Episode: 301 |
Jim Peters:
Leadership in the Pandemic:


Jim Peters

Leadership in the Pandemic

Show Notes

Jim Peters is the Chief Operating Officer at Rite Aid, which is number 150 on the Fortune 500, with $21.7 billion in revenue in 2019.

For the three years prior to joining Rite Aid, Jim ran his own boutique consulting firm serving healthcare and life sciences companies.

In this episode, Jim discusses the steps Rite Aid has taken during the coronavirus epidemic to keep its employees and customers safe.

Jim also covers the innovation initiatives Rite Aid has underway, including steps to help pharmacists operate at the top of their license.

For more on Rite Aid, download the 2020 Investor Day presentation.

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

Will Bachman 00:01
Hello and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional Unleashed is produced by Umbrex, which connects you with the world’s top independent management consultants. I’m your host Will Bachman and I’m here today with Jim Peters, who is the Chief Operating Officer at Rite Aid. Jim, welcome to the show. Thank you. Well, great to be here. Well, Jim, there is so much to talk about. I’m hoping to on today’s show, we can talk about the coronavirus pandemic and getting into how Rite Aid has been protecting your employees and your customers. And also talk about a lot of the innovations that you’ve been working to implement at Rite Aid, including telemedicine and helping a pharmacist operate at the top of their license and other initiatives. But first, let’s talk about the pandemic. Could you tell me a bit about what Rite Aid has been doing in response to protect your employees keep them safe as well as customers? Of course, again, thanks for having me. Well, this is a real pleasure to be here. I’ve certainly been aware of Umbrex in your work for some time and delighted to be a part of this today.

Jim Peters 01:11
Look, COVID-19 has certainly created some wild unprecedented challenges for community pharmacy and frankly, the broader healthcare system. And you know, we’ve had a we’ve had a really balanced the need to continue meeting the needs of patients and customers while while we continue to, you know, kind of ramp up all of our efforts around Coronavirus testing and frankly deploying our strategy that we that we unveiled in March at our first analyst day in 20 or so years, you know, as far as keeping our input our associates and our customers safe. That has been obviously first and foremost priority for us. And it’s been a challenge since day one. But the challenge that we’ve been up to so, you know, we’ve doubled down on cleanliness, as you might expect, we’ve got daily cleaning crews and in all of our stores and certainly hotspot locations across the country. Our associates have been trained and responsible for cleaning our retail pharmacies themselves. That that includes surfaces, registers, checkout areas, keypads, bathrooms, pharmacies, you know, anything that you might imagine needs to be, you know, 100% clean, we’re really going above and beyond to, to ensure that that’s that that’s the case, and certainly, you know, taking care of our customers and Associates, we’ve got to go above and beyond to do this. So from an associate standpoint, we’ve sent free health kits to every single one of them to ensure that they had adequate supplies. Early on in the covid 19 pandemic, when supplies were scarce. We’ve compensated our associates for time off due to quarantine or illness. In addition to our regular policies offering time off and sick pay, we actually established specific guidelines relative to COVID-19, including a pandemic pay policy, for those confirmed with or exposed to the virus. And so while we’re taking every step to keep our stores operating, we’re certainly also being as flexible as possible with them. With our associates in particular, who are unable to come to work by adding extra administrative leave options.We have created a $5 million contribution to support the you know, not only the nation’s health care providers and first responders that are not directly tied to Rite Aid, but also children, families, communities impacted by the outbreak. And, you know, bringing it closer to home part of that $5 million is really to support our own associates who are in special need the subset that are in special need, as they continue to validate the battle, the covid 19 pandemic. So this is it’s been an effort will that we’ve had to really double down our efforts not only in our retail pharmacies, but if you think about Rite Aid, you know, we’ve got a central central fill facility, we have mail order pharmacy, we have multiple distribution centers. So it’s a more complicated network of physical modalities than maybe the average consumer might think about when they think of Rite Aid. We’ve really been, you know, pre separating in many ways about making sure that every single option to care for our associates we’ve done on the consumer side, our customers, we have really done things to protect them that actually, you know, to some degree, serendipitously, we’re just accelerated versions of plans to support them better in the future, even absent COVID-19 so maybe Making our brand of Rite Aid accessible to them in ways that isn’t limited by the physical in store within the four walls interactions that historically have defined retail, you know, what we believe is that we need to provide access to Rite Aid, whether it’s through the traditional retail store, whether it’s through online, whether it’s through bulk, best buy online, pick up in store, curbside delivery, offering an enhanced set of services and products through our drive thru. And now more recently, over the past couple months, be being one of the earliest adopters of the first wave of large retailers to stand hand in hand with health and human services to stand up testing sites across our country, to test for COVID-19 and keep our community safe. So it’s really been an all hands on deck. No formula for a recipe for success. But you know, so far is I pause for a moment and look back on never perfectly satisfied. I’m certainly of the belief that we’ve done everything we could have, and will continue to do so to protect the safety and well being of our customers, our associates and our communities.

