Strategic Planning During Organizational Change

Fox Chase Cancer Center was founded in 1904 as one of the nation's first cancer hospitals. It was one of the first centers to earn the comprehensive designation from the National Cancer Institute in 1974 and went on to receive the Magnet Designation for Nursing Excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center in 2000.

It was clear at this time that Fox Chase understood that great care for their patients and a focus on performance excellence were not mutually exclusive. As they continued to lead the way in cancer treatment in 2000, Fox Chase realized the importance of strategic planning, which assists in reaching long-term goals and allows for exceptional service moving forward.

However, in 2010, something happened that Fox Chase had not gone through before. There was a significant shift in senior leadership. Soon after, Fox Chase was up for sale for the first time in their over-100 year experience as a free-standing cancer center. Fox Chase found themselves having to integrate with a culture they were not used to when they were purchased by Temple University Health Center in 2012. Because of the large-scale changes that were happening, in 2016 they brought in a consultant to refresh strategic planning efforts to refocus after these big changes. In 2018, after spending about a year of researching who their best organizational partner would be for their new strategic journey, Fox Chase chose ClearPoint.

Strategic Plan Refresh

Delinda Pendleton, Director of Strategic Clinical Initiatives at Fox Chase, managed the strategic refresh process. The process was outlined by four phases: (1) environmental scanning to determine their position, (2) strategy formulation and validation, (3) strategy implementation and budget planning, and then (4) strategy evaluation and managing performance. At Fox Chase, they think of these four stages as a cycle. So, when you finish phase four, you jump back into phase one to reevaluate your strategic plan for the next year.

Strategic Planning Model with four steps

During their strategy formulation and validation process, Fox Chase worked with a consultant to create a strategy map that outlined their five major strategies, as well as the goals and initiatives that supported them. At the same time, Fox Chase kept overall alignment in mind, with Temple University still serving as their parent organization.

Implementing Strategy

As FCCC moved into the strategy implementation and budget planning phase, the priority was to align the organizational strategic plan to the department strategic plans, to create a cascading strategy. The biggest challenge Delinda saw was making sure front-line staff understood Fox Chase's overall strategies, how their department was aligning with them, and how their personal goals for the year contributed to the specific department and center-wide strategies.

In order to make this easier, Delinda set up educational sessions with department heads and managers to orient them to the plan itself. She assisted in explaining how departmental strategies and goals needed to align with organization-wide ones. Once the organization-wide strategies were selected, the department heads needed to select SMART goals that would align with those goals. From there, they would identify KPIs and targets based off benchmarks. Delinda created a template that outlined each of the strategy areas and the aligned objectives where departments would have to write in how each of their SMART goals and KPIs link back to the organization's strategy. This ensured that all departments were on the same page and thinking ahead to properly align their departments to the overall strategic plan once in ClearPoint.

Additionally, Delinda created a Quick Reference Guide document to better explain to employees what their strategic plan was, why it was so important for their organization to invest in this plan, and how each department could help. Lastly, Delinda and the senior leaders created pocket guides with Fox Chase's vision, strategies, and linked objectives of the strategic plan for employees to carry around to be constantly reminded of the organization's strategic plan. Included on the pocket guide was a space for employees to document their personal and department-based SMART goal.

Introducing ClearPoint

Since Delinda had already done the heavy lifting of creating a strategic plan with alignment from the organization's strategies and objectives to the department SMART Goals and KPIs, partnering with ClearPoint was an easy next step to take.

Fox Chase purchased ClearPoint in late August 2018 and the ClearPoint team was able to get the account set up and the users trained by mid-October. Once set up, Delinda used the same template mentioned above that outlined the department SMART goals and KPIs to the overall strategic goals and strategies for each department to enter in their data to ClearPoint. Once this information was in ClearPoint, it allowed for departments to easily see how they are helping make a difference at the organizational level.

Strategic planning today

Fox Chase Cancer Center recently went up for sale again. In this hectic time, it is important for Fox Chase to stay the course by continuing to focus on executing and tracking their strategic plan. With a strategic plan in place and a software to manage it, Fox Chase can focus on continuing to build on their organization's culture to strive for performance excellence, instead of worrying about having a plan in place for wherever they might land in the coming months.