Talking About Changes

This week, I had the privilege of attending the retirement party of a person whom I think Manitoba will remember as an important advocate of our healthcare system and its ongoing sustainability.  Réal Cloutier, the CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, has led through some of the largest changes in our healthcare system in history, including recently redistributing more than a billion dollars in resources to the new Shared Care Health Authority. To anyone who knows Réal, I am sure what he will be most known for is his unwavering optimism and belief in others, something that I have great admiration for personally, given the challenge that he was given to lead.  The departure of Réal will be yet another significant change to our healthcare system.

At Klinic and SERC, our last strategic plan required implementing change at various levels that, while nowhere near the system level, are nevertheless significant for us.  As we enter our last year of these plans, we are moving to the final pieces that we have identified as important in supporting our strategic directions, mission, and values. In the new year, I hope to chat more about what these changes mean and why and how they are important for our organizations, starting with Klinic.

I know that many of you are thinking, but Klinic is already awesome (and its true!), why change?

The fact is, community health centres are a small but important part of Manitoba’s healthcare system. These organizations are supported largely through public funding, to work in a manner that supports Manitobans with the services and information they need, whether it’s primary care, mental health, sexual health, or community health.   Our organizations have been entrusted to do this work in a way that supports our communities, which are some of the most marginalized, to access services and supports they need when they need them.

We all have known our frustrations in accessing healthcare for ourselves or a loved one when we needed it.  Perhaps sitting in an emergency room, on a waiting list, or being told a service simply isn’t available.  It is not what we want for ourselves, the people we love, or our community.  I know that the #1 issue brought forward by Klinic staff, community, and our Board of Directors during our strategic planning four years ago, was accessing care, a core value of Klinic.

At Klinic, we have introduced a term I recently learned about.  We thought it might assist folks to understand the strategic plan in the most basic terms. The Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG):

To grow Klinic as a leader in best practice, values driven, client and community care

After introducing this idea and the framework for how we will implement the final pieces of our strategic plan to Klinic’s program teams, the management team had a planning day to focus on how we offer support in this evolving ever changing environment.  We began with an activity that involves using card images to identify our leadership style individually and as a team, and what supports we and our organization need to reach our goals.  Reflecting on the activity what really stood out for me was the passion and cohesion of this team, and the growing sense of connection and coordination.  In the activity, a commonly used image was of geese flying in formation, moving together and taking turns facing into the wind.

Klinic’s management team

Last week, I also had the opportunity to sit in with the micro-team implementation planning group, who will be critical to implementing the final pieces of our strategic plan (I also wrote about this here). As they discussed the values and communication strategies that they wanted to honour with each other as a group, I heard many that I believe absolutely align with the work we do everyday, including: trust, safety, support, collaboration, ability to make mistakes, and honouring of others such as clients, communities, and colleagues.  What I heard the most, though not actually ever said, was the value of compassion.  Compassion for others, and compassion for self.  This seems like a timely message to one another for this holiday season; I wish you peace, love, and compassion, for each other, for the world, and for yourself.

So how do our planned changes align with our values? Stay tuned for part 2 in 2020!

 Click here to read Part 2: What About Our Values?