Clinical Center News
Spring 2020

Clinical Center CEO delivers "Strategic Thinking" presentation

Jim Gilman, CC CEO

What does cooking a Thanksgiving meal have to do with leading a healthcare organization? They both require the same basic form of strategic planning needed to accomplish any time-sensitive goal with multiple initiatives running simultaneously. That was one of the examples served up by the NIH Clinical Center CEO Dr. James Gilman. Gilman kicked off the Lunch and Learn presentation series Jan. 23 at noon with a dynamic presentation titled Strategic Thinking.

Organized by alumni of the Clinical Center's inaugural Fundamentals in Leadership program, the Lunch and Learn series puts the spotlight on the issues that can benefit the 2,000 employees of the Clinical Center. Topics span from managing conflict to appreciating diversity, managing change and giving and receiving feedback. Lunch and Learn is open to all Clinical Center staff, and will help staff tackle important, work-related issues by tapping into strategies and tips you can use in your daily life.
In a casual and engaging tone, Gilman recounted personal stories and specific instances of strategic thinking, using the preparation of a Thanksgiving meal as an example. 

Gilman explained that it is useful to "work backwards, starting from the goal," considering more general objectives before committing to any specific path. He expounded that organizational culture is a large component of realizing any large goal – "culture trumps strategy" as he put it. Understanding how your own vision aligns with the group's higher-purpose goals is an important component of realizing success. 
Once a goal is clearly defined, you should thoroughly survey the environment. This is the time to consider what sorts of obstacles, risks, boundaries and general trends might influence progress. Gilman warned that timing is extremely important and that the same goal can be easy or difficult, depending on the current atmosphere. 

Gilman shared that it is important to take stock of your resources - specifically noting the key people who could promote your cause, which may not be evident by job title. With awareness of your goal, external issues, and internal assets, a 'gap analysis' can be performed to see if any additional resources need to be gathered.

The lecture concluded by summarizing the process using a common Army lens for strategy: ends – ways – means. Ends refers to the desired goal or outcome; ways denotes to the particular path or paths taken to achieve the outcome; and means is the term that describes the resources needed to reach the ends, such as money, time, or human resources.

The few remaining minutes were filled with questions. He suggested that strategy should not be worked out in isolation and that tight deadlines may be eased finding ways to have multiples aspects of a project completed simultaneously.

This was the first of NIH Clinical Center's Lunch and Learn programs. On May 28 via WebEx, the NIH Ombudsman will present on self-awareness and self-management and on June 25 via WebEx, Robin Wink, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves, will present on giving and receiving feedback.

- Daniel Silber

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