Posted by Randy Berger on Sept. 13, 2018 None

Learning Consultant Tina Moore coaches leaders through an exercise in a LEADs class. The in-person training focuses on real-life scenarios to prepare leaders for situations they will face in their roles.


As anyone who has ever stepped into a leadership role knows, there is more to leadership than day-to-day management. Great leadership is a hallmark of a great organization. Effective leaders are key to the culture that makes CoxHealth a Best Place to Work.  

Great leadership doesn't happen by accident – we must build great leaders. 

CoxHealth is making a major investment in leaders and our work environment with the Leadership Education and Development series, LEADs, which launched earlier this year. 

The program includes a Management 101 Boot Camp, followed by Leadership Foundations courses for all new supervisors, managers and directors. The training covers everything from the tactical skills new leaders need, to in-depth training on six core competencies. 

"The key to our success is getting the most out of our leaders," says Andy Hedgpeth, vice president of Human Resources. "Having a great leader sets the tone for working here. Everyone we recruit and retain depends on a great leader making their experience positive." 

LEADs is the result of months of effort to create a leadership development program that supports all CoxHealth leaders in a standardized way. Human Resources and the Center for Professional Development spent more than a year working with CoxHealth leaders and educators perfecting the LEADs approach. 

Early in the process, survey results made the need clear: 92 percent of leaders said access to professional development is important. Only 25 percent felt like they were effectively trained to lead.  

"We set out to make sure leaders have the knowledge, skills, attitudes and competencies to be effective," says Marcie Kirkup, manager of the Center for Professional Development. "We want everyone to understand our workforce's strengths and motivations. We want to align them with what we are asking them to do on a daily basis. The programs are giving leaders the tools to do that." 

The LEADs program begins with a Management 101 boot camp, which features everything leaders need to know to get started.  

"The boot camp is a survival class," Kirkup says. "It is filled with things everyone will need in their first 30, 60 or 90 days." 

Leaders will complete the boot camp during their first three months. It includes an on-demand video series and seated classes. 

The in-person classes focus on simulations of activities leaders will encounter: the new-hire process, requesting a position in Position Manager, completing an eCar and more.  

In addition to tactical training for managers, the boot camp also includes exercises designed to help leaders take a system view of CoxHealth.

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Matt Turner, system director of Radiology, says the budgeting exercise led by John Chastain, system director of budgeting, was particularly eye opening. 

"We formed a mock C-suite, choosing a CEO and CFO," Turner says. Chastain gave the group a list of capital items to choose from for investments. The goal? Create a positive financial performance over three years.  


"The list had everything from software and patient monitors to market adjustments for staff," Turner says. "This forced us to reflect and understand organizationally what the priorities and needs are overall." 


The boot camp is followed by a Leadership Foundations series, designed to build well-rounded leaders. The series focuses on six key leadership competencies, ranging from vision and innovation to accountability and staff development. 


The foundations are presented in a mix of video and in-person classes, which focus almost entirely on scenarios, discussion and real-world examples. 


"There's no talking 'at you,'" Kirkup says. "It's interactive, which is what adult learners need. Studies show if I tell you something, after three days you will retain about 20 percent of it. If I tell you, show you and then have you teach it back to me, the retention is closer to 80-90 percent." 


By the end of summer, LEADs will have graduated 90 leaders from the full program, with 60 more underway.  


Turner says the program's scope makes it clear CoxHealth is aggressively investing in our people. 


"This shows a lot of sincerity and intention behind how we want the culture to function," he says. "Making sure leaders are trained and confident in what they are doing will lead to staff feeling supported as well."


Hedgpeth says when it comes to our future, there are no better investments to make.


"What will define 2018 for us is a leap forward in leadership development. Leadership is important – organizations that invest in it perform much better."


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