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Standardization for aligning operational processes in a healthcare setting


Image source: seb_ra | Getty Images via Canva

The case below explores the implementation of a standardized Operational Deployment System (ODS) at Corewell Health West, a healthcare system in West Michigan. The goal of the system was to align operational processes and improve efficiency across physician and non-physician stakeholders. By implementing ODS, the organization aimed to enhance quality, increase patient satisfaction, optimize operational efficiency, and reduce costs while ensuring staff and physician satisfaction.

The authors are Aiesha Ahmed MD, MBA (VP, Population Health, and Chief of Neuroscience); Rashelle Ludolph (Operations Director, Medical Specialty Services); Cheryl Wolfe MD, MBA (VP, Chief of Women’s Health), and Sonja Beute (Director of Strategic & Operational Deployment).


Corewell Health West is a complex large healthcare system in West Michigan with 31,000 employees (4600 providers). Due to its large footprint in West Michigan, it aims for transformation to improve quality, increase patient satisfaction, deliver operational efficiency, and reduce costs. Foundational to all this work is staff and physician satisfaction. There was a need for shared language to communicate critical goals in a way that allowed us to be efficient while creating a standard approach to work. To move such a large team in one coordinated direction, Corewell Health needed to engage in focused efforts in a way that was respectful to its teams and leaders.

The Operational Deployment System (ODS) was designed to help leaders clarify what is most important and align the right resources to meet the goals set.  This system, composed of best practices from individual project management and process improvement methodologies, was implemented to provide clarity, cascade goals appropriately, and help prevent employee burnout by creating a system of intentional alignment.

ODS implementation process

ODS begins with an annual goal-setting process led by the executive team and subject matter experts in the areas of cost, quality, people, and value. There is then a multi-week process of cascading these goals from the executive team through various levels of physician and operational leadership to front-line staff. Subsequent conversations called “catch-ball” follow in which each level of leadership discusses and eventually finalizes goals in each of the four categories. This process culminates with executive sign-off, confirming the roll-up of goals at each level to ultimately achieve the system goals.  These goals are captured in a document called an Operational A3 (see sample). Each level of leadership, starting at the director level, has an OA3 that outlines the annual goal in each category and provides space for monthly data updates and explanations.

The manager level of leadership does not have an OA3 but instead utilizes a reporting tool called a gate chart (see sample). Each goal has a separate gate chart featuring a leading metric (the metric that aligns with the director OA3), a lagging metric, and specific tactics and timelines for impacting performance.

Reporting and communication

Following this goal-setting process and after populating the OA3 and gate charts, weekly report-outs begin each week focused on one of the four priority areas. Report-outs take place in a virtual meeting with managers reviewing the gate chart performance with front-line staff. This is followed by managers reporting their gate chart update to directors, who then provide a similar report to Physician and Operations Vice Presidents (VPs), and so on. Each of these report-outs follows the TAPE methodology, which stands for Target (what was the goal), Actual (what is the actual performance metric), and Please Explain (what were the actions or factors that contributed to that month’s performance).

Change management

The ODS process inherently supports change management surrounding efforts to meet annual goals by engaging the front-line staff and every level of physician and operational leadership in goal setting, action plan development, and performance tracking. A key component of successful implementation is training leaders and teams in the ODS process. Training sessions for all levels of leaders included a review of the principles of ODS, the OA3 and gate chart templates, and the TAPE reporting format, and included time for discussion and questions. Implementing operational goals, management for daily improvement and cascade reporting, and communication were key areas of discussion during these training sessions.

Stakeholder experience

To gauge the stakeholder experience, VPs and Director-level physician and operational leaders were surveyed about their experience with ODS. Among the 54 respondents, 61% agreed or strongly agreed that ODS has allowed them and their upline to focus on key areas for operational success. Moreover, 69% agreed or strongly agreed that ODS effectively aligns operational tactics with system strategy.

Lessons learned and next steps

The ODS at Corewell Health initially faced challenges as leaders at all levels adjusted to this new form of tracking and presenting metrics. As the process matured, these perceived notions morphed into support, engagement, and eagerness to introduce new ideas.

