Catalyst Learning Blog


Articles, case studies, and success stories to guide and inspire healthcare HR, Organizational Development, and Clinical professionals.

Free Webinar: Learn the Leadership Behaviors that Drive Employee Engagement Catalyst Learning
How does hard science unlock the key to effective leadership?  Does your leadership team possess the behaviors and traits that drive engagement?  Learn the answers to these questions and more at Catalyst Learning Company's December 3rd webinar:  Leadership Behaviors that Drive Employee Engagement. Our presenter, Dr. Joseph Folkman, President, Zenger Folkman is one of the nation's most renowned psychometricians.  Drawing on data gleaned from 360 assessments, statistics and case studies, Folkman will share behaviors and traits that drive engagement. This webinar will be adapted from Dr. Folkman's recent ASHHRA presentation, providing a chance to learn for those who missed or for those who attended and want to share with others. Zenger Folkman utilizes evidence-driven, strengths-based methods to improve organizations and the people within them. Dr. Folkman is a respected authority on assessment and change; his extensive expertise focuses on survey research and change management. He has over 30 years of experience, consulting with some of the world's most prestigious and successful organizations. Date: December 3, 2012 Time: 3-4pm ET Reserve your space now to unlock engagement at your organization!

10 Guiding Principles for Patient-Centered Care Catalyst Learning
In August, Mountain States Healthcare Alliance, a 13-hospital integrated healthcare delivery system based in Johnson City, Tenn., received the 2012 National Quality Healthcare Award from the National Quality Forum, recognizing the system's achievement of multiple quality-focused goals. Rather than just representing a culmination of efforts, the award is spurring the system to continue providing quality care, according to Dennis Vonderfecht, president and CEO of MSHA. Click here to read the Becker’s Hospital Review article that shares MSHA’s 10 patient-centered care guiding principles.

Bending the Execution Curve: Implementing Successful Organizational Change in Hospitals and Healthcare Organizations Catalyst Learning
At the Maryland Association of Healthcare Executives recent educational event, expert panelists gathered to share industry best practices in several areas.  Catalyst Learning’s Founder & CEO Lynn Fischer was in attendance and shares these insights on change management. Transformation journeys shake organizations at their foundation.  Employees will experience varying levels of enthusiasm and confidence, so change management is driven by the emotional impact– the people issues “make or break” a program.  Additionally, gaps between what is originally desired by leadership and the reality of what employees are confronted with must be filled. One panelist, Michael Dinneen, MD, PhD, Director, Office of Strategy Management, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) emphasized that communication is 95 percent of the battle, and changing the nature of the communication between the front-line supervisor and the front line worker is key. Dr. Dinneen also cautioned against “change for change sake” and urged the audience to invest time identifying problems. “We need to really think through what’s wrong before going to solutions,” he explained. Other process steps include:
  1. Empower  Broad Based Actions – Remove barriers to making the change successful
  2. Generate Short Term Wins – Create clear visible success stories early in the process
  3. Consolidate Gains & Produce More Change – Accelerate momentum for change
  4. Anchor the New Approaches in the Culture – recognize and reward new ways of behaving
Here’s a list of more tips and lessons learned that can help healthcare organizations throughout their journey:
  • Engage leaders
  • Understand the voice of the customer
  • Articulate the burning platform.  Convey in a way that all can buy into
  • Identify influence nodes in social network.  Who are the underminers?   The leaders?
  • Tech alone doesn’t improve processes, but tech implement and facility construct provide change opts
  • Do not try to transform large systems all at once
  • Small wins are very big
  • Brand the change through a communication campaign; combine data with mission and emotional messages
In addition to Dr. Dinneen, the panel consisted of:
  • John B. Chessare, MD, FACHE, President/ CEO, Greater Baltimore Medical Center
  • Greg Finnegan, FACHE, Director, Org Development and Training, Johns Hopkins Health System
  • Kevin Vigilante, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President and CMO, Booz Allen Hamilton

Eight Leadership Behaviors that Drive Employee Engagement Catalyst Learning
Last month at ASHHRA, Dr. Joseph Folkman, President, Zenger Folkman, used hard science to unlock the key to effective leadership.  Drawing on data gleaned from 360 assessments, statistics and case studies, Folkman shared eight behaviors and traits that drive engagement.  Does your leadership team have what it takes? 1. Ability to inspire and motivate. Those who are good at driving success are only 5 percent likely to be equally good at inspiring and motivating employees.  It’s about communicating powerfully and being adept at telling, asking and listening. 2. Set goals that stretch.  Experiences that do the most to build satisfaction are often difficult tasks. Leaders need to have the courage to ask team members to take on a challenging task. 3. Teamwork and collaboration. Leaders must conduct business and interact with employees in ways that model collaborative behavior. 4. Trust. There are three pillars to build trust: positive relationships; knowledge and expertise; consistency. 5. Clear vision and direction.  Leaders must have the ability to focus on the vista instead of looking at one’s own feet all the time. 6. Patient focus.  Delivering results, taking initiative and achieving difficult things takes time! 7. Building positive relationships.  This is accomplished by giving constructive feedback. Employees want the candid truth, but want it delivered in a positive manner.  Other relationship building tactics include developing employees and eliminating conflict. 8. Open to feedback and personal improvement.  Great leaders are not perfect, but they are good at a few critical competencies and build on those strengths. For further reading, Catalyst Learning has measured its own programs' impact on common employee engagement metrics.  To request a copy of our past study, please contact us.

