Southern Cross Health Care Group, is the largest non-public healthcare organisation in New Zealand. The Group operates on ‘not for profit’ principles and includes a number of independent, health-oriented businesses including health insurance, private hospitals and healthcare and travel and pet insurance.
The focus of the Masterbrand project was essentially to develop a strategy that enabled Southern Cross to compete in a category of one. Although the public see Southern Cross as one organisation with different ‘arms’, in fact the businesses were relatively siloed. There was an obvious opportunity to bring the businesses together to create a unique offering that no single competitor could match, but there were significant limitations on what form this could take, and so an unusual degree of complexity to working out what this could look like.
The project centred around first working with the CEOs and the Boards to agree a core Purpose for the Group that all the businesses could sign up to, and then working through a process of developing strategy to bring this to life through the businesses and their individual activities.
The success of the project lay in being able to really listen and understand different points of view and the complexity that existed whilst at the same time, keeping everyone focussed on the shared opportunity. My main learning was that fostering real collaboration means being able to articulate what the benefits are to each party involved but more importantly, recognising and dealing with the real cultural and structural barriers that exist.