schedules and diaries we can start asking what can we:

  • Stop?
  • Start?
  • Do Less?
  • Do More?


The three steps you must lead this Quarter to navigate to July 2021


  1. July 2021 – what MUST happen this Quarter to be where we want to be in July 2021? Flush out all the good to do, previously thought it was a MUST do, rolling initiatives.  Debate about where the MUST do line is!
  2. Step out of Functional priority lists and looking at the whole of organisation view alongside the CEO. Each of us with our top 5 is a luxury not suited to navigating turbulent times.
  3. Applying our expertise and energy to areas that may have previously taken for granted
    a. Viability of Business model
    b. Viability of base operating model
    c. Activity patterns and mix
    d. Logistics and value stream partnerships
    e. Redundant support work

Working towards clarity and alignment as a team is critical in these times.  If you are looking for more information on Traction of your strategic imperatives refer www.BernieKelly.com or be in contact with me directly on bernie@berniekelly.com to discuss your situation.