I have found that the pursuit of cultivating leaders from within has helped to deliver on the promise of transformative growth for Master Center. While external hires may seem more attractive because of a proven track record, experience, or skills, harnessing the leadership potential of your existing team can be a game-changer. I realized this key strategy as I began my role as CEO in 2019, and started a program for high potential leaders called the Leadership Institute. This year, I am starting Master Center’s fourth Leadership Institute roundtable that meets bi-monthly to explore fundamental skills for our team members that are taking on leadership and management roles. Along with reading assignments and discussions, the group benefits from external guest speakers to cover important topics such as financial management and strategic planning. As I thought about writing this blog, I knew it would be important to include the perspective of some of the past participants to explore the benefits from their perspective.
Promoting from within is not just a cost-effective solution, but an investment in your workforce's future. By tapping into the potential of your current team members, you save on recruitment expenses and show your commitment to their growth. Justin, a participant in Master Center's Leadership Institute, attests that this internal investment reaps motivation and job satisfaction. The result? A talented, engaged workforce that's eager to contribute.
Heightened Morale and Engagement
Evan, another participant, resonates with the sentiment that employees who feel their personal development is valued tend to be more engaged. Through the Leadership Institute, he discovered that nurturing a culture of trust and empowerment is paramount. This approach, where leaders inspire leadership, not only cultivates trust but also yields a more productive and harmonious environment.
Elevated Organizational Performance
Becki’s experience underscores the profound influence of nurturing leaders from within on organizational performance. The Leadership Institute provided her with a platform to learn about different perspectives, fostering better communication and understanding among various departments. This translates into leaders who are more in tune with the company's core values and objectives, leading to improved alignment, higher profitability, and enhanced customer satisfaction.
A Robust Leadership Pipeline
Looking ahead, the significance of a strong leadership pipeline cannot be overstated. Justin's journey reveals how the Leadership Institute identified and nurtured potential successors for key roles. This approach ensures a seamless transition of responsibilities, preserving company stability and growth momentum.
In the words of Evan, participating in conversations with company leaders conveyed a simple but profound truth: leadership isn't just about authority; it's about inspiring others and building connections. Becki concurs, emphasizing the value of informed opinions and participative leadership. These insights from the Leadership Institute don't just apply to the workplace, but resonate deeply in personal lives as well.
In conclusion, nurturing leaders within your organization is a strategy that pays dividends in myriad ways. This approach is financially prudent, enhances morale and engagement, bolsters performance, and solidifies a path toward a prosperous future. Through investing in your team's growth, you not only build a loyal workforce but also fortify the core of your company with individuals who understand its heartbeat.
In your quest for success, remember that the potential to lead isn't found just in the external talent pool; it thrives within your own organization, waiting to be discovered, nurtured, and unleashed.
Anna McKean is a dynamic leader, fostering inspiration, driving innovation, and achieving notable outcomes in the ever-evolving healthcare sector. Serving as CEO of the Master Center for Addiction Medicine since 2019, Anna has steered its impressive growth from a single office to a network of nine, meeting the surging demand for top-notch outpatient addiction treatment throughout Virginia.
Anna's extensive executive experience spans her roles at Health Diagnostic Laboratory, PartnerMD, and KPMG, reflecting her depth of expertise in the industry. As chairman-elect, she is currently poised to take on the role of chairman for Virginia Health Innovation, serves as chairman of the board for the Richmond Strikers Soccer Club, and director of the PAN Foundation Board. Anna is a founding partner for LeadSpark, a consulting firm dedicated to driving business transformation.
Anna earned an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the University of Richmond.
Her visionary leadership and dedication are steering the healthcare landscape towards a brighter future.
Whether with an electronic click or turning a page, I always get a burst of energy as I move the calendar to a new year. Like many of us, I always seem to make the traditional personal New Year’s resolutions – get in better shape, tackle a home project, and spend more time with family and friends. According to a Global Consumer Survey conducted by Statista popular 2022 resolutions also included “spending less time on social media” and “reducing stress at work.”
January is also a good time to make New Year’s resolutions as a leader and to work with your employees to plan a productive and prosperous 2023. My top leadership New Year’s resolutions: Updating Organizational and Individual Goals, Recommitting to Employee Wellness, and Creating Personal Development Plans.
Your Organization’s 2023 Goals
Whether you lead a small or large group, it’s important for everyone to know what the focus and direction of the organization are for 2023. Do the goals need to be updated? How are your employees helping shape those goals? Does everyone know and understand the goals? Are individual employee goals tied back to the organization’s goals?
You may be mid-way through a fiscal year, or your performance plans may be aligned to the calendar year. In either case, January is a good time to check in with employees on their current goals and projects. Go beyond a quick “how is everything” and have a deeper discussion about how their time is spent, what roadblocks they may be encountering, and what resources they need to be successful. This is also a good time to make adjustments if needed.
Recommit to Employee Well-Being
In this time of both the employee “great resignation” and the “great reshuffle,” it’s more important than ever to focus on your retention efforts, which should include employee well-being. When was the last time you did an employee satisfaction survey? Do you have a process for regular employee feedback? If employees do leave, do you have a thorough exit interview to detect any systemic problems?
Regular Check-Ins and Strong Communications
The new year is a good time to take a hard look at your meeting schedule. Do you have too many? Do you have enough? Regular meetings with your direct reports (both virtual and in-person) are critical to both smooth operations and employee satisfaction. In my role as a CEO, I had brief weekly check-ins with all of my direct reports and scheduled monthly longer in-person updates.
It’s also a good idea to take an inventory of your communications methods and channels. Employees who feel like they are “in the know” are more invested. Make certain you have regularly scheduled updates on big projects, new policies, and individual and organizational wins. These updates should be delivered using a variety of methods – in person, virtual, electronic, and even old-fashioned printed newsletters and notices, especially if you have employees working in the field who may not have access to a computer and email.
If your company offers health insurance and other benefits, consider a January lunch and learn with HR to review the benefits offered, including those for dependents and mental health resources. Many deductibles reset in January, so it’s a good time for everyone to reassess their benefits.
Most of us take some time off during the holidays, so January feels like the wrong time to be thinking about our next vacation! But with the holiday decorations and gatherings over, January and February can be cold and dreary. Why not get folks looking ahead to vacation plans during spring break with their children, summer beach trips or fall getaways? It’s a way to get a sense of when people will be asking for time off and gives everyone something to look forward to.
Create Development Goals
I’m a firm believer that every employee (including the c-suite leaders) should have annual development goals. They don’t have to be elaborate; they can be as simple as a commitment to cross-training with another employee, attending a few training sessions or completing the renewal requirements for a professional credential.
The pandemic expanded the way we gather and learn. Virtual meetings and training have changed the way we do business and allow us to have greater accessibility to many types of professional development. However, this past year I’ve seen a renewed enthusiasm for in-person training and conferences. Strive to find a balance that works for employee schedules and your organization’s budget.
Whatever your professional and leadership New Year’s Resolutions are for 2023, be certain to write them down, share them, and hold yourself accountable with monthly check-ins. If you’d like to talk more about your 2023 goal setting, contact me at email@example.com. Happy New Year!
As a journalist, Public Relations professional, college professor and CEO, Paula Otto has held senior leadership roles for 25 years. Paula was part of the leadership team that created the Virginia Lottery and served as its executive director from 2008-2018. Paula recently returned to VCU as the Senior Director of Special Projects for the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and adjunct faculty member in the Robertson School. Paula is also a regular instructor for the Virginia Executive Institute.