People Are Priority One

John KristelIf you have ever started a new job, you know that the first 90 days are like trying to drink water from a fire hose. You receive massive amounts of information and introductions that are nearly impossible to digest. To succeed, you have to set priorities – focusing on what needs to be addressed first.

I have a definite advantage beginning my first 90 days as President & CEO at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, because the organization is already operating at a high level. I joined an organization that has a world-renowned reputation for post-acute care and near perfect customer satisfaction scores.

With Good Shepherd’s operations in fine shape, my first priority can be learning about the organization’s culture, mission and vision and meeting the people who make Good Shepherd’s successful outcomes possible – our associates, volunteers, donors, patients and residents.

While interviewing for the position, I watched the PBS special about Good Shepherd. It was spectacular to see that kind of history on film, but living it is a whole new experience. Walking the halls, I see so many associates “living the mission.” More than a century after Mama and Papa Raker founded Good Shepherd, the family name is still uttered daily. It is truly inspiring to be surrounded by a palpable sense of purpose every day.

I plan to visit all of Good Shepherd’s Lehigh Valley locations and facilities within my first 90 days. For those of you that are counting – 21 outpatient sites, 4 inpatient sites, a long-term acute care hospital, 2 long-term care homes for people with severe disabilities and an independent living facility – as well as Good Shepherd Penn Partners, our collaboration with Penn Medicine in Philadelphia.

It’s important to meet the associates, from administrators to clinicians to housekeepers, and learn first-hand about their experiences working for Good Shepherd. I also want to hear from the volunteers, patients and the residents that I meet along the way. What has their experience been like at Good Shepherd? How can we make it even better?

I also will be spending time with the Board of Trustees and senior leadership team to discuss our short- and long-term goals. In the new era of health care, we need to discover the best, most efficient and cost-effective ways to serve our community, while maintaining patient care and comfort as our first priorities.

We have amazingly generous donors and community partners that help us make the impossible possible at Good Shepherd. I plan to meet as many of our friends and supporters as possible, as well as find meaningful ways to become involved in the community.

While living in Central Pennsylvania, I sat on the Board of the Carlisle Area YMCA and Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce, and I hope to serve the Lehigh Valley non-profit community in a similar capacity. Volunteerism is a small way for me to give back to a community that gives so much to Good Shepherd.

Quite simply, my priority for the first 90 days is to put people first. It was people – staff members, volunteers, donors, patients, residents and community members – who helped Good Shepherd grow from a farmhouse to a national leader in rehabilitation, and it will be people who propel Good Shepherd forward.

For more information on Good Shepherd's programs and services, call 1-888-44-REHAB (73422) or contact us.

Follow John on Twitter - @GoodShepherdCEO.

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