As any CEO can attest, evaluating, refining, and selling a strategic idea within a large business is a high stakes, complex endeavor. The outcome can determine the fate of an organization — and the fate of its executives. Healthcare leaders are uniquely challenged because of the speed in which their market is changing. They need to implement strategic ideas quickly but do so with limited resources in a complex environment. Because strategic ideas require approval and buy-in from dozens of decision-makers, each with their own unique set of priorities, biases, and competing ideas, it’s no wonder that decisions in the consensus-driven culture of healthcare take a long time and are often flawed.
While there are a multitude of factors that determine the fate of an idea, there is one common factor among those organizations that sell their ideas well: they have a compelling strategic business case. And by business case, I do not mean a boring template-based business plan that recites facts that we already know. I am referring to a dynamic set of information that creatively helps people quickly understand the core value proposition along with the business model that supports it. A compelling business case has the following characteristics:
While each case is unique, there are five basic steps required to create a compelling business case:
Building a compelling business case is just the starting point for selling a strategic idea, but it is the foundation on which the sales process is built. It supports sound decision making and provides the content needed for one on one politicking, influencing internal stakeholder groups, creating communications material, and winning approval from the Board of Directors. Developing a solid business case is difficult. It requires talented people who have the right mix of creativity, business acumen, and experience. And while this process may be challenging, making a strategic mistake can be fatal.