Thursday, April 14, 2011

MIT Class: Managing in Adversity

I just gave a guest lecture at an MIT Sloane School class entitled, "Managing in Adversity." Professors Peter Kurzina and Howard Anderson (seen here with teaching assistant Andrew McCarthy) invite CEOs from a variety of backgrounds and industries to reminisce about periods in their leadership careers that presented significant challenges. I was asked to talk about the turn-around of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center back in 2002, six years after a merger that was not working out very well.

The class begins with a presentation by a student, as though that person were the CEO at the time of the organization's crisis. Every student prepares for this presentation, and one is chosen at the last minute. In this case, it was Marlena Ruth Hubley, an MBA candidate in the Class of 2012. This was her slide accurately outlining the options faced by BIDMC in 2002.

You see Marlena above being grilled by Howard after her presentation. She did very well, indeed. If you want read more about the context for that period of time, outlining the nature of the problems we faced and my initial approach to them, you can read more here.

In addition to Marlena, many other students were engaged and thoughtful participants during the class. I attach a couple of pictures here of two who gave very good answers to questions I posed.


Anonymous said...

Everybody knows docs make lousy businessmen, so I can ask stupid questions:

1. I LOVE the idea of everyone preparing and no one knowing who will be called on to present. But, it would seem they would be biased by knowing up front what you did and how it succeeded. Were they told not to research this information?

2. Did the student select the most likely 3 options? How about (and here comes the stupid part) re-separating BID and Deaconness, or being bought by another non profit (one in particular comes to mind)? Keep in mind I have not researched this myself!

Their next topic should be your 2009 experience in using the staff to avoid layoffs;; now that would be even more interesting. I read how someone had imitated you, unwittingly, recently, but the details were not handled nearly as well, IMO.


Anonymous said...

Often not appreciated in strategic options is that culture does not necessarily follow business plan. Many ambitions fail due to that assumption. Sure, no one wants to lose a job, and most will adjust to new ventures. But a well developed culture is either baked in business processes and performance, i.e. Mayo Clinic, or it must be consistently nurtured - rewarded and amplified - as an integral part of interaction and improvement. Central to the choices of leadership are the values they promote. There are plenty of soulless hospitals who assume that a building full of caregivers creates a caregiving culture. But it is something very difficult to create.

Anonymous said...

Watch the 2nd Sage Bionetworks Commons Congress free webcast LIVE Apr 15 -16 (8am PT) "The theme will be the move towards personalized, patient-driven medicine.."

Avi Latner said...

It was an interesting lecture. As a student in class, my most interesting take away is that in crisis situations employees appreciate transparency and it eventually pays off.