Will Bachman 06:15
Could you talk a little bit about how the plan came together? So there’s a lot of elements of what you just went through in terms of compensation for for your associates, putting up plexiglass, you know, chain, you know, implementing some telehealth. And then was there a kind of Central team of three or four people making decisions? Or did you make, you know, delegate decisions, so different levels of authority had different scopes to make decisions is how organizationally I’m curious, in terms of responding to a crisis like this did, the decisions get made and then passed down?

Jim Peters 06:56
The way that we did this is first we structured a COVID-19 taskforce. And that was comprised of operating and pharmacy folks from all facets of our business. It included the six key support functions, including human resources, but included, you know, the entire everyone from our chief medical officer to our chief pharmacy officer to our head of excuse me, to our head of operations or retail store operations, to the head of our distribution centers to to ensure that we had a, a sufficiently broad view of what we needed to protect and how we needed to respond, or at least the areas in which we needed a response that was a daily 7am and continues to be a daily 7am phone call that that is that it really included all of those key components of our business, as represented by those kind of leaders for those particular segments. The discussions were always led by number one, an assessment of what is out there, because again, you know, although COVID-19 rattles off our tongue today, you know, I think back to late February, early March, it was still very much of an unknown, and certainly far more of an unknown than than it is even today. And so it was really about what’s out there, what’s happening. What should we be doing? What are others doing? What’s our position, and really, you know, I have to say, we’ll being being the size of Rite Aid, which is kind of a nice sweet spot to be, look, we’re the smallest of three national chain drugstores, we have 50 plus 1000 employees, we have about 2500 to shy of 2500 retail locations, or about $22 billion in revenue, about a third of that revenue is from our PBM business. So all we’re we’re small enough certainly relative to others in the industry to be to use nimbleness as a key as a key differentiator and we’re big enough to be credible, where the work we do is actually can have substantial impact when you look across the country. And so I think that sweet spot allowed us to, you know, immediately pivot to having these 7am phone calls. And more importantly, frankly, following each of those phone calls, have a very clear action plan for the day literally for the day to be able to knock down the bowling pins for that day. And you know, we I have to give tremendous credit to our people who not only lead those tasks for participated in that task force and continue to do so but but then lead their teams to operationalize what came out of them. It’s really been a Herculean effort for the past several months and it’s been pretty awesome inspiring to see that changes. Not only number one happened, but happen with the degree of facility and efficiency that they have.

Will Bachman 10:04
You mentioned setting up testing sites for COVID-19. You certainly we read a lot about that in the news. But what behind the scenes what’s actually required to set up a testing site just operationally, how does it work behind the scenes? And and what did it take to get those set up at your stores?

