Guest Blog – Building Your Own Physician Leadership Development Program – Lessons Learned
Stacy Chance, M.D., is Chief Medical Officer for the Oregon Medical Group, one of the largest multi-specialty groups in Oregon. He will be presenting at the upcoming American Medical Group Association, Independent Group Council meeting November 6-7, 2019 in Charleston, South Carolina. The topic: “Physician Leadership Development- Our Journey.”
The J3P team has been honored to guide Oregon Medical Group’s leadership development journey – helping with the curriculum design, providing executive coaching, and delivering interactive workshops. As a group, they are a joy to work with- dedicated to serving the needs of their patients and the community – while creating an environment for providers to thrive.
Dr. Chance offered to give us a preview of his AMGA presentation by answering a few questions.
Why this topic for the presentation?
The challenges facing medical groups and the pace of change in health care, require that we have physician leaders who will be effective. A lot of organizations are trying to address the issue of developing physician leadership skills. We decided that, as a relatively large group facing our own, unique challenges, we wanted to build our own program. I thought that other groups could learn from our experience. (See, “Why do so many Physician Leaders Struggle?”)
As you were building your approach what were some of the barriers you had to consider?
One of the biggest challenges sometimes, is getting physicians to appreciate the need for this work. As a group, our colleagues are bright and successful. They sometimes don’t see a need to change their approach to leadership. Physicians tend to be self-reliant and believe that if they work hard enough, apply their own sense of perfectionism and the autocratic leadership style they use in the clinical setting, leadership will take care of itself.
We’ve learned that this is definitely NOT The case. They want to succeed. They just need to understand that successful leadership requires a slightly different approach and skill set.
This brings up another important point. As you were designing the program – and “training content” where did you focus your efforts?
Something we learned quickly is that we can provide knowledge-based content – the basics of change management, how to understand practice financials, contracting, industry trends, control management systems, etc., but where we really need to focus our attention is in the area of leadership “skills.”
For instance, we are asking physicians to create a vision, to design strategy, to motivate and inspire, to champion organizational change, to build consensus and build effective teams. These are skills. One of the things we did was start with a foundation of enhanced self-awareness and self-management– because that is the starting point for effective communication, influence, and relationship-building. (See our blog on “Measuring Physician Leadership Training Success”)
Why did you decide to take on the task of building your own program as opposed to sending your physicians to an outside program or bringing in a more standardized curriculum?
We wanted this to be, very much, an Oregon Medical Group program. We’ve relied heavily on outside help/consultants and experts, but we wanted the content to be completely tailored to our challenges. For instance, rather than having someone come in and just teach us about change management, we wanted to work on applying change management principles to OUR change management challenges.
We wanted to rely on experts where we needed to, but, otherwise completely tailor the program to our challenges and our people – and to have meaningful conversations about what it means to lead at OMG.
What does the program actually look like?
We kicked things off by letting the participants define our challenges and our needs. This was a facilitated discussion with the team from J3P. then we built a curriculum around those needs. We included Board members, senior leaders, practice leads and medical directors.
We started with a deep dive into self-awareness as the foundation. Participants took advantage of executive coaching to create their own developmental plans. This way, they bring to every interactive workshop, their own work on how they process information, what motivates them and how to communicate and motivate their teams and work with colleagues.
This has allowed the program to evolve to meet our needs. For instance, we decided recently to spend more time and energy on the concept of teams and peer-to-peer accountability- because this challenge revealed itself as the program evolved.
What are a few of the challenges and surprises you’ve faced in rolling this out?
First, I have been pleasantly surprised by the willingness of many of our physician leaders to be vulnerable. It is not a quality that is generally instilled in us during our medical training, when we are expected to be decisive, authoritative, and thick-skinned. While these are important traits to have at times in clinical medicine, they often get our way with leadership. Many of our clinicians have been humble and brave in their approach to developing their leadership skill set.
There have also been challenges. Some clinicians struggle with holding themselves and others accountable for behaviors and goals. Many physicians are naturally conflict averse and find it a struggle to navigate difficult but crucial conversations. Others just don’t know if leadership is “for them.” But the leadership curriculum has helped support those who are committed to being adult learners and developing important new skills.
We are learning that for those willing to take on the challenges, leadership development, like clinical medicine, is an unending process of improvement, humility, and growth.
To learn more about J3P’s approach to developing physician leaders, visit us at www.j3phealthcaresolutions.com