In the past I’ve attended a leadership retreat with over 600 participants focused on “Building the Bridge to Our Future.” We learned that communication is key and that we need to work together in teams to accomplish our goals. One exercise of the day was working in teams to build a bridge – a major construction project – with a foreman (that was me in my team) and pairs working on constructing piers, towers, and walkways as part of the overall bridge construction. We learned the importance of working together, being excellent communicators, and building on the strength of individual team members. This exercise reminded me of an Enneagram leadership training about “Leading High-Performing Teams,” developed by Ginger Lapid-Bogda, PhD, that I had previously gone through. I’d like to share seven components in developing high performing teams and how CAHL is working to develop them.
Leading high-performing teams means that the person is skilled in team leadership and vision, attracting and developing team talent, designing team structure and processes, building a team culture, and establishing quality outcomes.
- Provide Team Leadership: It requires a solid belief that teams can be more effective in achieving long lasting, sustainable change than through individual efforts. By empowering the team, the sponsor serves as a facilitator, coach, mentor, and disciplinarian as needed by treating all team members fairly, establishing clear boundaries, inspiring excellence and commitment through words and actions, and allowing them enough authority to perform their work effectively. By doing so and by providing the resources of information, time, and money, the team is empowered to perform well.
CAHL Focus: CAHL offers many opportunities to volunteer on various types of committees. They are all led through a team effort with Board Chairs and team members. They inspire excellence and teamwork in creating a quality outcome.
- Create a Team Vision: A high performing team has a collaborative, compelling, and shared team vision that translates down to the local, staff level. Everyone supports the larger team vision, mission, and strategy that translates into reality of a commitment to take action.
CAHL Focus: The Northern and Central California chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives serves the professional development needs of 50 of California’s 58 counties and extends as far south as Kern County and San Luis Obispo and North to the Oregon border. Membership offers you the opportunity to be among leaders in healthcare management, grow professionally and excel in your industry, enjoy greater satisfaction and career potential, and contribute to and give back to your profession.
- Attracting and Developing Team Talent: It’s important that team members are supported, challenged, and continuously learning and growing.
CAHL Focus: The CAHL Mentor Program provides a structure for healthcare professional development where mentees are matched with seasoned professionals to enhance their current skills, knowledge, and education. The Mentor Program provides support and resources for our members at all stages of their careers – the early to mid-careerist, senior-level executive, and those in transition. It is a relationship based on trust and mutual respect in which both the mentor and the mentee have responsibilities and should benefit from the relationship. Mentors and mentees are matched based on a multitude of criteria including career level, business function, leadership skills and competencies, and career development goals. Also, Mentors receive four ACHE self-reported volunteer service points per Mentor cohort (approximately 6 months) of service.
- Designing Team Architecture: It’s important that work is structured in a flexible and effective way, that individual and team accountabilities and metrics are developed, and that appropriate behaviors are recognized for success.
CAHL Focus: CAHL continues to work on providing clarity on individual and team roles and expectations so that everyone understands their own and one another’s positions with enough agility to foster creativity, innovation, and initiative. Our Board recently conducted a strategic planning workshop and Board orientation for our new 2023 Board members to ensure that we are all clear on our roles, responsibilities, and local and national chapter expectations as a Board.
- Establishing Effective Team Processes: It’s important that multiple communication vehicles are efficient, accurate, and timely so that information flows freely within the team.
CAHL Focus: CAHL plans and facilitates meetings that encourage participation, make great use of time, and produce important results. We have a monthly Board meeting, a monthly Executive Board meeting, routine Board committee meetings, a monthly newsletter, a website, social media portals, and both virtual and in-person networking and educational sessions.
- Building a Team Culture: An important part of building a team culture is creating a positive collaborative environment where staff are valued, respected, and appreciated and where diversity of perspective, style, and background are recognized.
CAHL Focus: CAHL celebrates individual and team milestones and successes especially through our Annual Meeting and Awards Program, the announcement of student scholarships and College Bowl awards, and acknowledges many contributions in our monthly newsletter.
- Assuring Quality Outcomes: Strive for excellence and identifying, designing, and implementing programs and services based on our patients’ needs.CAHL Focus: We build quality and improvement into every aspect of the team’s programs, services, and ways of working together. Every event has an evaluation process built into it and we are always looking for ways to improve upon our efforts.
The journey to lead high performing teams is a continuous one that requires a leader to lead by example and be clear on intended goals and objectives. And by working on these competency components, the team will demonstrate high performance and achieve strong outcomes.
Building the Bridge to Our Future will take an incredible amount of effort and CAHL is well positioned to embrace it with our team. We look forward to your membership participation and volunteering on one of our committees in 2023 and welcome your feedback on ways we can continue to work together effectively to accomplish our goals.
Wishing You Happy Holidays and a Safe New Year.
Michael O’Connell, MHA, FACMPE, FACHE
President, California Association of Healthcare Leaders