Survey results indicate that the leaders perceive improved focus in key operational areas due to ODS. The system has been adopted outside of service lines as well. Hospital medical staff leadership embraces value in aligned goals and now reports on the executive dashboard. Independent physicians are looking at ways to use ODS to improve their private practice structure and function.


Implementing ODS at Corewell Health has been thought-provoking, enlightening and rewarding. Previously top-down leadership in this space has moved to shared decision-making. As ODS progresses through year three, physician and operations leaders will build on lessons learned and broaden skills to make ODS an even richer process and a model for other organizations to follow.

Partnering for sustainability: stakeholder engagement in ESG strategy


Nowadays, with mounting pressure on businesses to be accountable for their environmental and social impact, it is no longer optional but expected for them to develop and implement sustainable business strategies that play out across three key areas: Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG). This pressure comes from rising public awareness, tightening regulations, and increased expectations from customers, employees, and investors.

Stakeholder engagement plays a significant role in the successful implementation of ESG strategies. In this article, let’s explore its functions and effects on ESG strategies.  

The power of stakeholder engagement

Stakeholders are individuals, groups, or organizations that can influence or are affected by a company’s strategy from within and outside the organization. They can either drive change or resist it. Therefore, it is critical to identify stakeholders and understand their needs and expectations to ensure the ESG agenda reflects the priorities of those who matter and support the strategy’s long-term success.

Pay Governance LLC,  a firm that provides independent advice on executive compensation matters, has developed the Stakeholder Value Creation Chain model (See Figure 1) to better understand the effects of stakeholder engagement on the economic success of a business. It demonstrates how ESG strategy, the stakeholder model, and the generation of corporate value all intersect to provide various advantages for corporations. 

Engaging with stakeholders during the strategy execution phase allows companies to foster collaboration, build trust and confidence, encourage support for ESG actions, evaluate how the actions are perceived, mitigate potential risks, and improve decision-making.

To know more about ESG strategy and how it exactly boosts stakeholder engagement based on a report, read the full article in the PERFORMANCE Magazine Issue No. 25 – Sustainability Edition. You can download a free digital copy through the TKI Marketplace. Printed copies are also available on Amazon. But the price may vary depending on location.

GRI to launch new sectoral reporting standards


The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) will introduce new sustainability reporting standards focusing on the mining and textile and apparel industries as part of the GRI Sector Program. The move follows the approval by the Global Sustainability Standards Board (GSSB), the independent body responsible for GRI Standards. 

The GRI Sector Standard for Mining covers the impacts of mining organizations on environmental, social, and economic aspects. It is consistent with the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and disclosure frameworks used in the sector. Judy Kuszewski, Chair of the GSSB, told that the standard includes metrics that reflect the information required by stakeholders and emphasizes the duties of mining organizations concerning smaller entities and their involvement in the supply chain. This standard will be published in Q3 2023.

Meanwhile, the GRI Textiles and Apparel Standard aims to guide clothing, footwear, fabrics, and other textile manufacturers and retailers on sustainability reporting by setting global best practices. The GRI identified this sector as another top priority due to its adverse effects on the environment and concerns related to labor and human rights. This standard is set for release in Q1 2025.

The GRI Sector Program will produce standards for 40 sectors, prioritizing those with the highest impact on the environment. The Sector Standards “describe the sustainability context for a sector, outline organizations’ likely material topics based on the sector’s most significant impacts, and list disclosures that are relevant for the sector to report on.” For more information, visit

Learn more about sustainability reporting through our cover story featuring Eelco van der Enden, the CEO of the Global Reporting Initiative, on PERFORMANCE Magazine Issue No. 25, 2023 – Sustainability Edition. Download a free digital copy through the TKI Marketplace. Printed copies are also available through Amazon (The price may vary depending on location).


Achieving net-zero emissions while creating value for stakeholders


Achieving sustainability is challenging for businesses because it requires significant resources, stakeholder cooperation, and change throughout the supply chain. Justin Jia Kai Goh, the Director of Sustainability Services at Accenture, offers practical measures that organizations can adopt to usher in a sustainable future.

Efficiency and effectiveness in public service


Nasir Abdalla Ali Alobeidli, corporate strategy specialist at the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), sheds light on the role of strategy planning and KPI in the future of public service and how governments can provide services that ensure people’s happiness and quality of life.


