Special Report: Q & A with Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore

October 2, 2018 5:26 pm

Mercy Health News sat down with Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore as he reflected on his first year at the helm of our organization.

What is your most memorable moment from the past year, and why? It’s too hard to narrow down to just one moment, so here are some of my best highlights: Greeting colleagues during my first week on the job; the new medical center beam signing celebration; fantastic support for our first Town Hall meetings at Mercy and Hackley Campuses; and hitting our quality targets for readmission rates and hospital acquired infections.

Is your role as President what you expected it to be? Why or why not? It has been much more rewarding than I ever expected. The actual day to day work was mostly what I anticipated, but the time I’ve been able to spend building relationships with our colleagues, medical staff and community has been wonderful. The best foundation for the job was the fact that I know our organization and our community very well!

What has been your favorite daily habit to be successful? Getting to work early in order to help organize my day around how I can be the most effective for Mercy Health.

What are you most proud of about the colleagues you lead? The continuous positive feedback I receive from the community about the compassionate care we provide to our patients and their families every day. We truly serve in the spirit of the Gospel and our community feels it and appreciates it.

What are your favorite standing meetings on your calendar, and why? Our weekly Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meeting, which sets the strategy and direction for Mercy Health Muskegon; and our monthly Physician Leadership meeting, which helps to give us a pulse on the medical staff activity and helps us build our physician relationships.

What opportunities for improvement do we have as an organization? Continuing to push decisions closer and closer to where the work is performed. We have amazing colleagues and medical staff. We will continue to improve as an organization if we keep listening to – and quickly implementing – ideas coming from where the work is actually performed (the foundation for what Process Excellence is all about).

What do you do to stay resilient? First, I always feel better about everything when I am staying active. Competing is something else that keeps me resilient, which is tougher as I get a bit older, but golfing is one way I am able to do that. Also, I am so fortunate that most of my family lives in this community, and spending time with them keeps my life very balanced.

What book(s) or publications are you currently reading? The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni as I prepare for an upcoming Senior Leadership retreat. It focuses on accountability, team building, difficult conversations and leading change management.

Which Mercy Health core value is the easiest for you to practice? Again, tough to narrow down to one, but I think the easiest to practice for me are Reverence and Stewardship. I believe I smile, connect with kindness, compassion and courtesy, and I try to show up every day with an owner’s mind and servant’s heart.

You travel across the state often for statewide system meetings. What do you listen to in the car? Podcasts, including Chip Ingram’s “Living on the Edge,” NPR, TED Talks, “Barstool Sports” and “No Laying up Golf.” Radio: Bloomberg, PGA Tour Radio and ESPN Radio. Music: Mostly country with some classic mellow rock and Motown!

How do you stay connected to our mission? Rounding in the organization helps me truly see our mission in action. I enjoy listening to colleagues as I greet them at orientation. They consistently talk about joining Mercy Health because of a family member’s experience here – either as a colleague or a patient. It helps to ground every group I speak to by referring to our mission and values as the reason we exist, the foundation for our place in the community for the past 115 years, and our strategic differentiator in this competitive market.

What was the best advice anyone ever gave you, and did you follow it? In 1988, I was debating changing careers from public accounting to becoming a football coach and teacher. My wife, Sue, gave me the best advice when she recommended using my business degree in a different setting where I could become engaged in the culture and the success of an organization. It was the best guidance and decision of my career, and I could not be happier to have worked in health care for 30 years and faith-based health care for 20 years.

How would your family describe you? I was not sure how to answer, so I asked my wife and kids… here’s what they said: Energetic, Level-Headed, Kind, Fun, and “Muskegonite.”

At what point might you feel you’ve met true success for Mercy Health Muskegon? When our colleague and physician engagement scores have moved to the top decile in performance. I absolutely believe in the direct correlation with colleague engagement and the patient experience. I believe if our colleagues feel that Mercy Health Muskegon “cares about me” then our patients, their families and our community will feel the same way.


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