Building a BOLD Organization: An Interview with Marcee Chmait

I recently had the opportunity to interview Marcee Chmait, President of Spendwell Health.  Spendwell Health provides consumer transparency by allowing consumers (currently participants in high deductible health plans through large self-insured employers) to shop for healthcare providers and medical services online, see an actual retail price they will pay in advance of the visit, and have the amount spent applied to their plan deductible.

Marcee mentioned she could see the obvious need for this type of consumer transparency ten years ago and has been an advocate for these types of solutions for years.  The market has been slower to develop, but when recruited to Sprig Health in 2013, she saw the opportunity for a strategic pivot to the high deductible, self-insured space.  Today, the company has been rebranded as SpendWell Health; it serves 11,000 members and is forecasted to triple its membership by the end of 2016.Marcee Chmait

Marcee describes herself as someone who has always been bold and is “a huge risk taker.”  Given her passion for providing transparency for consumers in healthcare, it probably isn’t surprising that Marcee would leave the market leading health plan to join a start-up.  “The vision of what a true ‘retail’ experience in healthcare should look like for the consumer is so clear to me that I am living the vision in my mind as if it already exists.”  This clarity of vision, passion and commitment is something we often encounter in bold leaders.

However, Marcee also shared some interesting perspectives on building a “bold” team – especially when some of the team members may not be as bold as she is.  Here are some of Marcee’s tips:

  1. Share your passion when recruiting.  Draw in others that are attracted to the cause.
  2. Know your team members and their personal and professional aspirations/motivations. Understand what will motivate them to do even more.
  3. Lower the cost of failure for all team members. Create a learning environment where failure isn’t punished, but rather the lessons learned are celebrated.
  4. Help others connect the dots on even small successes.  Show how these can be translated to even larger future success.
  5. Always be looking to add and develop more bold leaders to add to the mix.  If you have an audacious goal, you can never have too many bold leaders.

We often think about the need for bold leadership at the top – but Marcee’s comments suggest that building a bold organization may be even more impactful.  How many of these activities are you doing on a daily basis to help make your organization more effective?

Duane White has a proven track record of driving positive change in a wide variety of settings, from large Fortune 100 companies to smaller start-ups. He possesses excellent problem solving skills and a unique ability to marry strategy development with superior execution, focusing on the few really critical elements that are the performance drivers.