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Canberra Health Service's solution to dull executive meetings? A Monopoly-themed board game.

By Rebecca SoistmannPaul Trigonoplos

February 25, 2021

    During Covid-19's first wave, health care executive meetings became single-minded; discussions around making progress on corporate plans fell to the wayside as everyone focused on the pandemic.

    Planning your post-Covid-19 strategy? Don't forget these 3 key lessons.

    But after the first wave had passed, Canberra Health Services (CHS)—a health system that provides acute, sub-acute, primary, and community-based health services in the Australian Capital Territory—sought to reinvigorate interest and focus on its 2020 strategic plan after it had been sidelined during the first half of 2020.

    The CEO at CHS sought to "resuscitate" the system's executive meetings by infusing energy back into the group to rally around their strategic plan. The CEO did away with CHS's normal executive meetings—which were the average "come and update the group on progress" meetings—and replaced them with what she called the Corporate Planning Review committee, or CPR, to take the "resuscitation" a step further.

    This committee brought four changes to how executives met and reported progress, which are outlined below. Together, these changes capture a lot of the momentum the team saw during wave one.

    1. Expanded participation: More senior leaders are now invited to join their executive directors to share, be heard, and listen.
    2. Increased meeting cadence: Meeting biweekly instead of monthly allows the team to more frequently recalibrate and share innovative ideas.
    3. Standardized presentation templates: The team developed and now uses standardized templates when reporting out, to make sure their information is focused, consistent, and data driven.
    4. Gamified progress-tracking approach: The team created a custom monopoly board that breeds friendly competition and accountability around progressing toward strategic objectives.

    Corporate monopoly helps recapture leaders' focus

    The fourth change listed above was particularly special—CHS's executives created a corporate monopoly board to help leaders track progress. Below are some screenshots of the game. On the left, there are seven players across the strategic priorities. Some have more than one. And on the right is the board itself.

    Image02 Image03

    The monopoly board concept was developed to make teams "sit up and notice." Rather than using typical Gantt charts or traffic lights that may not hold interest over time, the monopoly board encouraged team members to engage and track their business unit's progress against other business units.

    The CPR committee meets every two weeks to share progress. Players move along on the board according to the past two weeks' achievements. They use a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to track progress. All team members are sent a monthly email updating them on progress, which includes an updated board.

    The board is also used as a general engagement tool throughout the system as well. CHS has several large game boards displayed in meeting rooms to be used in team meetings. Executives and senior managers use these boards to visually demonstrate to staff how their actions contribute to success on the board—therefore advancing the organization towards the goals outlined in its strategic plan.

    How we know it's working

    CHS resuscitating its executive meetings and introducing the corporate monopoly concept allowed the system to shift back to non-pandemic priorities quickly and get back on track to achieving the organization's 2020 goals.

    Further, it's been a huge motivation success. In the CEO's own words, "Engagement has been fantastic, and it just means everyone is working on the same team. It's the first time I've felt like everyone in the organization has worked on the same deliverables, the same goals." Moving into 2021, the team continues to leverage it in new ways. There are monopoly-themed tray mats in the staff cafeteria and animations depicting their progress in their communications to staff.

    How Hywel Dda hardwired flexibility into strategic planning

    4 steps one Welsh health system took to modernize their planning approach

    Covid-19 made strategic planning and decision-making difficult because the disease was new, health systems had little information about it, and executives needed to make decisions quickly and prioritize those decisions rigorously. After adopting “pandemic response” frameworks, leaders realized that previous planning and decision-making structures were inefficient given today's rapidly changing environment.

    Download this case study to learn the four steps Hywel Dda took to modernize their planning approach.

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