Client Story: Aetna 2 2018-11-08T16:01:15-05:00
An Executive Team Commits to Change
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Aetna is an American managed health care company, which sells traditional and consumer directed health care insurance plans and related services.

  • US $60 Billion in revenues

  • 45,000 employees

  • Serving 20+ million members

The Challenge

Aetna had just experienced major market adjustments, so it installed a new executive team with a mandate to stop the bleeding and regain industry leadership. The first order of business for Aetna’s new CEO and COO was ensuring that its newly composed executive team was thoroughly integrated and aligned around the company’s new strategy. Considering the circumstances, execution of the strategy was going to be extremely difficult, and any dissonance within the executive team would be magnified across the organization and create even more problems.

The Approach

Applied Learning partnered with the COO to design and facilitate a series of workshops over a period of several weeks.  Executive team members participated in multiple facilitated workshops to:

  • Share the wealth of health care industry knowledge that they each had

  • Question their underlying assumptions about the business

  • Base their decisions on marketplace facts and hard data

  • Uncover any areas of misunderstanding and acknowledge the need for further reconciliation

All of these were instrumental for the executive team as it collaborated and eventually agreed upon commitment to strategic levers, which included:

  • How to close the gap between what constituents wanted and what Aetna delivered

  • How to best enable managers and front line employees to more positively influence the financial outcomes of the business

  • How to equip managers to effectively execute the strategy and build emotional commitment among front-line employees to the strategy.

The Result

After the project, the COO and several executive team members said that the workshops and the resulting employee engagement tools were extremely effective. According to Aetna’s Chief Operating Officer, “The leadership alignment process was incredibly valuable to the coming together of our new strategy.”

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