President and CEO Steve Edwards says that simple fact is a guiding principle as COVID-19 has changed the world we live in.
“I don’t think there has ever been a battle fought and won where the victor wasn’t more prepared than those who were defeated. This is about preparation,” he says.
Over the last several weeks, the crisis has changed the way we do business, making daily leadership tasks look more like the forward lines of a military operation.
Hour-long meetings and planning sessions are out. Rapid change, with the flexibility to correct course, is in.
“I like 5-minute meetings. This is my ideal climate. I savor the ability to move quickly,” Edwards says. “People appreciate and respect the sense of urgency.”
Weeks of preparation have resulted in the construction of the new COVID unit at Cox South, innovative ways to produce personal protective equipment, and increasing stockpiles of masks, gowns and other PPE.
“My priority has been get our employees safe, so they can keep our community safe. We need PPE and the assets to keep the community safe. We don’t want to be overconfident, but it looks encouraging at this point. We are genuinely prepared for most reasonable scenarios.”
That preparation is the result of a systemwide effort that Edwards says demonstrates the power of our workforce.
“Our front-line staff and leaders at all levels are being tested and they are showing their strength,” he says. “There have been a great deal of analogies to war, which conjures historical images of men rushing into danger to defend and inflict harm. This war is different. The heroes are predominantly women, and they are rushing headlong into danger to save lives. If there ever was a just war, this is it.”
A strong, tested health care system will be key to keeping those we serve safe and healthy, through COVID-19 and beyond.
“I think about how when we get out of this, how much better we will be as an organization. This isn’t about market share – this is about community. As this crisis grows, I will know people who will be hurt. That has made every moment seem more urgent. It’s a powerful lesson that reminds us why we are here. This is personal.”