Posted by: Knightbird | July 15, 2011

The Power of a Vision

Creating a “Tipping Point” for lean healthcare and helping people become healthy requires a powerful vision, communication, and lots of it. When I started my tenure at Chugachmiut, I had passion and enthusiasm for a mission—to restore responsible fatherhood to families. My board let me follow that dream in my first year. In return, I planned to use my management expertise to create a world-class organization. My dreams and vision has expanded substantially as I have grown in my knowledge and experience. Having a staff knowledgeable in lean thinking has helped me grow and expand our vision.

When I started work, I advocated for a traditional strategic plan. My board in its wisdom simplified the verbiage from my original proposal to 5 simple statements. The simplicity of these 5 goals made them easier to communicate.

When lean thinking crossed my path in May of 2004, I was mesmerized. It became the vehicle for all of us to aspire to world-class delivery of services. That has been our direction from the start of our lean journey. My role was to help develop and then sell the vision, and make sure to consistently steer us in the right direction. If we get off course, my role is to correct our course.

Through all of our development, I wanted to see us use all of our resources to help our tribal members become “happy, healthy people, well educated, well trained and able to survive anywhere in the world, but wanting to live at home.” This has been my personal vision. It guided my development of the 5 strategic goals adopted by our board.

Of course I am simplifying what we actually do to inspire our employee’s, but with our lean culture, we have inspired employees to personally improve their lives as they work to improve the lives of our tribal members. Our health care system is working well. Our Restoration to Health Strategy is being implemented. We have enthusiasm among our Tribes for our vision. Passion and enthusiasm beget passion and enthusiasm, and I am confident that we will make good progress on our vision.

As I share Chugachmiut’s dreams, I make friends everywhere who understand the power of a grand vision. One friend shared observations about their workplace with me. Words like lack of vision and no one steering the organization came through with disappointment in their leadership. They are trying (referring to management). However, their efforts are like Red Bull. Soon the rush is gone. Nobody seems to care enough and most employees are silent.

Employee’s respond to dreams, visions and will fulfill the need for hard work to achieve them—as long as they have a say in how to get to that dream. As I tell my employee’s frequently, we have good jobs. What we do at Chugachmiut is not about us; it’s about the people we serve. We have the ability to impact our life in the workplace. The Power of a Vision is that it gives us purpose. Lean enhances the tools we have to achieve that purpose. And every step we take towards achieving the Vision gives our lives meaning. My advice to anyone reading this blog is to buy into a grand vision and realize the power it gives you.


  1. You do a valuable service. I applaud you.

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