with your core


hese are unprecedented times in health care, especially in the United States. A number of trends are converging: tremendous cost pressures, the Affordable Care Act, the rapid adoption of health care IT, increasing health care consumerism. Innovation in health care is increasingly shifting from products to business models and care delivery systems. Traditional roles are blurring. Profit pools are changing.

Cardinal Health is in a unique position to capitalize on some of these trends. It touches key stakeholders across the care continuum by providing products and services that help customers become more cost-effective and efficient in how they deliver care.  Because of the critical need to bend the cost curve in health care, Cardinal Health has been able to launch new solutions and experience significant growth.

For most companies, even in relatively mature industries such as health care, there are always attractive growth opportunities. For larger companies, identifying these is rarely as challenging as overcoming internal barriers to execute on these opportunities. Some of these barriers might include the inability to focus due to conflicting organizational priorities or lack of resources and time, or the inertia in making decisions due to uncertainty or conflicts with existing customers or partners.

"Make decisions in such a way that you still have the option to adapt and pivot as the uncertainty reveals itself."

But there are a lot of strategies for overcoming these barriers. Most importantly, don’t remain on the sidelines and become indecisive. Instead, embrace uncertainty. Make decisions in such a way that you still have the option to adapt and pivot as the uncertainty reveals itself. Things like pilots and soft launches are useful in that regard.

Gathering perspectives, especially from your customers, on your core capabilities and your strengths, as well as your weaknesses, is helpful. Once you have a realistic understanding of your competencies, you want to develop growth strategies that are aligned to them. Don’t deviate too far from these — you’re much less likely to be successful when you’re too far from your core.

NEXT: Learning from leaders »

Pulak Patel ’07
Director, Strategy & Business Development, Cardinal Health

Cardinal Health Inc., a $101 billion health care services company ranked No. 22 on the Fortune 500, has sustained its growth through acquisitions and mergers. Pulak Patel discusses the internal barriers many large companies must overcome to grow.