Ask the people who know me best, and they’ll tell you that one of my favorite times of the year is Strategic Planning. It’s true! There is no better time to reflect on how far you’ve come and dream about where you can go next, especially for an organization as innovative and forward-thinking as Infinity Rehab.

Last week our senior leadership team, Area Rehab Directors, a Director from nearly every region, and a handful of guests gathered together in downtown Portland for this annual experience. How did it go? Let me put it this way: I have had the pleasure of attending strategic planning meetings at Infinity for the last eight years, and for me, this was the best one yet.

Mike Billings, Infinity Rehab President, kicked off the two-day meeting with a powerful case and leading evidence for the morning’s theme: what we’ve accomplished over recent years and what’s next to come. Mike dusted off his slide deck from 2015 Strategic Planning and among the things we said as a company back in 2015:

In 2015 we said – In 3 years we will…

  • Select and Implement a Core Set of Outcome Measures
  • Implement Strategies for Knowledge Translation
  • Build Infrastructure for Practice-Based Evidence Studies
  • Shift from educational training to Demonstrated Competency
  • Achieve Clinical Leadership through clinicians who are approachable, effective communicators, and empowered to act as role models, motivating others by matching their values and beliefs about therapy and care to their practice.

Does that world sound familiar to you? It sure does to me! It is nothing short of incredible to consider that what started as a dream only three years ago has become a reality that we now live every day. It is a powerful testament to the hard work you have put in over the last 3+ years to learn new skills, change the way you practice, and adapt to changes that seem to be coming a mile a minute at times. Your resilience and agility are evident and SO greatly appreciated.

The morning wrapped up with more clear results of our substantial, sustained progress over recent years presented by Patty and me on our Quality and People initiatives, and a review of this year’s employee survey results that always provide deep insight into how we can improve as a company. For the remaining time, we all then turned our eyes to the future and began working through the barriers and solutions that will help us enter 2019 on firm ground and set us up for unparalleled success as the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) launches in just over a year from now.
Here’s why it was our best strategic planning meeting in recent memory: As I walked around and listened to the level of conversation and problem-solving that our leaders engaged in for the final day and a half, it struck me just how strong our foundation is right now.

Every person in the room added unique value. Terms like “PDSA” and “Aim Statement” are now common language in our dialect. It became clear to me that our leaders at every level have been learning, growing and innovating so much in recent years that the next challenge we face is just another in a line that we’ll keep busting right through.

On top of that, for every leader in the room that day, we have ten more in the field between Operations, Leadership Academy, Practice Councils, Clinical Champions, etc. Over the last 3+ years, we have organically become a dynamic, matrix-style organization with overlapping expertise in the areas of clinical, management, and leadership excellence that provides an agile framework for creative, real-time problem-solving and swift action that occurs through collaboration and teamwork. It provides an exciting opportunity for us to lead our industry into a new structure of delivering high-quality patient care based on value, not volume.

The takeaway message for me: The work we all have done together is paying off and we’re only getting stronger. I encourage you to ask your local leader who attended Strategic Planning what they took away from their experience. See what story they have to share and how you can play a part in our action going forward. You might find that you’re closer to the annual excitement of Strategic Planning than you think!

Derek Fenwick, PT, MBA, GCS, SHRM-SCP, is a physical therapist and board-certified geriatric clinical specialist. He develops leaders in healthcare as the Director of Professional Development at Infinity Rehab. Find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @DerekFenwickPT.

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