Spent several hours with the new and graduating scholars of the Southeast Public Health Leadership Institute on Monday-- a group that included many graduates of the Management Academy on both sides of the room!

While I was there I talked to one health director who is preparing his management team to write a business plan on access to care in their county. He's very concerned about the rise in emergency room use.

The issue is complicated by the fact that his county has two mid-size towns in it, separated by 9 miles, and each with their own hospital. The two hospitals are both part of bigger networks of hospitals, and those two networks (Baptist and Novant) are battling with each other for market share in many different counties around the Winston-Salem market.

I got goosebumps hearing what this leader was going to ask his staff to do. They are going to try to build a strategic alliance for their community that would result in a win-win-win-win situation: a plan to create better, more sensible primary and urgent care in two adjacent communities, and reduce emergency visits simultaneously for two competitors!

Would love to hear your comments and suggestions for this team.

My reason for sharing the story was to inspire you. David Altman of the Center for Creative Leadership said at the conference that everybody should have a BHAG: that's certainly the point of a leadership development program. What is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal?

--Steve Orton