  • What are the key trends that have shaped the public sector in recent years?

In general, the whole world has gone through global changes that had a significant impact on the business environment, whether in the Middle East or in the whole world. As we go through the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on business continuity, which significantly contributed to directing many organizations to apply the institutional resilience approach to ensure agility. Also, real-time measures and indicators to monitor the various developments affecting the business environment and its sustainability were used.

It can also be said that technological development has taken an accelerating curve in appearing on the ground, which has become evident through the digital transformation in government services, for example. This has also led to the emergence of various technical developments, such as virtual reality, metaverse technologies, and artificial intelligence. It’s safe to say that this change has contributed to an increase in the need to promote digital maturity at the institutional level as a whole and on the quality of life in general.

The changes in the nature of business and the start of transformation in business models have become a reality that we live in today, as most of our meetings take place online, anywhere and at any time.

Technology has not only contributed to the development of mobility systems to become more easy and efficient, but its development has led to the emergence of new modes of mobility that we have not seen before, such as flying taxis, transportation through Hyperloop. We have witnessed during the recent period a great interest in climate issues and environmental issues as a whole, which require us to be ready for what we could face in terms of the challenges or opportunity associated with it. Finally, we are in a rapidly changing world that is subject to various variables, and innovation has been and still is the biggest motive for all variables.

  • What do the public services of the future look like?

As we mentioned previously, government services are generally on technical manifestations so that they are available electronically. With its world-class resources, the UAE aims to develop proactive, interdependent, and integrated government services that prioritize people’s happiness and improve their quality of life.

I believe that we will not only stop at this point, but that we will witness a reformulate the general concept of service to be as close as possible to the best experience in government services, through the application of artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies and the provision of virtual centers through Metaverse technology to provide services and support closer to reality. 

All of this is the future. We do not know its secrets, but we are fully aware that government services will undoubtedly be proactive, flexible and technologically advanced in accordance with standards of efficiency and effectiveness.

  • What role will strategy planning and KPI usage play in this futuristic scenario?

It is very important during the current stage of the strategy and performance units to embrace the development of methodologies and tools that contribute to shaping the future. This will ensure readiness for potential risks and seize available opportunities. Organizations should build the strategic pyramid, continue implementing measurements to reach the required stage of maturity, and develop new measurement concepts and methodologies. There is a need to enhance the institutional culture in organizations around the culture of measurement to reach the required stage of maturity. 

I also see the need to develop indicators that reflect efficiency and effectiveness in performance as well as the final impact of what needs to be measured so that it provides realistic results. What we need is a KPI that will measure the final outcome to indicate the quality of life that we have reached.

Moreover, each entity should look for a pioneer indicator that really reflects its mandate and the reasons for the organization’s existence in terms of the quality of life of the society and their stakeholders.

  • How is technology impacting the performance of government entities?

Technology has actually contributed to the performance and work of the management of the strategic plan and performance monitoring as a whole through the development of digital systems and platforms that contribute to the governance of monitoring institutional performance and ensuring compliance with the requirements of periodic audits carried out by the strategy departments. 

Organizations work to enhance their technological security capabilities by developing their employees’ capabilities in order to enhance the durability and strength of the available systems and to provide high institutional maturity in proper technical handling. With this, there is a need to establish and enhance indicators that reflect the result of technical culture in organizations.


  • What are your recommended best practices in strategy planning for government agencies?

The strategy and performance departments lead the institutional transformation at the organizational level, and we may see the best entities that are unique in obtaining international corporate excellence awards, which are the product of the plans and the system of monitoring and developing performance in the organization. 

Thus, the best practices will be based on the extent to which the entities achieve compliance and achieve the standards of the system of excellence, first and foremost, and certainly achieving the future vision and the desired strategic success both factor at the level of the organization. Organizations cannot achieve an ambitious vision without a planned risk.

  • What key performance indicators should be reported for the successful delivery of public services?

Organizations must set leading indicators based on their operations and strategic plans that reflect their impact on the sector in which they operate. The required measures must consistently reflect efficiency on the activities, projects, and operations of the organization—such as measuring achievement rates—and must also include performance indicators that reflect effectiveness and achieve the desired goals. Institutions can set performance measures that reflect the achievement of goals through the OKR methodology.

