Bridging the communications divide for Sanford-MeritCare
When two organizations with different cultures come together, what do you do? In the case of Sanford Health and MeritCare, the answer came in a phone call to Padilla’s healthcare practice.
These two health systems – based in Sioux Falls and Fargo, respectively – saw a number of operational advantages to combining operations that would also benefit their patients, staff and communities. But when it came to communicating those advantages, each organization had a different style, approach, and process to reaching their constituents. Padilla was brought in to help find the middle ground between the disparate styles and build consensus on a combined approach that both organizations could use that respected the values and beliefs of each organization.
The end product was a detailed communications plan, borne out of several strategy sessions with the communications and senior executive teams from each organization. With detailed timelines and point-by-point messages for every medium used, the communications map helped the two organizations launch a successful joining of systems, even when news of the potential combination leaked earlier than planned.