"Speed to Target"

Military assets hold great tactical potential for strategy, but if not deployed to targets at the right time may be of little or no value.

During a conversation with a senior financial officer of a very large health system in the U.S. the topic of “speed-to-target” was raised as an element of health system strategy. The response to the related question was,

            “We don’t think like that”.

This was a very candid and honest response, not an indictment of the concept.

The point is, speed-to-target is an important element of any strategy, the assumption is the right tactic deployed at the wrong time (or too late) may be a waste of time, resources and opportunity.

To illustrate, a piece of “real estate” (geographic market) may hold great value for a strategic ambulatory center until a competitor ties up the property or beats you to the location with a competing strategy. Or:

  • a strategic independent medical group is purchased by a competitor; or
  • a competitor executes a targeted market launch of a new clinical service line, or
  • an organization puts-off a major facilities expansion as it builds its balance sheet capacity for a future institutional debt offering

New facilities strategies, especially, require long lead-times; frequently from 3-4 years from start to ribbon cutting, depending upon land acquisition and prep requirements and design, engineering and construction challenges.

As consolidation of the U.S. healthcare market place proceeds apace, health system leaders will need to consider speed to targets, among other important elements of effective strategic plans, and strategic critical thinking. The right solution a day late may be worth zero (or less). 
Daniel Zismer, Ph.D.2013