The following story was told by Linda Henman, president of executive development firm Henman Performance Group.
Client: A private hospital in the Midwest United States.
Problem: The hospital was experiencing high turnover in most departments, so the CEO approached Henman for help.
Cause: The hospital did not have the right people in place on its executive leadership team. Although the CEO was an effective leader, several of his direct reports failed to provide the leadership that the growing hospital needed.
Method/Tools: Three rounds of extensive data gathering helped to diagnose the hospital's problems.
First, Henman acquired a snapshot of each leader through leadership and behavior assessments. The testing revealed that one leader could not perform basic math, explaining why he could not effectively complete a budget. The CEO realized that this leader required a great deal of training and development if he were to remain on staff.
Second, Henman conducted surveys, interviews, and 360 degree assessments to uncover others' perceptions of the leaders. This process exposed one leader's lack of integrity and irreparable reputation.
Third, Henman shadowed the leaders, observing them at meetings, in the office, and during interactions with others. Among several discoveries, Henman observed that the director of nursing struggled with alcohol abuse, resulting in disloyalty and attrition in her department.
This data collection process identified three members of the executive team whose nonperformance was stalling the hospital's growth and development. The CEO terminated these leaders.
The process also uncovered leaders who simply required coaching for performance improvement and skill development. For example, Henman coached the head of the therapy department who once failed to hold her direct reports accountable. As a result, the director increased therapy offerings for the hospital and started attracting and retaining a higher caliber of therapists.
Henman also focused on transforming the hospital's culture to one of loyalty and cohesion so that employees hated to leave their co-workers and patients, who depended on them.
Results: After one year, the hospital's inpatient population grew by 30 percent, and its outpatient services increased by 200 percent. The hospital experienced zero turnover in some areas in which retention had previously been a problem.