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Leadership academy draws strong staff response (Ann Borders)

June 13, 2008
by Ann Borders
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A few weeks ago, I mentioned some fairly dramatic research findings on the return on investment for organizational leadership development. One study cited an average ROI of 359% for the 19 well-known companies studied. Inspired by some of our behavioral health colleagues across the country, our organization is implementing a Leadership Academy this month. We are training all current managers and are opening up a second class to any interested employee. Within hours of announcing the availability of the Leadership Academy to our front line staff, 25% of our work force signed up! Our model includes four full-day retreats over a 12-month period, with an assignment or project between each session. Since one of the first topics we'll address is the difference between leadership and management, it dawned on us that we also need to provide more and better training on managerial functions (hiring processes, performance appraisals, data management, policies and procedures, accreditation, etc.). As a result, our Human Resources department will be providing a management school" for new managers as a part of their orientation. Who knows, if we are able achieve the 359% ROI experienced by those Fortune 500 companies, then we may even be able to keep gasoline in our vans this summer!!

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Ann:
We also looked at ROI and other issues such as manager effectiveness, staff retention and staff performance and started our own Managers Training program. This is a natiional and industry wide issue that more of us need to address.
For a description of our program and more on the issues you note, check BehavioralHealthcare January, 2008 "What We Can Learn From Starbucks and McDonalds".
At some point I would be interested in sharing results with you and others who are administering similar programs.
Thanks for the post

One of you asked whether we get any breaks on gasoline. Yes, we have a fairly large fleet and receive some discounts. On a similar note, the most amazing thing happened last month. We're having a good fiscal year, and decided to jump the gun a little and give our staff a $100 gas card as an "advance" on our pay for performance program (which kicks in after fiscal year end, provided we achieve our organizational and financial goals for the year). What a home run! Our staff have gotten far larger performance bonuses in the past, but they appreciated the gas cards more than anything else we've done.

To Dave Selden Thanks for your comments. Results sharing would be extremely helpful to us. I'd be particularly interested in how you are measuring success. So far, it appears that the "feel good" ratings are good here, but I also want to be sure that we perform better as an organization as a result of establishing our leadership development program. Are there others of you out there who'd be interested in more dialogue about leadership development program outcomes?

The best way to teach leadership is to model good leadership. You can tell if a company has good leadership by looking at their rate of employee retention. New Directions For Women has the highest rate of employee turnover in the nation. That says something about the leadership. It is important to listen to employees and the clients that are served. If a leader is unable to accept feedback - then that person is not fit to be a leader.

I applaud your efforts. It stands to reason that behavioral health will gain by incorporating leadership strategy. Hopefully other organizations will follow your lead. Keep up the good work.

That's pretty amazing and speaks to your staff's interest in knowledge building. I hear ya on the gas. Do you get any breaks from a local station?

Ann Borders

President and CEO, Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc

http://cumminsbhs.org/

Ann Borders is president and CEO of Cummins Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., serving eight...