Jim Peters 10:22
Well, the first thing will is to acknowledge that there is no recipe for what a testing site is, or even should look like. We along with our peers in the national chain, drug, space, Walgreens, CVS, even Walmart, early on, we all stood as a community ready to use our pharmacists, to the best extent we could to support testing efforts. And from from my perspective, when we first started, it was a very much of an unknown what a testing site would look like. And when we first started, we committed to a certain number or up to a certain number of testing sites. But acknowledged early on that we would we’re a pioneer in testing, right. And so what we we do coming out of the gate, that our first or second or third testing sites would not be ultimately the scalable version of the testing site, we had to start somewhere. So the way we as a community started, and certainly we at Rite Aid, we had one testing site in Philadelphia, that was a drive up to a essentially, a parking lot can’t undergo a nasal pharyngeal swab, which is among a it’s not only highly accurate, but it also happens to be among the most invasive of, of swabs that one could take. And, and we realized shortly thereafter, that, you know, that model was not scalable, it required far too much PP, which was in short, supply, far more supplies than we could get our hands on collectively as a community, it required a level of human intervention. That was not as sustainable as as, as we as we would needed to event. And so the benefit of us being kind of it, the first adopter, or among the first adopters with that handful of first adopters was that we early on, were able to kind of rapidly see what was working and what wasn’t, and then make recommendations in tandem with the government and HHS to to kind of develop a second type of testing. And that second type of testing, we built 25 locations which were characterized by also in the parking lot testing that was delivered through a series of tents that were drive thru 10. So meaning the customer now would drive up to the first tent to confirm registration, which was done online with our partners from from Verily, and then move out, drive up after confirmation of registration to a second 10th to keep the lines flowing, where where a swab was taken this time, a nasal swab. And, and with that process with that pre registration with the process of moving through to multiple tests, we found that that, you know, we were able to deliver more tests and less time in ways that were less invasive and more consumer friendly to the people actually taking those tests. That led us to a third round of testing. So we learn from that and learn that, you know, we can boil and distill this down now to a more efficient process that leverages our drive through windows, our existing drive thru pharmacy windows that we have at at, you know, half of our stores throughout the country. And we now have that model down to a point where we’re able to go from 25 to over 70 sites. Again, leveraging a much more efficient model where now a consumer only has to drive up to our regular drive thru window, our PP protected pharmacist will hand them a you know, pre packaged swap kit for testing, the consumer is able to swab themselves, put it back into the kit, handed back over to us in a sealed package, and we then take care of shipping it to our laboratory that is become, you know, kind of the current best model for testing. And, you know, look, we’re always looking for ways will to become more efficient. Because in order for us to, to deliver the amount of testing that frankly needs to take place in this country, we’re going to need to continuously refine the way in which we do testing and ensure that it’s offered in the most efficient way at the lowest cost with the highest utility for our consumers. And that’s kind of the path that we’ve been on since they want

Will Bachman 14:59
Let’s pull back a little bit now from the coronavirus pandemic and talk about your the broader healthcare strategy at Rite Aid. And you mentioned earlier that some of these initiatives have been accelerated. I’m really curious to hear about that. Could you give us the overview, I know that one big element is helping pharmacists operate at the top of their license to unlock the value there. Maybe we maybe we could start there?