Bon Secours Virginia: Best Practices in Leadership and Team Development Catalyst Learning
With over 22,000 employees, Bon Secours Virginia is one of the largest employers in the Richmond, VA region.  The organization has achieved the "Triple Crown" from Thomson Reuters, and has been recognized three times this year alone - for excellence in overall organization performance in the 2012 Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals. Additionally, Bon Secours has previously been named a “Best Place for Hourly Workers” by Working Mother Magazine.  Catalyst Learning has been proud to call this award-winning organization a customer since 2004 when it launched its first School at Work session; the organization has since graduated seven classes. One initiative that has helped the organization gain its accolades is its emerging leader program, STRIDE.  In 2009, Bon Secours launched STRIDE to support succession planning.  The STRIDE pilot revealed that stronger focus on career development was a top priority.  To augment these elements of the program, Bon Secours turned to Catalyst Learning to deploy another solution: CareerCare.  CareerCare is an online system that helps mid-level employees plan and manage their careers.  Like School at Work, it was designed exclusively for the healthcare industry. Stephanie Davidson, Ph.D. is Director of Organizational Development & Learning for Bon Secours. “We’ve refined STRIDE around CareerCare,” she said.  “In the beginning of the year-long program, the curriculum focuses on awareness building and personal branding.  Then we move on to career development; CareerCare’s modules are very self-reflective so they fit nicely with our curriculum and approach.” With the help of CareerCare, participants learn how to establish relationships with mentors and contacts that can help create opportunities.  They develop an individual career plan to plot their next steps and meet with Bon Secours recruiters to get advice. STRIDE participants have seen results: one cohort participant was promoted from recruiting specialist to practice manager for a physician practice; other participants have assumed leadership roles within their departments.  Overall, Bon Secours has noticed increased employee engagement, which has captured the attention of supervisors who now use STRIDE as a way to reward high potential employees.  This has won the support of executive leadership who has readily given approval to expand from one local market into two. Bon Secours is in the initial stages using another Catalyst Learning product to boost its training arsenal: Catalyst Accelerated Performance Series (CAPS).  CAPS classes are two hour seminars delivered by a hospital-appointed facilitator.  Like SAW, CAPS uses a blended learning model.  CAPS will be offered to approximately 200 employees to help improve their critical thinking and problem solving skills.  Bon Secours Virginia’s inaugural CAPS seminars will take place over four sessions this year, after which it will be evaluated for long-term implementation in 2013. Dr. Davidson says that “our partnership with Catalyst Learning continues to be an added strength to our organization.  After our success with School at Work, we are delighted to use the Accelerated Performance Series and CareerCare to provide development opportunities that allow more of our employees to grow within the organization.” For more information about ways that Catalyst Learning can support employees beyond the traditional School at Work employee profile, or to learn more about STRIDE, please contact Catalyst Learning.

Heartland Health Graduates Receive College Credit for School at Work Catalyst Learning

School at Work (SAW) participants at Heartland Health in St. Joseph, MO recently received an incredible graduation gift: college credit certificates.  A recent collaboration between Heartland and Missouri Western State University (MWSU) has assigned three credit hours to SAW. Heartland, a former Malcolm Baldrige recipient, joins the growing list of Catalyst Learning customers to provide college credits to graduates. "Obtaining college credit for SAW greatly increases the likelihood that students will earn a college degree.  It paves the way for successful long-term outcomes, which creates a win-win for the hospital and employee," says Catalyst Learning CEO Lynn Fischer. Heartland's SAW Co-Coaches David Mueller and Mary Bryson championed the idea during a March meeting with MWSU officials. Heartland provided MWSU with several documents including a listing of current class participants, a copy of the pre-assessment, a copy of Modules 9 & 10 on-line self-check, and copies of the student work books. Bryson says that shortly after the productive meeting, "We received an email that MWSU 'would be glad to provide our colleagues with three credit hours of Continuing Education Department credit, upon their successful completion of the SAW course'... Heartland picked up all the expense associated with the credit hours - what a great gift to our graduates!" Many Heartland SAW alumni were as pleased by the announcement as their newly graduating peers, such as former graduate Erynn Griffin. "It's awesome that MWSU and Heartland are giving that to the SAW students. I just finished my first year as a part-time student at MWSU and will be starting full-time in the fall." Another former student, Roxanne Maggart, recently received a BA in Social Work from MWSU. "My graduation from MWSU is a direct result of SAW and because of support from Mary Bryson and Dave Mueller," she says. To learn more about how to work with local institutions and bring this about at your organization, please contact Catalyst Learning. To speak with a representative from MWSU to learn about the process from the university perspective, Gordon Mapley, Ph.D., Dean & Executive Director may be reached at