Monday, June 11, 2012

Leading in a Rapidly Changing Industry

Writers from Forbes Magazine recently interviewed two leaders at McKesson, one of the world’s largest health care services and information technology companies, to gain insight on how a 179 year old company has the ability to perpetually reinvent itself. The interview of these two visionaries yielded astonishing similarities to the message in McKinsey Quarterly article “Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?” which links certain leadership traits to growth strategies. McKesson’s Pat Blake, EVP and group president, and Randy Spratt, Chief Information and Technology Officer, discussed the leadership aspects that have made them both extremely effective leaders in their rapidly changing industry.

Blake and Spratt both maintain that they have taken a holistic look at providing health care solutions during its constantly evolving state. They say that connectivity is the focus and that they are on a mission to provide better connectivity between ALL the healthcare stakeholders: the patients, the providers, and the payers. McKinsey writers agree that this strategic focus of “looking beyond the current context” is most effective in a growth leadership trait called Market Insight. Blake and Spratt are also firm believers in getting closer to the customer, and they use this concept in practice as they attempt to drive mobility at McKesson. They even established a mobility task force charged with collecting and sharing the learning across the company. These leaders believe that “mobility puts you closer to the customer”, and this desire to remain close to the customer should enable McKesson to continue to make a deep customer impact. McKinsey writers acknowledge this trait as the most impactful in effective growth leaders because it shows that those leaders “understand customers’ evolving needs” and can drive their company to meet those needs. Throughout the interview, Blake and Spratt also discuss the importance of collaboration and teamwork as strategic focuses within their organization. They indicate that many companies make strategic missteps because they are not focusing on these leadership skills as necessary factors for growth.  

Blake and Spratt understand that they hold a certain type of leadership which is coveted by all companies seeking a competitive advantage in ever-changing and turbulent times. But does the McKesson leadership initiative find its way down the ranks to the minds of the managers on the front lines? I think that these executives understand that their leadership influence is obsolete if it is not carried beyond the board room. Their Forbes Magazine interview reveals the proof that this duo has the passion to ignite all those around them and transfer those rare leadership traits throughout the entire company. That passion should ensure that this age old firm will thrive for another 179 years.

Evan Morrison

McKinsey Quarterly “Do You Have the Right Leaders for Your Growth Strategies?”

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