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INTRODUCTION

Greatness is so often a courteous synonym for great success.

 —PHILIP GUEDALLA

 

Imagine having to run a successful business that requires the innovation of Apple, the commitment to safety of NASA, and the customer service of Ritz-Carlton. Furthermore, imagine that your mandate demands that you be a world-class educator, your work product holds life and death in the balance, and you are responsible for discoveries that shape the future of medicine. But wait; there's more! You have to achieve your complex mission in a highly political, cost-competitive industry. From imagination to reality, you are about to dive deeply into the challenges and leadership lessons of UCLA Health System!

While a book about a premier medical research and training center is obviously relevant for anyone who is in healthcare, its appropriateness for other industries might not be readily apparent. In fact, you may be asking: what does UCLA Health System, a leader in a complicated and often maligned sector of our economy, have to offer me if my business is banking, retail, hospitality, or something else? The short, albeit incomplete, answer is how to

  • Catapult your business to preeminence at an unusually rapid pace.

  • Transform the satisfaction and engagement of your customers through a service-centric approach.

  • Achieve meteoric profitability during economic downturns—despite aggressive competition.

  • Achieve decades of recognition as a quality and safety leader.

  • Create revolutionary improvement in your employee engagement and empowerment.

  • Redesign, elevate, and humanize your customer experience.

Despite having a background working as an organizational development specialist, when UCLA approached me to write this book I was initially skeptical about whether UCLA Health System would be the "right" source for business lessons. (Of course, my cynicism may have been amplified by my not having been accepted by UCLA's graduate school years ago, and instead having attended its crosstown rival USC.)

For me, an author of books about businesses that provide great customer and employee experiences, such as the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Starbucks Coffee and Tea Company, and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, UCLA Health System seemed an unlikely subject for a book. Suffice it to say that my experiences with the UCLA leadership convinced me that these lessons needed to be told. In fact, the profits from this book will be donated to Operation Mend (more on this program in Chapter 11) in support of UCLA Health System's overall mission.

Are you ready to learn from one of America's top healthcare systems, owned by 30 million citizens of California, with 4 hospitals; more than 75 clinics; in excess of 80,000 inpatient hospital contacts; 1,000,000 clinic visits annually; 1,500 physicians; 1,500 residents and fellows; 3,500 nurses, therapists, technologists, and support personnel; 1,000 volunteers; 120 physicians cited in the "Best Doctors in America" poll; and a world-renowned medical school that is among the ...

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