We recently reported that more than 50% of executives in specialty provider organizations are planning to leave their job or would consider leaving their job in the next five years, and that the number one reason these individuals are leaving is to retire (see Size Matters In Executive Compensation).
This situation makes succession planning more important than ever. How do you find the next generation of leaders in your organization? For many specialty provider organizations, “building” is the answer—because they are unlikely to be able to recruit a replacement from the outside for what they are currently paying. (For more, a summary of the compensation survey is available for Premium members here. Elite members of the OPEN MINDS Circle can download the complete survey report for free here. The survey is also available in the shop for $495.)
To learn how organizations are doing this, I sat in on the session at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat, Building The Management Pipeline: Identifying & Growing Future Leaders, led by Stacy DiStefano, Chief Operating Officer at OPEN MINDS. The session featured Tine Hansen-Turton, President & Chief Executive Officer at Woods Services; Bob Lincoln, Chief Executive Officer at County Social Services Mental Health & Disability Services Region; and John Sheehan, MBA, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer at Harbor Behavioral Health.
All three executives took a different approach to growing their management talent, but there were four important commonalities—encouraging teamwork, skill building, giving staff the chance to contribute in different ways, and promoting a visible career ladder.
Encouraging teamwork—Mr. Sheehan began the discussion by noting the danger of “heroes.” Heroes are individuals who take on a large load of work to save the organization. The danger is burnout and allowing people who do not pull their weight to stick around. The goal for his organization was to move from a hero model to a model that encourages working together and problem-solving as a group. For Harbor, this meant adopting the TRUSTED model (for more on this see: Ethical Culture Needs Ethical Leaders). Mr. Lincoln noted that his staff asked for a better approach to teamwork, so they redesigned how they defined geographic service areas and began to create a sub-culture within those areas based on care values that include safety, welcoming and engaging, being purposeful and looking at how you contribute to the whole.
Skill building—For all three organizations, education was a crucial part of their plan for growing staff members. Ms. Hansen-Turton described how they partnered with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) to create a practical master’s degree program for their staff. They created a cohort of 25 individuals who they know have the potential to be leaders. They also created an associate degree program with Harcum College for staff without a college degree. Mr. Lincoln noted that at his organization, they do a training day each month for staff and are very intentional about their training model.
Allowing individuals to contribute (and make mistakes)—All three CEOs noted that the best way to train new leaders is to allow them to contribute to the organization and make small mistakes. At Woods, they run an innovation lab where employees can pitch ideas and try them out. If they don’t work, it’s not a problem and they can go back to their job. If it does work there may be an opportunity to try something different. Mr. Lincoln said that he works to encourage people to take on new responsibilities rather than always picking the person who immediately jumps at the opportunity. He said that some people need a bit more coaching and a little bit of confidence.
Promoting a visible career ladder—Finally, in era where direct support and other front-line professionals are paid a low wage, it’s important to create a career path and show individuals how they can advance. At Woods, they have developed five levels that show how to progress from direct support professional to CEO. Showing individuals how they can advance and try a new position is important to helping staff grow.
Mr. Sheehan summed up the importance of training your staff to become leaders when he said, “We believe that the dollars in behavioral health care will follow quality. Our strategy is to invest in our people because we believe that will improve quality.”
For more on this topic check out:
- The Keys To Growing Millennial Leaders
- Nonprofit Leadership Development: What’s Your “Plan A” For Growing Future Leaders?
- Developing Female Leaders In Your Organization
- High Turnover, The Other Staffing Issue
- Staff Is Your Biggest Investment & Your Greatest Asset – Unless They Burnout
- From Clinician To Manager-Rethinking Best Practice
- Does An ‘Agile’ Workforce Want Your Jobs?
- Health Care Labor Force Growth (& Competition) In Surprising Places
- The Amazon Leadership Principles & The Amazon Flywheel – What They Could Mean For Your Organization
- What I Learned From My Mentors & Why It Matters To Have Mentors
For even more, join us at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Performance Management Institute in Clearwater Florida on February 14 for the session “Optimizing Productivity: A Guide To New Performance-Based Compensation Models” led by John F. Talbot, Ph.D., Chief Strategy Officer, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, & Advisory Board Member, OPEN MINDS.