It is no secret that we believe the key to our long-term business success at Infinity Rehab is to focus on developing our people. The key to accomplishing that goal, however, is more complicated than simply stating our intent. This is where our vision statement comes in. As Mike introduced in the Insider last month, our newly-developed vision provides the guidelines for our path.
Today, I would like to propose to you a set of directions to lead us all down this path together.  Your awareness of the plan and your buy-in to participating are critical in reaching our vision.  My hope is that by introducing you to our plan – the 2017 People Charter – and the strategy behind it, you will believe that we can indeed make our vision a reality through the focused development of everyone who works at Infinity.
Our Vision StatementInfinity Rehab will lead a post-acute care revolution by relentlessly pursuing unparalleled quality, value, and patient, customer, and employee experience.  We will create an irresistible culture that inspires individuals to grow as leaders, clinicians, and innovators.
Bold, isn’t it?  There are so many words I love in this statement, including relentless, unparalleled, irresistible, and revolution just to name a few.  Which leads us to the “how” – how do we create this new environment?
For those of you who have participated in recent regional leader meetings as a DOR, OPCD or ARD, or if you are familiar with the Insider, you will know that our President is a big fan of systems thinking.  Systems thinking is the concept of using models of consistent practice to create a predictable outcome.
For instance, one practice example of a system you are familiar with is inside an automobile.  Think about all the moving parts under the hood of a car.  Pop open the hood while your vehicle is running and you will see a motor turning cranks, running belts, firing pumps, charging your battery to create electricity, etc.  It is a complicated combination of various actions that all depend on each other to create a single result: to get your car running.  In the case that one part fails – say, a timing belt snaps – the whole system shuts down.  This is exactly why good systems are so hard to create: because even one piece of the system not doing its share of the work can bring the whole engine to a standstill.
The same types of systems exist within businesses, except inside an organization like Infinity the belts and cranks are replaced by meetings, departments, policies and procedures.  The relationships among all these components and others (insurers, patients, clinicians, etc.) create the system we know as “health care.”
Just like running an engine, creating a good health care system requires ongoing care.  Sometimes that care consists of regular maintenance, and other times the care needed involves upgrading major components.  This is where our President’s fascination with strong systems comes into play.  Back in 2015, Mike introduced Infinity to the work of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).  Keeping with the analogy above, IHI is in the business of helping health care organizations upgrade their major components.  Using IHI tools like charters, AIM statements, and PDSAs, Mike believed that Infinity could make systematic updates to analyze and then improve our company practices to produce better patient outcomes.  He presented his thoughts and others agreed, and we have since started to utilize many of these tools and improvement processes in our work at Infinity.
Fast forward to today:  We are quickly coming to the end of the year, and like all innovative companies we are making plans for the year to come.  Working with Holly Winick (HR) and Cindy Lech (Recruiting) among others, together we have created a plan for our “people initiatives” called the 2017 People Charter.
The aim that guides the 2017 People Charter is our desire to become the employer of choice in post-acute care rehab by developing our workforce at Infinity Rehab to be the strongest group of clinicians, managers, and leaders delivering the best patient outcomes found anywhere in the industry.
We recognize that to reach this aim we must clearly identify and support the development of a core set of essential behaviors that, when demonstrated consistently by our clinicians across the company, will create an environment consistent with the IHI Triple Aim1 (improve the patient experience of care, including quality and satisfaction; improve the health of populations; reduce the per capita cost of health care).
Modeled after the IHI High-Impact Leadership Framework2, we plan to support the development of our clinicians, managers, and leaders in three primary focus areas to create the culture necessary to reach our vision.
Our Three Focus Areas for Employee Development in 2017

  • Develop Clinical Capability
  • Deliver Management Results
  • Demonstrate Leadership Behavior

Each of these three areas have their own strategies and measures for success that will help us know if we are making the progress we work to accomplish.  Some of these strategies are already familiar to you, i.e. our current work to revamp our Clinical Ladder, our Director of Rehab-in-training (DORit) program and our Leadership Academy will be used to deliver results in these areas.  Other strategies will be new ones, aimed at filling in the gaps between where we are now and where we need to be.  You will learn more about these strategies as we enter 2017.  For now, I will summarize the four main goals guiding our employee development efforts in 2017:
Our Four Overarching 2017 People Charter Goals
Develop Clinical Capability

  • Establish and implement a clear set of clinical practice behaviors that help to identify and develop strong clinicians all throughout the organization. (Read: revamped Clinical Ladder program)

Deliver Management Results

  • Further advance our 2016 progress to integrate Ultipro into the day-to-day life of all Infinity Rehab employees, with a special focus on regular use by clinicians and managers to track performance and development.

Demonstrate Leadership Behavior

  • Conduct a baseline assessment of our company’s overall talent maturity, with detailed targets and tactics to address identified deficits. (Managers will remember this from the 2016 Regional DOR/OPCD meetings)
  • Fully engrain the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership into company culture and language, making our Leadership Academy accessible and meaningful to all employees.

I love our new vision statement.  I hope that as you see it and hear it more and more that you will too.  Beyond that though, I hope that you come to believe like I do that reaching our vision is truly possible.  We have a plan and an approach to making this happen.  We will need everyone’s help, but it can be done.  I look forward to working together with you on our 2017 People Charter goals as we prove that our bold vision can indeed be attained through our people.
WATCH NOW: Conversation about Infinity Rehab’s Vision

Derek Fenwick

Derek Fenwick

Derek Fenwick, PT, MBA, GCS is a physical therapist and board-certified geriatric clinical specialist. He develops leaders in healthcare as the Director of Professional Development at Infinity Rehab. Find him on LinkedIn and on Twitter @DerekFenwickPT.


1 The IHI Triple Aim. (n.d.). Retrieved October 27, 2016, from https://www.ihi.org/engage/initiatives/TripleAim/Pages/default.aspx
2 Swensen S, Pugh M, McMullan C, Kabcenell A. High-Impact Leadership: Improve Care, Improve the Health of Populations, and Reduce Costs. IHI White Paper. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Institute for Healthcare Improvement; 2013. (Available at ihi.org)

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