Last Wednesday we held our annual kickoff meeting. The entire workforce gathered to share in a review of the previous year and launch our initiatives for next. Events like this are not my favorite kind of thing, and I was glad to not have a speaking part this year.
Our CEO, Beth Barksdale, had spent a lot of time and energy planning the event, developing the agenda, producing content, coordinating presenters, and ensuring that the message would be clear to our employees and co-owners. I stopped by her office shortly before the event to thank her for all she was doing to craft this critical message. I knew that in spite of the contribution of others, the bulk of the delivery lay on her shoulders. She is a great speaker, thinker, and motivator; and I was glad she took these burdens upon herself.
During the kickoff, we reviewed our performance and financial numbers for 2016. It marked our second consecutive year of considerable growth, and we reflected on how far we had come from 2013 and 2014, when we began transforming CCi from a strictly niche collection agency to a full service self-pay extended business office (EBO) solution. As I thought back to those early days of our transformation, I recalled the first three customers for our fledgling EBO services, and how we had lost one of them to a competitor after serving them for just 6 months. We were not improving our performance fast enough and, when a new CFO arrived at the hospital, we were quickly replaced.
It was a wake-up call for all of us. While we knew this venture would be difficult, we now realized we would have to work harder than we ever imagined. We had to improve faster, grow faster, transform faster. So we worked harder and longer. We invested, hired, learned, made mistakes, pivoted, worked some more, and added more clients.
It’s amazing how quickly the time went, and sometimes it felt like a blur. Charles Jordan, our CFO, reminded all of us at the kickoff that we earned just $128.00 from new services in January 2014, the first month they were implemented. Today, those same services account for over one-third of our company’s revenue. Not bad for three years, especially when you consider it was a totally self-funded new business venture. It then occurred to me that other than that one hospital, we have not lost another EBO client to a competitor since. And the reason why was right there in our kickoff.
Eric Penn, one of our Patient Service Representatives, was asked by Beth to deliver the opening remarks. Eric has been with us for just over two years. His daily commute is over 120 miles a day. In his remarks, Eric stated that he is often asked why he drives so far to work here. Why CCi? His answer: It’s the people he works with that makes it worth it to him. It’s the effort he sees from his coworkers and the investment CCi makes in all of us to allow us to be our best. The people and the work environment make the difference, and make it worth it for Eric.
Patti Manuel, our Director of System Operations, was asked to give the closing remarks. Patti joined CCi in 1979. You read that right. She has been with CCi for over38 years now, and she explained why. Why CCi? It’s the integrity. It’s the standard we have set all these years. It’s the requirement we place on ourselves to serve the customer as effectively as possible, giving personal, hands-on attention to ensure we are always attuned to their needs.
As the kickoff meeting came to an end, Beth had been as masterful as always, inspiring us to be our best, to see each other, to understand each other, and to serve each other as part the collective CCi story. She told us how important it was to see how each of us contributes to the success of the others. I thanked Beth again after the kickoff event, knowing that its success was largely due to how much she cares and how much effort she puts into events like these, and into all of us. She knows 2017 will be a record breaking year for CCi and thanks to her, so do I.
Oh, and that customer we lost to the competition during our early days of transformation…they called this week and invited us to meet and discuss reinstating our services. True story!
I wish you all a hugely successful 2017. For CCi, I know it’s going to be a year of record-breaking performance. If you want to know more about “why CCi,” click HERE.