Next week, nearly 170 state and district leaders of the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) will gather in Atlanta to discuss how the department can go from a good organization to a great one. The mega meeting, as organizers call it, will be the latest step in a multi-phase process of transformation for DPH.
For the past two years, the executive leadership team, district health directors and other DPH leaders have been focused on transforming the organization from good to great. The goal of this meeting, said Carole Jakeway, DPH’s district and county operations director, is to get more of the department’s key leaders committed to the transformation.
“We can become a great organization. It’s within our power. What’s going to determine our level of success is how much everyone buys into it and helps to make it work in their own setting,” she said.
After DPH transitioned into a standalone department in 2011, DPH Commissioner Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., wanted to focus on transforming the department into one with increased efficiency and quality. So DPH began applying concepts from “Good to Great,” a book by author Jim Collins on the characteristics that let some organizations shine while others maintain the status quo. Based on the Good to Great framework, DPH leaders outlined the department’s core values – informing the public, preventing disease and protecting health – and made plans to begin creating a culture of disciplined people, disciplined thought and disciplined action at DPH.
Attendees at the mega meeting will hear about the progress made so far in the Good to Great framework and think about how to take those concepts to a wider DPH audience.
“We want to introduce these ideas and engage people on an individual level,” Jakeway said. “We want people to think about how they as individuals can apply those concepts wherever they work in public health.”
In 2015, the department will host a second mega meeting where attendees can report on the progress they’ve made and lessons learned in applying the Good to Great framework to their roles in public health. The goal is to instill greatness that will last at DPH.
“This is another exciting step as we journey together to rise from a statewide organization that is good – very good, in fact – to an organization that is truly great and ready to meet the public health challenges of the future,” said Fitzgerald.