These are just some of the questions I often reflect on in the Home and Community Care sector. Interestingly, the culture and the answers are different for Home Care and for Community Care. But should they be?
Before I share my thoughts with you, I would just mention that I was motivated to write this Blog after reading the July/August 2011 issue of the Harvard Business Review, which contained a few articles along the lines of “Build a culture of trust and innovation, Collaborate”. The various articles emphasized the need for, and the future of, successful collaboration among similar and complementary businesses. It also talks about how leaders can build a culture of collaboration in organizations where collaboration is not just with external organizations, but also among staff in the work setting.
In Canada, there is significant competition between the many large and small companies that provide visiting nursing and home care services. Some of the competition is for business from government, health authorities or other major funders; some is for private pay work, which is a competition for every household that purchases services. While the corporate world holds competition up as a good thing that should reduce costs and benefit customers (i.e. funders or the purchaser of services), in my opinion, in its current mode, competition does not benefit the client. Keep in mind that when the funder of a service is different from the recipient, the “client” and the “customer” are not one and the same
On the other hand, what is emerging in the leading corporate world (which seems to be the paradigm on which we shape our Home Care sector) is that they are moving more and more to a collaborative approach. The linkages among the large Top 500 companies are so strong you often do not know that behind one contract you might find Intel, ASP, IBM and more. The kind of collaboration I am talking about should be “win and win” – for the companies in the partnership, funders, and above all the clients and their families.
If you take this conversation over to the Community Care Sector, things are different. There are tremendous collaborative examples where not-for-profit and charitable organizations get together to respond to community needs. By pulling their resources together and being clear that the goal is to serve the community, they are able to build unique programs with very few resources.
It makes you wonder if the difference between the two sectors is profit. The home care sector needs to generate a profit, which is not as much of a focus for the community care sector. Please reflect on these issues, read some of the new writings on collaboration, and act if you can. I would love to hear your thoughts