Maxim No. 8: “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where the puck is.”
Maxim No. 8 came to me by way of Wayne Gretzky, one of the greatest hockey players of all time. When asked by a reporter how he managed to stay at the top of his game, he answered, “I think it’s because I skate to where the puck is going to be, and everyone else skates to where the puck is.”
When you apply Wayne’s perspective to the world of health care, it essentially translates to market differentiation – distinguishing a product or service from others to attract or create a new target market.
Historically, we at Texas Children’s have been very good at market differentiation or skating to where the puck is going to be. We are an organization that is constantly looking at what’s around the corner, forecasting what families will need, and proactively creating solutions before a challenge even fully materializes. It is this type of thinking that led to the Pavilion for Women, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Health Plan, the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute, and our hospital campuses in Katy and The Woodlands.
Sure, there were naysayers and critics who said these things wouldn’t work and that we should just focus on being a children’s hospital, but we were impervious and pushed forward with our plans, confident they were what our patients and families needed. Time and again, our instincts have been proven to be right.
So many of you are making bold, proactive moves throughout the organization, and I want to highlight Kabby Thompson, Director of Managed Care, is a great example. She and her team negotiate contracts on behalf of Texas Children’s Hospital, Texas Children’s Pediatrics, Texas Children’s Urgent Care and Texas Children’s Physician Service Organization with insurance companies, providing in-network access for our patients.
Kabby’s job is critical to making care accessible and affordable for patients and their families. Her team and the work they do is also extremely important to the vitality and sustainability of our entire organization, especially in this dynamic climate of transformation in the insurance industry.
Kabby joined Texas Children’s three years ago after working for several large insurance companies. She’s perfect for this role because she is a strategic, forward-thinker who is constantly looking five to 10 years ahead to the future of health care reimbursement, rather than simply focusing on how we are paid today.
She assesses and plans ahead based on long-range health care reimbursement risks and does not allow day-to-day fluctuations to distract her focus on high-impact areas. Kabby also works to build business partnerships with health plans that can collaborate with us in ways that benefit Texas Children’s and our patients.
It’s inspiring to watch Kabby navigate this ever-changing world of managed care with such focus, agility, and compassion. She never loses sight of the fact that our patients and families are what is most important and that they count on the stability that Texas Children’s provides. With people like Kabby on our team, we will continue to always be ahead of the game.
I’d like to hear from you … how do you skate to where the puck is going to be to stay ahead in your role at Texas Children’s?
Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!
Over the past few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog has been highlighting employees who demonstrate his Maxims of Leadership. Each blog post poses a leadership question that Texas Children’s employees may respond to in the comments section until October 19.
Afterward, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 75 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with the Texans cheerleaders.