Little of consequence is ever accomplished alone. -- David McCullough in “The American Spirit,” commenting on our nation’s capital
Anticipating the dramatic changes in national health-care policy and the shift to fee-for-value, LG Health’s executive leadership promoted dramatic changes in the traditional voluntary medical staff model. Empowered physician partners would be needed to redesign care, drive quality performance and improve operational efficiencies.
Supporting this structural change, the organization invested substantial resources for leadership education, including the Physician Leadership Academy (200 graduates in eight years), the Wharton Health Care Executive Program (45-member mixed physician and nursing cohort) and the onsite St. Joseph’s Haub School of Business Master of Business Administration program.
These graduates lead key programs for population health, quality/safety, academics, information technology, bundled payments and regulatory compliance. The Lean Performance Improvement/Management and Crew Resource Management initiatives would not be successful without physicians with this powerful leadership and support.
Nearly 10 years ago, Wharton faculty member Greg Shea identified the value of “teaming” in his book “Your Job Survival Guide: A Manual for Thriving in Change.” He has served as a PLA instructor on change management for a number of years. His book describes a fluid work environment, where innovative and committed teams form to address strategic and operational challenges. The team becomes critical for both organizational achievement and individual growth and learning. With a foundation of skilled and self-aware individuals, teams respond to both anticipated and unexpected challenges.
Assembling high-performing individuals does not guarantee high-performing teams. In the past, roles and positions often dictated team positions, rather than accounting for individuals’ style, talent or experience. Mario Moussa, Wharton faculty member and PLA instructor, has long advocated for horizontal organizational connectivity and the power of influencing outcomes. In his new book, “Committed Teams,” he outlines three key steps to inspiring individual passion and team performance. “Chartering” helps establish a shared vision and performance targets, which tap into collective values. Formal and informal rules of engagement help define each individual’s role and contributions. This prevents the head bobbing “group think” and ensures that diverse perspectives are explored and tested. Finally, the group establishes behavioral norms to regroup and realign when there is a “saying and doing” gap. Saying is not enough to get things done.
In the March Harvard Business Review, Suzanne Johnson Vicksburg writes about the “New Science of Teamwork” and characterizes teammates by four personality styles: guardians, pioneers, integrators and drivers. When teams fall short of expectations, it can reflect leaders’ inability to understand these differences. Each contributes to the overall success. Performance drivers can leave the integrators behind, while guardians can feel rushed and pioneers may feel innovation has been sacrificed to expediency. Utilizing and balancing these personality types within Moussa’s structure of goals, rules and norms positions teams for achievement.
LG Health established clinical effectiveness teams to leverage clinical leadership, operational experience, data analytics and service passion to drive performance and outcomes. In this volatile, uncertain and changing environment, we seldom have the luxury of a defined problem or even an elusive solution. Clinical knowledge is rapidly expanding, requiring changing operations to execute care plans. Diverse, committed and aligned teams operating off a common platform can respond to these challenges. Nationally, organizations are focused on developing high-performing teams. We are exploring team- based project education as our next leadership initiative, one we hope bears fruit in real time.
Five pistons firing as one … Remember what got you here, focus on the fundamentals and play to your potential… We will be winners. -- Gene Hackman as Coach Norman Dale in “Hoosiers”
One more thing …
Don’t miss this month’s feature story on Dr. Jerry Gottlieb, who is set to fully retire after a 33-year career as a psychiatrist. Jerry is already finding fulfillment through his commitment to volunteering, as well the rewards of having more time to explore old and new hobbies.
You can read some of my thoughts on retirement here. We also would love to hear your own retirement story. Please email me to share.
Lee M. Duke II, M.D.
Chief Physician Executive
Progress Notes' Editor-in-Chief