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Finding and retaining talent a key to success, says new book about UCLA’s top-tier health system

By | June 9 th,  2011 | Blog | Add A Comment

“With clear purpose, unwavering principles, and steadfast leadership, the people at UCLA have established a new bar, a compelling promise, for what healthcare can and should be.”
—David M. Lawrence, M.D., former CEO, Kaiser Permanente


Organizational consultant and author Joseph Michelli has previously mined the inner workings of a coffee revolution (“The Starbucks Experience,” McGraw-Hill, 2006) and hotel king Ritz-Carlton (“The Gold Standard,” McGraw-Hill, 2008). Now, he’s trained his gaze on healthcare, and the inside view is one we’ve been privileged to witness as well.


[youtube_sc url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=55cKZwCBSiE]


Michelli’s new book, “Prescription for Excellence: Leadership Lessons for Creating a World-Class Customer Experience from UCLA Health System” (McGraw-Hill, 2011) comes from his team spending a year observing the inner workings of the organization. Furst Group’s involvement with UCLA comes from helping to fill the system’s roster with more than 15 leaders, in addition to several consulting projects.


One of Michelli's conclusions has deep implications for leadership and hiring.


He writes: "Talent selection and retention is the single most pressing issue for business success over the foreseeable future."


Dr. David T. Feinberg, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor for health sciences, is eager to share his organization’s strategies with other firms, including competitors.


“We are owned by the people of California,” he says in a statement, “and I believe we have an obligation to share what we have learned so that our friends and neighbors who trust us have access to safe, clinically excellent healthcare that is delivered with the highest level of compassion, dignity and privacy – regardless of where they receive medical care.”


Michelli found five principles at work in how UCLA operates as a system: 1) commit to care, 2) leave no room for error, 3) make “the best” better, 4) create the future and 5) service serves us.


"It's been a privilege to work so closely with the leadership at UCLA," says Furst Group vice president Joni Robbins, who has been heavily involved in helping the health system with its recruiting. "They are visionaries in the healthcare field who put a premium on innovation and excellence."


Michelli apparently was impressed enough to donate the proceeds from the book to benefit UCLA’s Operation Mend program, which provides free reconstructive and other medical care to severely wounded U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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