Executive Team Development

The Client

A Michigan-based, eight-hospital system that operates more than 100 ambulatory sites and employs more than 18,500 staff members and 3,000 physicians.

The Situation

Mergers and acquisitions led to new executive leadership, including a new president and CEO, at the 160 year-old health system.

The Challenge

To create more effective leadership at the individual and team levels by blending new talent with the longer-serving executives, then getting everyone on common ground.

The Solution

With so few executives spread across so many sites, it was imperative that early efforts at cohesion focused on key senior leaders. The IRI Consultants Executive Team Development program was designed to:

  • Access the levels of trust within (a) the organization, (b) between the Executives and Management, and (c) among members of the Executive Leadership Team
  • Identify the major obstacles to high levels of trust and ways to overcome these barriers
  • Create a structure that promotes and communicates leadership’s business competence
  • Build and practice delivery of people orientation components to increase trust
  • Develop an action plan to increase and/or restore trust of the Executive Leadership Team in the organization

Leaders at the health system were assessed on 13 core competencies, with each leader undergoing a 360-degree evaluation. The core competencies focus on personal and professional development, communication skills, technology, and a commitment to quality. The executive also completed a talent inventory listing strengths, growth opportunities, background, career goals, other business interests, and key goals and achievements in their current roles.

An annual development dialogue session is conducted outside the presence of the employee. The group consists of the executive’s boss and four other leaders who discuss how the employee can be more effective on the job, goals, and possible career moves. The feedback is then shared with the executive in the annual performance meeting.

The Results

The vision of the healthcare system focuses on a handful of system-wide critical success factors that include clinical networks, customer-service, physician relationships, and operational performance such as adoption of continuous improvement processes to heighten efficiency.

The outcome of the Executive Team Development program included:

  • The development of a communications structure that links the groups and serves to address system issues and concerns
  • A results framework for building and re-building relationships with the Executive Team
  • Benchmark targets through the utilization of “line of sight” dashboards that measure and recognize achievements
  • Team Social Styles exercises that increased the awareness of style and commutation differences within the leadership and management groups
  • Individual coaching to ensure continuity of the team expectations and secure the necessary “staying power” for long-term commitment

Leadership development is one of the keys to enable the system’s success. Dialogue among leaders takes place often, including at team meetings where one executive will share personal insights that spawns reflection, discussion, and sharing, and that encourages executives to share personal beliefs and values.

The leadership team also spends a time off-site dealing with those critical issues and long-term planning. Learning sessions focused on Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award criteria help executives find new and improved ways to work together as a team.

Lessons Learned

Although the primary focus is on executives, the aim is for this select group’s business acumen and insights to filter through the organization, impacting every level of patient care and employee interaction.

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