The Art of Effective Communication

The Art of Effective Communication

Name: Jesse Thomas

Title: Chairman, President & CEO, Molina Healthcare of Michigan

Location: Troy, MI

Age: 58

Power Play: A healthcare industry maven with more than 25 years of experience in the field, Thomas is currently responsible for a $600 million P&L budget. He has also held the position of chief/administrator of the Office of Healthcare Purchasing, Illinois Department of Healthcare & Family Services.

When managing a large staff, how do you minimize the number of breakdowns in communication?

Getting results is the goal of all interaction and the effectiveness of communication is the outcome. We have standing forums, councils, meetings, newsletters, and other communications media ensuring that all staff receives appropriate and consistent messages of relevance and importance throughout the company. We graph metrics on key priorities and monitor trend lines for movement in the appropriate direction. As such, we are in a position to celebrate progress or coach as needed.

When communication breakdowns do occur, when or where do you normally see them? How do you go about repairing them?

A sobering reality in communication is that the greater burden and basis for breakdown in effective communication rests with the communicator. The communicator has to be very articulate in conveying what he or she wants; if I want a certain outcome then it is on me to knock down any barriers. If you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it. I follow a principle I call G.A.B.E. It is an acronym for: Get in front of the issue, Always about the money, Be proactive, and Early and often, [meaning] early and often direction and team-building communications through one-on-one monthly accountability and coaching meetings with my direct reports; bimonthly senior leadership councils; bimonthly all managers and all associates conferences; bimonthly luncheons with my C-level executives; and quarterly luncheons with all my direct reports.