Jim Peters 15:28
Sure, yes, as you as you referenced, we, we have what we call three key strategic pillars that characterize the new Rite Aid strategy. And it’s probably worthwhile to pause and just acknowledge that when I joined rite aid in October of 19, and frankly, when Hey, we’re done again, our CEO joined just a month and a half or so prior to that, we both joined with eyes wide open that we were walking into a turnaround opportunity. So Rite Aid, first and foremost, was in need of a turnaround. And, you know, we are actively amidst executing on that turnaround plan with results that early on had been, had been very promising. We also knew that, you know, not only did we need to focus on short term turnaround, execution measures, but we also needed to provide a way for Rite Aid itself to thrive for the longer term. And, you know, truthfully, the strategic plan for Rite Aid before us getting here had largely been to sell to an acquire. And we we really spent the first several months of us being here Hayward myself developing a new strategy that sees us, number one, becoming the dominant mid market PBM through our envision RX PBM business, which is soon to be renamed elixir. Number two, as you mentioned, unlocking the value of our pharmacists and having them worked at the top of their license, and frankly, even push the boundaries, through policy influencing of what that you know, the boundary of their license ought to be. And number three, renewing our entire omni channel experience characterized by a much more pronounced capability in our digital. So those are really the three strategic pillars. Based on your question, perhaps I ought to go first into unlocking the value of our pharmacists. Does that make sense? Right. And, you know, one couple things, I thought that I thought were interesting were in the investor presentation, how currently pharmacists spend about 80% of their time, hidden away. And only 20% interacting with consumers. And you’re looking to flip that, through work, changes in workflow and changes in systems would love it, maybe just, you know, for me explaining a little bit about what pharmacists are typically doing day to day now. And what are they actually qualified and certified and allowed to do that? That a lot of cases, maybe you’re looking to allow them to, you know, operate at that top of the license? Sure. Well, it’s interesting. So I’d love to address that. And it’s interesting that your mind went right to, I think, where most of our minds tend to go to when we think about folks not operating to the top of their license, we think about what procedures, you know, or in our case, vaccinations, testing diagnostics, Canada, you know, treatment, what can Can’t they do for more of a political, you know, kind of perspective, but there’s a whole element of part of their license, you know, we like to think of one of the implied most important things that, again, is an implied obligation, frankly, a pharmacist added to be able to work to the top of their license is to spend the requisite time and develop the requisite relationships with their customers. So speaking to people either I face to face eye to eye, understanding them not only as consumers, but also as patients and also as community members. That is something that suffering today as is, as is what I think is probably a more strict view of what pharmacists can do by today’s licensure standards that I think maybe will be in the future. So I’ll kind of break those out and address them both. On the on the first side, I’ll spend a little time based on where your head was, I think at first, which is what can they do today? Well, that really varies by state will. There are state requirements that, that limit or expand what the license rights allow a pharmacist to do state by state, and so we have some states where we have fairly broad ability through our pharmacists to do a variety of that vaccinations that go beyond, you know, kind of flu, and shingles, and NMR. So we have a number of states that allow us to go beyond that into other types of testing and diagnostics that you don’t see in other states. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag. So any retail chain drug company like ours, will have a heat map of each of the states and what you can and can’t do within those states and the various policy, you know, status within the, you know, what we know we can do everywhere is really be effective communicators, with individuals who frankly are, you know, frankly, suffering from access issues within the broader healthcare landscape. So I’m a healthcare guy, as you may or may not know, I came with 20 some years of experience in healthcare Integrated Health System, I came from Geisinger most recently, before starting skyward. And, you know, I know that two things challenge people’s outcomes, right and health care value, if you consider value as a function of quality over cost. One of those things is access. In many, many places, it takes far too long for people to be able to get to see their doctor. And when they do get to see them, it’s often a visit that is, you know, measured in minutes, often 10 minutes, 15 minutes max. And so people often don’t get the appropriate level of access, even if they don’t live in what they call a healthcare desert, where the, you know, literally, the providers just don’t exist. So that’s, that’s important to acknowledge access. Another issue is trust. folks have become increasingly, folks, let me say it a different way, folks, very much trust pharmacists, who, by the way, are among the most accessible clinicians in the lives of a person, whether that person is a member of a health plan, which is the same person that is a patient of a provider, a doctor, who happens to be our consumer, these people walk into a rite aid store, or walk through our virtual front door of our ecommerce app or platform, you know, upwards of 30 times a year, in many cases, that that is about 10 times the amount of of interaction points that they tend to have with their doctors. And so for us, how do we as pharmacists leverage both the easy access that that retail pharmacy provides, as well as that trust, which by the way, you might find interesting? Well, pharmacists and nurses tend to be neck and neck, depending on what you know what surveys you may look at, as the most trusted clinicians within all of health care. So you think about all the types of clinicians including doctors, and nurses and pharmacists tend to have over a 90% Trust rating among people. And so for Rite Aid, we are just in a very powerful position to be able to be the important part of the retail stakeholder, sorry, the healthcare stakeholder chain, to partner and impact outcomes in ways that can not only help consumers, but help the health plans that actually finance the care and the providers that are working their tails off to deliver the best care and outcomes they possibly can.

