Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) – business and communication strategy

Strategy consulting: Integrated business and communication strategy for the Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA)

Understanding the legalities and complexities of the public sector, as well as the dynamics and issues that surround the private healthcare space in South Africa, are instrumental to the effective compilation of a fully integrated business and communication strategy for an institution, such as HASA.

Client profile

The Hospital Association of South Africa (HASA) is a non-profit organisation that solely exists to further the interests of its member hospitals, who consist of more than 90% of private hospitals in South Africa. To this end, HASA involves itself with national and provincial forums of the Department of Health, as well as their related committees and staff.

The challenge at hand

Due to fundamental changes in areas that influence the private health care industry in South Africa, HASA had to re-align the organisation to meet the demands of its changing landscape. Stone was appointed in August 2010 to develop a business and communication strategy to effectively address crucial issues and determine the way forward. The key focus of the strategy project was to agree and/or confirm the purpose, nature, direction and fundamental drivers of the organisation and set the scene for constructive communication at the highest public and corporate advocacy engagement levels in private healthcare.

Stone’s approach to meeting the need

Willem Eksteen, CEO of Stone led a two-day workshop and purposefully facilitated a productive discussion for the HASA board of directors to achieve their strategic objectives. The group flagged points for further discussion and follow-up by the board and task groups. They discussed at length the structure to deliver the strategic imperatives, which pertained to the role of the board, as well as the operational structure of the executive. They also reviewed the structure against the strategic imperatives and recommendations that followed from the discussions. A great advantage was Stone’s insight and working knowledge of the dynamics and issues that existed in the healthcare space, due to work done for other clients in this space, such as Mediclinic Southern Africa. Another key element in HASA’s strategy development process was a detailed stakeholder mapping. This process is well rooted in the Stone Pebble Ring Thinking© methodology and always places the business objectives at the centre. In addition, it was extremely important to understand how to effect change in such a highly regulated environment.

Areas that resulted in recommendations, agreement and/or articulation included:
  • Purpose and nature of HASA
  • Agreed values that guide HASA and the conduct of its members
  • A way forward to move from the current state to an ideal future state – engagement approach of HASA
  • The way in which HASA makes decisions and how to act at times of difference in opinion
  • Focus areas and an agreement on the best way to guide these focus areas
  • An optimal structure to deliver the agreed strategy and services of HASA
Results achieved and value added for HASA

Stone developed a robust, fully-integrated business and communication strategy. It clearly defined the organisation’s value proposition, its mission, vision and values and outlined how HASA and the private healthcare sector could add value for South Africa as a whole. All the HASA board members unanimously bought into the strategy, which provided a blueprint for the way forward. This plan not only advised on the communication tools required, but also provided direction on the structure and operational resources required to achieve the organisation’s business objectives. The key pillars of HASA’s role – leading, representing and serving its members in the interest of South Africa – became the golden thread of all activity undertaken by HASA.

“The Association commissioned the services of Mr Eksteen of Stone to assist with the facilitation of a strategic meeting of the board of directors, for the purpose of developing a new scope, vision and strategic programme. This was not an easy task, considering the complexity of the private healthcare within the Republic, and consequently required a person who was prepared to do the necessary research and investigation into such, prior to facilitating such a strategic meeting.

Our board found Mr Eksteen to be both knowledgeable and prepared, and his facilitation was of a high quality and character. It was self-evident that he had done the necessary research, and had gone beyond the call of duty in preparing himself. As a consequence, his recommendations were well-received, and the session was well-managed, despite some difficult self-assessments.

In addition, Mr Eksteen has remained in contact with me, and has attempted where possible to support HASA in the implementation of the strategy. His media skills and ability to measure public responses has seen him well-placed to assist us during a time of transition, and for that we have benefited greatly.” – Adv. K Worrall-Clare, CEO of HAS