So “merger mania” is over. This blogger emerges from seclusion in the intensity of the information gathering and decision making to begin writing again. The Board of Trustees has made a decision and Cooley Dickinson moves down a new path. This is an extremely exciting time. I am thrilled to be working for an outstanding community hospital that we expect will join one of the best hospitals in the world.
From my perspective, this merger is all about opportunity. That is why the CDH Board of Trustees and management launched on the road of merger several years ago. This is an opportunity to take advantage of our position of strength and build ourselves an even better care delivery system with the help of a larger organization. While there will be many, many details going forward to bring this to closure, I have a few high-level thoughts about it.
I find myself reflecting upon teams and the critical role they play as we seek to provide the best care possible for our patients. Teams at all levels require a commitment to the goal and a willingness to listen to diversity of opinions and ideas. Once that diversity of opinions and ideas are worked through, commitments to a single path are critical. In the world of process improvement, standardization of the process is the first step before any improvement can be accomplished. Without standardization of a process, we end up trying to improve chaos, which never works.
We are about to add a new bench to our team. We will be forming new teams and setting new goals. I am reminded of an experience I had a few months ago while hiking in Nepal. Nepal is a small country with some of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. My partner and I started in the south of the country where it is very warm; think banana trees and rain forests. As we climbed, we passed through terrain that looked more like the Northeast United States - mixed hardwood and pine forests – except the mountains are spectacularly bigger! And the suspension bridges are frighteningly long and high. Finally we reached a high desert climate in the Himalayan foothills – dry, treeless, even dusty. Amazing to me that the “foothills” are at 13,000 feet. We stayed in a tiny village whose main draw is a Buddhist monastery and spent a day exploring the monastery and its spectacular views.
So what does that have to do with where we are? For me, to safely tackle that climb I needed new skills, planning and teamwork. I met people I had not known before, packed gear to support me in the different climates, and set a clear goal (with a little room for flexibility in how long it took to get there.)
Here at Cooley Dickinson, we recognized that we are taking on a new landscape, that it might be a bit scary, and that we need to plan and learn new skills (never look down when crossing a suspension bridge). After long consideration we chose a strong team to guide us and support us in the journey. While I expect some frightening moments, we have the right team and I believe the ultimate view will be worth it.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital • 30 Locust St. (Route 9), Northampton, Mass. • (413) 582-2000
Learn more about our Healing Garden (our current background image) by clicking here