Will Bachman 23:29
Yeah, you know, Jim, I think a lot of people don’t really use their pharmacists to the maximum extent possible. And I only learned this, I did a project about 15 years ago, when I was still at McKinsey for a major pharmacy retail chain, where one of the goals was to get pharmacists spending more time doing consults with patients, and we we put some operational things in effect. And as a result of that, I mean, I mean, I was reasonably well educated, you know, college, NBA, etc. I didn’t really even know that I should be asking this. So ever since I personally, when I go and pick up some new, you know, prescription will ask for a console and like, What is this for? How do I take it when there’s anything I shouldn’t take it with? And what side effects should I expect? And the pharmacists are always happy to do it. But it’s I think of small number of people even know that they should ask for that console. And it sounds like you’re taking some steps to make sure that pharmacists are proactive and you know, delivering that advice, which some cases you don’t know don’t take this with grapefruit juice Who would have known? Right, right.

Jim Peters 24:39
Right. No, it’s a great point. Well, and actually that gets to the second part of your, your prior question, which is, so how do you make that happen? We can’t simply ask pharmacists to spend a lot more time with individuals and the reason is because right now pharmacists tend to you know, only spend if they’re full In many ways based on existing process, to spend about 80% of their time, behind the counter, not interacting with customers filling pill bottles, I mean, essentially, that is a large part, unfortunately, of what these highly skilled, highly trained, credentialed, licensed clinicians are doing a lot of their time, most of their time 80% of their time is spent filling pill bottles. And there are a whole host of reasons why. And, you know, truthfully, one of the most eye opening experiences I’ve had early on my first couple months here was was when we analyzed the, we really conducted a deep analysis using lean methodology to understand and tease out the why the bad and the why for us is largely bad, frankly, due to a very inefficient process, to really maintain really skilled pharmacy technicians who are every bit as qualified to do you know, to fill the pill bottle so to speak. But But frankly, given turnover, historical turnover, you know, it just, you know, our pharmacist reverted to human nature, which is given the high turnover of pharmacy techs, which is not a rite aid challenge, that’s an industry challenge. Given that challenge, our pharmacists, instead of retraining the third, you know, pharmacy tech, within two years, they historically just began doing the work themselves, right, you can understand human nature, you know, once you try something a few times and to the best of your ability, and it just fails, you tend to take on the work yourself. And so that work of filling fill bottles is more a function of us being inefficient as an industry and hoisting up and raising, not only the pharmacist value add, but the value add of the pharmacy tech, to be able to work to the top of his or her license, right and to do so in a way that rewards those tax. So that, you know, they enjoy the job, they come to the job and they stick with the job for a period of time that that they just historically have not. So for us what lean has been lean has been I’ve really only to my knowledge, large chain drugstore that is used lean as a way to tease out the opportunity to really emancipate our pharmacists from that work. And and then reversing that at 20 to 2080. So that now 80% of their time can be focused on essentially what they went to school for and what they became a pharmacist for and what they took an oath for, which is to work with people and help people achieve optimal holding health. And our case, which is a combination of not only prescriptions, but also introducing them to therapies and an options that go well beyond the pill. So for us, it wasn’t a matter of hiring more pharmacists, as much as it is ensuring that the processes of going back and filling bills and filling prescriptions can then you know, be handled by the right folks that are that are trained to do that. And so pharmacists can then be emancipated, as I said earlier to not only work on the quality assurance aspect of pharmacy, but also that human interaction and connecting with people that that are in the communities that we serve. And that already has begun to show tremendous dividends not only in terms of impact we have on people’s care, but also, you know, frankly, the quality of of life and Associates satisfaction both on the pharmacy side as well. On the farm tech side, can you share some of the changes that you have? you’re implementing, you know, using lean to reduce time to time on task by the by the pharmacist? Sure, I can certainly give a high level view of that. At a high level, one of the things that we are doing is, is really honing in on a proprietary tool. It’s really a software tool that was built over the past handful of years that is one of the crown jewels of what I’ve at least been able to find since I’ve been here at Rite Aid. This is a tool that uses workflow, to be able to identify care gap opportunities and intervention opportunities for our pharmacists to engage in the right conversations, not only with each other, but also with our consumers. And you know, it’s called rightcare. I’ve referenced it on recent earnings calls. In fact, I think each of the earning calls I’ve been on that joined because it’s able to message and alert you know the at the appropriate time to the appropriate consumer of information be at a farm tech a or our pharmacist. It allows us to alert them to the right intervention points and the opportunities to essentially make that particular personalized care journey that involves not only the pharmacist and the pharmtech, but also the customer. It alerts them to optimize that journey on a real time basis. And I think historically, Rite Aid has used that to its benefit to a to a good degree. But I think having come from healthcare, where alerts are terrific over alerting is, is is not only not terrific, it’s actually counterproductive. It’s been pretty, there’s a real parallel that I’ve been able to draw that we’ve been able to draw between over alerting in the healthcare world and on the provider side, in particular, with over alerting in the pharmacy. And, you know, you really run that there’s that point of diminishing returns, beyond which the next alert will have less of an impact than it ought to. So we’re actually dialing back the alerts in order to dial up the impact of a more limited set of alerts that are on a critical path that is really designed to help the consumer achieve optimal, you know, health outcome, and, frankly, for us to support that, that journey in the most efficient way. So that’s, that’s one example of, of using technology. Another is, is frankly, sharing workloads across multiple sites. So when you think about the reality that we could have five locations within 10 miles of each other, or 15 miles of each other, and at any one given time, we’ll we could have two pharmacies that are, you know, frankly, over over capacity, and the other three are under capacity. It’s bellowing that that that demand with the supply that we have not simply within the four walls of one pharmacy store, but also the five, the four others that might be in that example, within, you know, a couple handfuls of miles around. So making sure that workload is distributed in a way that allows us to be more effective as a overall system, as opposed to simply as a single store. So those are two that that come to mind. And I guess the last one is just around the way we manage inventory. You know, we’ve had a opportunity to identify inventory that frankly just doesn’t turn this is on the front end of our business inventory that just doesn’t turn returns maybe once a year, we’ve really used lean to be able to identify the cross section of those products that you know, frankly, have low turn and low return, you know, return. And for us doing that has allowed us on the merchandising side, to really double down on those products that we ought to enhance or expand. But also, you know, frankly, eliminate products that are not only low moving object products, but ones that provide a little return to Rite Aid. So again, in simpler terms, products that nobody wants, and that was the few people that do want to buy them don’t do much for us at Rite Aid.

