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Entrepreneurship Trumps Bureaucracy

by Lindsay Resnick, February 4, 2011

Health care reform has thrust many industry stakeholders into survival mode. With the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in place as an enabling foundation, “new rules” are set to be written. And it will be a harsh set of rules indeed – minimum loss ratios, elimination of risk selection tools, benefit plan grandfathering, strict rate management, government run benefit exchanges, and for Medicare plans, reduced payments. And add to the mix a cadillac plan tax, insurance company assessments, and yes, even a tanning tax.

Predictions are running rampant about mass product-line exits, reduced competition due to consolidation, and distribution channel collapse.  Will these new regulations be the demise of health insurance industry and its stakeholders or, will change create opportunity?

Or put another way….can entrepreneurial spirit triumph over bureaucracy?

No one has a crystal ball but history shows us that success in transformative, threatened markets requires an ability to think and plan strategically: anticipate and absorb change, generate disruptive ideas, and act with deliberate, sequenced speed. It’s the way entrepreneurs manage through obstacles and capture opportunity.

From mega health insurance companies to small brokerage agencies, the process begins when leaders seek answers to tough questions. It means lasering-in on an organization's "reason for being" and then expanding outward to scrutinize core competencies, identify comparative market advantages, dissect customer perceptions, and determine strategic sustainability. Use this three-step approach:

BASELINE – Readiness gauge of where you stand today and what’s needs to be retooled in order to deal with shifting markets and exploit new opportunities.

TOMORROW – Scenarios and options for extending your company’s “reason for being” in a reformed market landscape. This is the “vision thing” that serves as the lifeblood of every entrepreneur.

ROADMAP – Select and prioritize specific, tangible opportunities; design a structured approach to optimize results, and; formulate an actionable, measurable business plan.

This introspective approach will undoubtedly call into question your most basic operating assumptions. It will challenge institutional bias and force debate around longstanding approaches to your markets. That’s OK. It will also yield a renewed focus on where your company needs to be in the future and lay the groundwork for navigating how to get there.

The objective is to put in motion a Health Care Reform change management process that fosters informed judgments. It will assist you to see the futurity of today’s decisions. The result will prove that entrepreneurship trumps bureaucracy.

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