Provide entire staff with leadership opportunities

Leadership program open to all

It's the philosophy at Elmhurst (IL) Memorial Healthcare to offer leadership opportunities to employees at all levels and in all areas of the organization — not just the "top 15 or 20 people" in the traditional management hierarchy, says Matthew J. Lambert, III, MD, MBA, FACS, FACHE, senior vice president, clinical operations.

"There [typically] is a lot of attention paid to the formal leadership structure and it was our feeling that we needed to broaden the opportunity for other people to be exposed to leadership roles and experiences," Lambert adds.

With that in mind, he says, Elmhurst Memorial began a "homegrown" program for directors and managers in which employees are exposed not only to topics of leadership, but to financial information and skills such as how to run a meeting.

"The CEO and I do a half-day program on leadership," Lambert notes. "We have [participants] read 'Leadership Is an Art,' by Max Depree, and the CEO talks about his years of experience in health care."

There is a leadership institute that runs throughout the year, he says, which consists of the following topics:

  • The challenge of leadership
  • Mastering meeting and project management
  • Leading for regulatory compliance and ethical behavior
  • Effective business writing
  • Financial skills for leaders
  • Presentation skills
  • Leveraging the power of technology
  • Tips to enhance computer and telephone skills

There is also an effort to populate the organization's major committees with employees from throughout the organization, Lambert says. "We are building a new hospital and we have a number of employees, managers, directors [involved]. A lot are doing service line analysis.

"We have tried not to do it as a top-down process," he adds. "We have 3,000 employees, and these are very talented people. We're looking for ideas from anybody, and we recognize that it's not just the people with titles who have the ideas."