As the health and human service field becomes increasingly complex (see Collaboration, Connectivity & Complex Leadership and The ‘Melting’ Value Chain), the concept of building your executive team’s meta-leadership skills becomes increasingly important. The concept of meta-leadership is the ability to create strategic linkages with organizations outside of your own for the benefit of shared outcomes (see Thinking In Terms Of Meta-Leadership and Meta-Leadership – A New & Tall Order). And, as executive teams focus on creating scale and improving speed to market for new services, the ability to collaborate—with partnerships, affiliations, joint ventures, franchises, and more—are part of a new vocabulary for strategic success.
I saw first-hand look at how to make meta-leadership work in the session, Creating Public/Private Partnerships: Making Meta Leadership Work, at our 2018 OPEN MINDS Executive Leadership Retreat. The session was led by my colleague Richard Louis III, Senior Associate at OPEN MINDS and featured Anthony Hassan, Ed.D, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer & President at Cohen Veterans Network and Bob Vero, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer at Centerstone Tennessee.
While traditional management and leadership models focus on “leading down”, three facets of meta-leadership extend beyond the traditional. For meta-leadership to work, executives need to learn to lead across, up, and beyond. Dr. Hassan and Dr. Vero spoke of how their organizations have used the elements of meta-leadership to create a successful collaboration between Cohen Veterans Network and Centerstone. The Cohen’s Veteran Network provides evidence-based mental health services to Post 9/11 veterans and their families around the country. In order to do this, they partner with organizations in local communities to actually run the clinics using a standardized model that is about 80% pre-defined (for more on the model see Adaptable Standardization-In Service Of Mission?). To make the clinics successful and to reach their goal of opening 25 clinics by 2020 takes meta-leadership.
Leading Down—This is the traditional model of leading employees and building trust and commitment. Cohen Veteran’s Network does this with each of their 10 clinics. While they partner with a local community organization, CVN has developed a very specific clinical model of care that partners agree to follow. The purpose of this model is to ensure that veterans receive the best evidence-based treatment possible. It also allows for a data-driven approach where outcomes and results are comparable across clinics all over the country.
Leading Across—That standardized model also plays into leading across a meta-leadership framework. Leading across entails creating cross-system linkages and influencing other stakeholders in the field. CVN brings together their clinics each month for a call where they discuss what is working, what isn’t working, and share ideas. Dr. Vero explained that this has allowed them to cross-pollinate ideas and improve how they run their clinic. He sees is as the ultimate opportunity to learn from other organizations.
Leading Up—Leading up is about effectively influencing people you have some type of accountability to by keeping them informed, educating them about your market and your organization’s strategy, and communicating your plans. When CVN enters a community, they must be able to convince the organizations they are working with that the model is sound and will benefit the community, even if it deviates from the organization’s typical protocol. The use of a data-driven approach with clear results make this easier. This data-driven approach is also positioning the organization to work with payers who can see clear outcomes and the use of evidence-based practices. Mr. Hassan’s goal is to move the organization to value-based reimbursement arrangements with payers.
Leading Beyond—Leading beyond is the idea that market disruption comes from unexpected places. Executives need to prepare for this by finding partners outside of the usual sphere of influence and preparing to leverage their assets to produce results. Part of CVN’s mission is to be a “learning mental health system” and advance mental health care delivery. To do this, Cohen has established a data analytics department to systematically collect, analyze, and utilize data in a cycle of continuous learning. Cohen is currently testing models that detect data anomalies and text sentiment. The first is focused on algorithms that can identify anomalies in the data. When anomalies are found, the data and clinical professional can sit down and discuss why those are occurring. The second is focused on text sentiment analysis, which can identify the positive and negative comments in patient experience surveys. It may also be possible to use text sentiment to analyze clinician case notes to assess whether evidence-based practices are being used.
For executive teams, there is a lot that can be learned from CVN’s adaptable standardization and meta-leadership model. CVN has put protocols in place and uses a data-driven approach to scale faster and provide better care.
For more join us at The 2018 OPEN MINDS Technology and Informatics Institute for the session Meeting The Innovation Challenge In Health & Human Services: A Guide To Leading A Tech-Enabled Organization In A Value-Based Market featuring Monica E. Oss, Chief Executive Officer at OPEN MINDS.