Will Bachman 33:11
Could you spend a minute talking about your telehealth initiatives?

Jim Peters 33:16
Sure. Yeah, I mean, that’s one will that is absolutely been catalyzed, actually born as a result of the COVID pandemic. So we actually write eight is dabbled in retail care. And I say, dabbled deliberately. We have about 65 sites throughout our footprint, that are retail clinics that exists in some cases within Rite Aid stores and other cases within partner grocery stores. We we never really set out to and personally as part of the current strategy, our goal is not to own primary care, you may have heard me referenced that during analyst day. In fact, I feel very strongly that we as as a key part and a last mile extender of the broader healthcare chain, including providers and payers, we need to support them and be the glue that keeps people connected to their care teams not become the care teams, if that makes sense. And so for us, that means that we need to do you know, as part of our go forward strategy, our focus is really about keeping people connected to their care teams. So before COVID Our plan was to accelerate our plans to deploy a telehealth option that doesn’t simply connect people to our own clinicians, but actually connects people to clinicians have our provider partners or our health plan partners who may have a care management team that is there to support their members that happened to be our our customers. And so that whole plan was catalyzed because of COVID. So we had a plan to deploy that. Over the two quarters that, you know, frankly, would have brought us into later this calendar year. And, you know, within two weeks into COVID, you know, when I found myself, in discussions with our folks about shutting down our retail clinics to keep not only our customers safe, but our associates say that work within those clinics, we migrated and stood up a telehealth offering within about a week and a half. And again points to the nimbleness of our of our people at Rite Aid and, and we now have a rite aid, virtual care that that we have stood up and we see many people every single day that we never even contemplated seeing until the end of this calendar year. So we’ve already stood up a virtual care platform that sees our own people, nurse practitioners and otherwise serving the needs of people who frankly, no longer wish to go into not only one of our own retail clinics, but they don’t want to go into their primary care doc office. Now, as a as a matter of philosophy, we do believe that folks will decide to return increasingly to their positions, and we actually hope and encourage them to do so we do want to be given that we are seeing folks in store, you know, 30 times a year, give or take. And so same people online, many more times, we do feel that we want to take advantage of the opportunity to continue to connect those people when appropriate to their care teams through the providers with whom we’re partnered with. So for us COVID-19 is absolutely catalyzed our telehealth capability.

