Client Success Story


THE CLIENT: Critical Care – a high pressure environment treating the most critically ill patients

The Critical Care Department at St. Michael’s Hospital, an acute care and academic hospital located in Toronto Canada, provides adult critical care services in four intensive care units – Medical Surgical ICU (24 beds), Cardiovascular ICU (15 beds), Cardiac ICU (10 beds), and Trauma Neurosurgery ICU (19 beds); produces new discoveries in patient treatment; and builds the intensive care skills of medical professionals from around the world. A multi-disciplinary Critical Care Leadership Group works with the Department Chief to steward the strategy, provide guidance to major departmental committees, and oversee the progress of key strategic projects and initiatives.

THE CHALLENGE: Achieve the transformation required to realize an ambitious vision

In September 2009, as the newly appointed Chief of the Critical Care Department, Dr. Andrew Baker defined three ambitious goals for his tenure: (1) to lead a process of participation in refining the definition and nature of the team as a department of critical care; (2) to lead a process of distributed leadership, accountability, and transparency; and (3) to lead the Department into a clear path of focus on Quality. The time was right to begin a departmental strategic planning process, however, Dr. Baker was looking for a process that would provide the right approach – one integrated with these three goals. He knew that selecting the right planning process and approach would be an important catalyst for producing the new modus operandus and department culture necessary to accelerate the transformation of the Department into an exemplary resource for the art, science, and practice of critical care.

THE SOLUTION:  Build critical team skills and capacity for success while creating a new strategy roadmap 

With the help of Sandy Richardson (the President of Collaborative Strategy), the Department Chief, a diverse team of Critical Care Department employees (including front line clinical and allied health staff, Nurses, Doctors, Medical Directors and middle managers), and key stakeholders completed an interactive four month strategic planning process. The result was a comprehensive strategy management framework (strategic plan, strategy map, strategy scorecard, and accountability structure) that was appropriately aligned with the strategic priorities of the Hospital.

Entitled “Share the Passion, Share the Commitment”, the strategic plan plotted out the core operational and clinical drivers that enable the achievement of three key stakeholder commitments: optimizing the care experience for patients and families; advancing staff’s experience by optimizing their learning and professional experience; and contributing maximally to the provincial healthcare system by optimizing financial and clinical care performance results. This “results value chain” informed the Department’s strategy execution roadmap and continues to guide the team to this day.

Equally pivotal for successful strategy execution was changing the nature of Department conversations and creating a culture of collaboration. The Critical Care Department team began this transformation through its strategic planning process and the evolution continues today.

Over time, and with increased experience working with their strategy, the Critical Care Department team has used their strategy management skills to refine and revise the Department’s strategy, elevating the clinical, operational, and business results and outcomes that have been achieved.

Baker Quote

THE RESULTS:   Transformative results, delivering high patient and stakeholder impact, achieved in a changing healthcare environment

Clinical Care – Raising the bar on patient care and clinical outcomes

SMH optimize care

SMH Quality


Education and Research – Advancing the practice of intensive care

SMH Research


Resource Management – Using resources more effectively to deliver greater value

SMH Resources


Culture and Work Environment – Nurturing a connected and collaborative team

SMH Culture


A collaborative approach to strategy has been the foundation of the impressive results achieved by the Critical Care Department at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Could your organization benefit from achieving results like these?  Let’s explore how collaborative strategy can help you and your team achieve your business and organizational performance goals.

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