  • What are the key performance management tools that any government entity should use to ensure performance improvement?
The system of measurement and performance monitoring generally requires the availability of appropriate tools that refer to the real state of its performance in general and to identify areas of success and opportunities to be worked on in the future. 

From my point of view, the entities with their various orientations require focusing on different measurement tools, including measuring the performance of projects and achieving goals at the strategic level, which is known as the strategic and operational indicators to know the level of achieving the strategic plan through key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics. In addition, it must measure the performance of its services and focus on indicators that reflect the level of maturity, flexibility, and proactivity in it, which reflects the best experience for the beneficiaries of government services as a whole. 

Institutions will also need to measure the performance of their employees through annual performance measurement systems, known as performance appraisal, which must be designed in a way that reflects strong performance and productivity along with continuous development and application of excellence as a concept and basic principle. The process should include managing the staff’s professional development plans and managing the performance of key operations and tasks in a way that reflects institutional efficiency and effectiveness

  • What are the biggest challenges that government entities face during the implementation and usage of a performance management system? Please provide your suggested solutions.

In general, the various organizations will face regular challenges related to the efficiency of the monitoring system and the effectiveness of the corrective procedures. From this, it is possible to address the difficulties, including the culture of performance, as the process of monitoring and measuring performance is an integrated process that requires the participation of all parties in the organization and knowledge of the organization’s mechanisms and models. 

In addition, we see other challenges related to the efficiency of performance governance in institutions as a whole, and herein lies the need to develop an appropriate governance system that enables individuals and organizational units to enhance performance monitoring internally and to develop and use tools and models. Organizations should focus on their growth and leadership and develop the right strategies to achieve excellence.

  • What are the crucial success factors in building performance and data-driven culture in the public sector?

Certainly, data represents an important factor and an essential input in the processes of managing and monitoring performance. Therefore, it is necessary from the outset to have an integrated governance and strategy for corporate data management in general, and this process requires clear institutional efforts that ensure accuracy and transparency along with analysis based on business intelligence.


  • Which government entities would you recommend to be observed due to their successful approach to strategy and performance management? Why?

There are many good institutions that are  good examples of measuring and monitoring performance, and here we mention the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, along with the Roads and Transport Authority in Dubai and the Ministry of Interior, as they are entities that have proven their superiority and leadership in developing performance systems and distinguishing them through leadership in national and international programs. This is what we see In the international awards it has obtained, and the General Authority of Civil Aviation is distinguished by a high-quality measurement and control system that can be relied upon as a standard reference for performance according to the government performance system.

  • What are the key competencies of a successful business leader in a government entity?

In general, the distinctive characteristics of a government’s business environment require the leader to have a clear strategic view and an ambitious vision that contributes to achieving the government vision, in addition to leadership competencies such as knowledge of the nature of work, dynamism, excellence, keenness on creativity and innovation, and continuous presentation of new things in government work.

  • What are the processes and tools you look at when differentiating a successful performance management system from a superficial one?

In my view, what distinguishes systems in general is what they reflect in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and leadership of the institution. A distinction can be made in the field of achieving the aspired goals at the level of the institution, and this, of course, depends on the level of ambition in its institutional goals.

About the Expert

Nasir Abdalla Ali Alobeidli 
  • Corporate Excellence Manager  – corporate strategy and performance, strategic planning, Auditor excellence | UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) (2016-present)
  • Quality assurance , Government Excellence model , Operation Planning , Strategy, Trainer | Sharjah Police Headquarters – Training Institutes Dept. (2009-2016 ) | Data Analyst   | Road and Transportation Authority – Dubai (2007 – 2009)
  • Executive Master of Business Administration | University of Sharjah
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Management | Ajman University of Science and Technology
  • Diploma in Business Administration | Ajman University of Science and Technology
  • Diploma in Government Performance |  Prime Minister office
  • Future Foresight Diploma  |  Prime Minister office with Melbourne University

This interview was first published in the 24th printed edition of PERFORMANCE Magazine. You can get a free digital copy from the TKI Marketplace here or purchase a print copy from Amazon for a nominal fee here.


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