Will Bachman 36:50
After you left geislinger, you started up your own boutique advisory firm skyward health. And I think you did that three years before, you know you joined Rite Aid. You know, a lot of listeners to the show are independent consultants or running boutique firms. Could you reflect on that time period in you know, any tips that you have for someone who’s running a boutique firm but potentially interested in transitioning to an executive role and any, any tips or other or other reflections from that time? Sure.

Jim Peters 37:22
Well, I’m not sure I can give many tips on transitioning back to an executive role because I had no intention of doing so. But if the right opportunity came and as I, as I kind of did my own due diligence, it became an opportunity that was simply too exciting an opportunity not to pursue, I would say that the three or so years I had building skyward was among the most rewarding three years of my career. And it was because I took the great experiences I had had within healthcare first as a venture guy. And then as, as a leader, part of the leadership team within Geisinger, it allows me to package and and and then unpack a lot of the learnings and experiences I had serving geislinger on both the payer and the provider side, and unpack that for constituent base that went well beyond one organization. So for me, the liberating part of being a being kind of more independent than a W two employee of a large organization was that I was able to impact a whole series of problems that were very similar to the ones that I I attacked with my team at Geisinger, but do so nuanced by the various needs, and market positions of handfuls of clients. And that, to me was, was frankly, allowed me the opportunity to have an impact that went that were just a little bit more broad than maybe the impact I thought I might be able to have in any one single organization. And plus, frankly, such an amazing time I had in my 12 plus years at Geisinger, it was almost so good, I really didn’t want to even attempt to replicate it at another similar opportunity. Even within, you know, really good, interesting, credible IDN peers. So the I guess the advice I would have is, when it feels right to move on, move on. And if you feel that, you know, the opportunity to impact a much broader set of constituents exists by going the independent route. To me, I’ve gone that route twice in my career and both have been exceptionally rewarding. So I would encourage anybody who thinks that might be the right thing to do, to not only do it but embrace it wholeheartedly go in with both feet and really be particular about who you work with and on what and what type of work you take on. I think it will you You could appreciate this, I’m sure, early on, I know, when I first left geislinger, you know, there’s always that there’s always that, I think push and bait to take on your first few opportunities that come your way because you’ve gone now from a nice, steady, healthy paycheck to one that is non existent. But I guess my experience has always been, it really pays off to be very selective, even on that first client, don’t rush back into it to the greatest extent your resources will allow, because the first opportunity will define the way you think about your next opportunity, and will pave the way for the next opportunity. So I think, much like an expression I often use that I learned from my eighth grade football coach, the first hit in the football game is always very, very impactful, if not the most impactful the game, I would say the same thing for the first opportunity you take when you go independent, make it the right opportunity, it’ll define whether or not you love what you’re doing and validates the reason you left. Or, or the inverse of that, which obviously, my comments are designed to help you I

Will Bachman 41:12
couldn’t agree with it more Jim. And that first project you pick and in all the projects, it’s so important to pick the right projects, and you know, when you’re an independent consultant, so you can really be delivering the best service. Jim, I want to thank you so much for joining today. This was really a fabulous discussion. I appreciate you, you know, walk me through what Wright has been doing to protect its employees and its customers and, and more broadly how you’re innovating.

Jim Peters 41:39
Well, I appreciate it well, and I really admire what you’re doing and creating a voice for all those that feel like they’re on an island I think, you know, you coalescing all those voices and providing an avenue for people to kind of learn from and just frankly, having a support system to get them through the tougher times with being on your own and building a business. It’s a tremendous asset that you offer. So my pleasure to be here. Thanks and be well.

Will Bachman 42:05
Well thank you, Jim. And, and for any listeners who are interested in starting an independent consulting, we’ve just released a guide on the Umbrex Guide to setting up your own consulting practice has 90 videos in over 30 templates and downloads. So if you go to Umbrex comm click on Set up your own consulting firm, and you can check that out. So Jim, thanks so much for joining today. Thanks well

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