We made it.
I became CEO of Solutionreach and SR Health in January 2020. I had broad ambitions of forging a new path for our terrific company, while building on its historical success. I spent my first month meeting with every single team member. These meetings spawned several important projects. First, we set out to solidify our core beliefs, which we now call our Credo. Second, we renewed our purpose, which we define as transforming healthcare through communication: accessible, personal, modern. Lastly, we created and collaborated more than a dozen cross-functional projects geared to make life better and easier for our team members and our customers. I thought we were off to a good start.
Then COVID struck.
My immediate reaction was that we might be forced to jettison our 2020 agenda in favor of something better suited to managing the crisis caused by the pandemic. We didn’t. The work we had done as a team in the opening weeks of 2020 prepared us for what was to come. Our Credo helped us transition to a virtual-first workplace, supporting each other as teammates through unprecedented times. Our Purpose directed us to bring value to our healthcare clients who needed our patient communication tools more than ever but were in financial trouble. This past year offered a learning opportunity like no other for me.
Three things I learned from our team.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate, then communicate more. In a world of uncertainty, our rudder is communication. We set out to offer our entire team transparency into the health and operations of our company. Over the course of my career, I have observed many leaders fearful of addressing tough topics openly. Our team proved that when we talk about difficult things with candor and respect, we are better equipped to tackle challenges as a team. With data and context, we empower each other.
- Nothing can stop us when we work for each other. What I saw this year was more than teamwork and collaboration. Unified by our Purpose, I was inspired by the countless moments I saw team members taking pride in others’ successes. I’m talking about more than a business process. It is a belief system.
- Discuss mistakes openly. The more we speak openly about our shortcomings and failures (appropriately balanced by celebrating our wins), the more we trust each other. We made thousands of mistakes in 2020, and I am grateful to be on a team that sees each mistake as an opportunity for improvement.
Three things I learned from our customers.
- Get the job done. In times of crisis, we must deliver against our promise, while adapting to our customers’ ever-changing needs. In the world of patient communication, the stakes got a lot higher. Not 10 percent or 15 percent higher. Much higher. 10x or 100x higher.
- Technology is good. Expertise is better. When the ground is shifting beneath our feet, we must be more than software developers, salespeople or whatever formal title we carry. We must be problem solvers. The pandemic has shown that innovative organizations separate themselves from the rest. When we help our customers enable rapid evolution through creativity, urgency, and thought partnership, we all win. And we make a difference in the lives of millions of patients.
- Don’t be afraid to think bigger. The pandemic exposed weakness in our system, but it also uncovered opportunities, accelerating changes that we had been envisioning for some time. Before the pandemic, we saw an opportunity to improve patient experience. Now we see an opportunity to reimagine care delivery. Before, we thought of digital communication as important but supplemental. Now, the world sees it is primary and indispensable.
On a personal note, 2020 saw my immediate family through a birth and a death. In September, our beloved golden retriever Willow died tragically from the sudden onset of an autoimmune disease at the age of six. In December, my wife and I welcomed our son Isaac to the world. We watched in great excitement as our two-year-old daughter Norah welcomed him, too. For all of us, 2020 brought challenge, change, and renewal. Of course, the pandemic continues to cut millions of lives short. This past year reminded us of life’s unexpected nature. As I look ahead to this coming year, I promise to carry forward these learnings. I am proud to serve our customers through these unprecedented times in healthcare delivery. I am proud to work for my team every day as we seek new heights for each other, new heights for our purpose to transform healthcare through communication.
To see what else we've learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our research on how the coronavirus has changed patient communication preferences here.