Friday, October 28, 2011

The Challenge to Lead Change

Last Friday, I had the honor of spending the morning with Gail Boudreaux, UnitedHealthcare’s CEO, while she was in Philadelphia keynoting The Forum of Executive Women’s 2011 Leadership Breakfast.  Gail asked

the 600 business leaders, both women and men, in attendance to consider taking a more active role in transforming the health care system.

Gail encouraged the group to engage in the health care conversation as leaders, knowing that rising to the challenge involves change – not just thinking or talking about it, but accepting its inevitability, believing in its possibilities, and leading the charge to use it for inspiration.

Gail shared with the audience her own experience of adapting to change, describing UnitedHealthcare’s recent partnership with Sesame Street Workshop.  “Accepting change urges us to think differently.  Did I think a year ago that my business partner would be a Muppet?”  Over the giggles of the audience, Gail added how excited she was that Elmo and the gang have joined forces with UnitedHealthcare to promote healthy eating in a fun and engaging way.  She emphasized that it is partnerships such as this and opportunities to work collaboratively that will help solve the tough problems facing our health care system today. Remaining optimistic and solution-focused are also critical to making a positive difference in the future of our health care system.

I thought Gail struck a chord with her three challenges to the group: 
·         Go beyond your boundaries and embrace collaboration in a transparent way.  Breaking new ground, we have to be open to something uniquely different to take advantage of the expertise inside all of us.
·         Drive change through your organization.  Each person casts their own ”leadership shadow” – and your actions can inspire others.    
·         Take time to personally make your employees aware and engaged in their health care choices.  Do you take time to ensure that your employees are utilizing their health care benefits the way they should?  Do you make your own health and wellness a priority, and do you see yourself as a role model? 

One of the key themes that resonated with me from Gail’s presentation was that there are steps we can all take – both in and out of the office – that will help us be informed and engaged consumers, including understanding the costs of health care and making decisions based on research and data.  In essence, Gail challenged the group to embrace what we tell our customers and employees as our own personal health care model.

I accept the challenge. Will you do the same?

UnitedHealthcare is bringing Health Care Lane to Philadelphia on Tuesday, November 8.  For more information, visit  We look forward to seeing you there!

No comments:

Post a Comment