Published on February 2, 2009
Case Study Leadership Development at Toronto Rehab: Aligning Thinking With Behavior Brett Richards and t can be challenging to get included in this article, as well as a I Patricia Howard managers to adopt behaviors that description of how “thinking” was are necessary to achieve new and used to build alignment and create evolving corporate strategies. This a common language to achieve case study shows how Toronto success. Rehab positioned its leadership development initiative to align with 1. Establish Accountability its overall corporate strategy. Framework® for the New Culture of Accountabilities The combined energy and Mapping the Process to Success The sidebar, “A Snapshot of the expertise of three hospitals that Process From Start to Finish,” merged in 1998 resulted in the provides an overview of the process creation of Toronto Rehabilitation and the tools that Toronto Rehab1 Institute (Toronto Rehab). This used to successfully integrate new rehab teaching hospital leadership development with immediately established a vision, performance management and, mission, and core values to provide ultimately, how they were able to clear direction and operating use both to augment their overall parameters for the road ahead. organizational strategy. Detailed Building on that foundation, ﬁve descriptions of each step are factors were identiﬁed to serve as ASSOCIATION FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION www.aqp.org 36
Figure 1 A Snapshot of the Process From Start to Finish 1. Establish an “accountability framework” for the new culture of accountabilities. Success Factor 5 Success Factor 1 2. Develop core leadership behaviors to support Use resources Focus on those the accountabilities. wisely we serve 3. Analyze the underlying thinking processes. To advance rehabilitation 4. Personalize leadership competencies. Success Factor 4 Success Factor 2 and enhance 5. Conduct leadership retreats to bring behaviors Build effective Foster personal quality of life relationships growth and team into view (four, two-day off-site retreats). Use the achievement SmartSkills framework to achieve the retreat goals and dialogue with the CEO concerning Success Factor 3 key cultural and leadership challenges. Pursue innovation 6. Conduct a full management team retreat, reviewing the ﬁnal summary of leader competencies and deﬁning actions to achieve CORE VALUES the vision and meet the future with success. Caring Discovery Learning Collaboration Accountability Advocacy 7. Integrate, determine the impact of, and apply what was learned during the training—what people said, how it helped them, and how to track organizational integration. Change leadership. • • Partnership development. • Resource management. indicators of success in achieving the vision. (See The result was a fit between role function require- Figure 1.) These success factors were used to create an ments and the competencies required to carry them out. accountability framework2 against which individual performance, organizational progress, and adherence to 3. Analyze Underlying Thinking Processes the core values could be measured. These factors also Quality Thinking —Quality Results form the basis upon which the hospital measures its Research and observational experience shows us that performance through a corporate balanced scorecard. thinking inﬂuences behavior. Our thinking process— how we think — affects our decisions, actions, and 2. Develop Core Leadership Behaviors to consequently the results we get. Quality performance in Support Accountabilities all walks of life is governed by quality thinking. Figure 2 All Toronto Rehab leaders evaluated their per- shows how thinking ultimately affects results. formance in the context of their accountability to the five success factors. The next step was to develop Figure 2 role maps that spelled out the key responsibilities that define each leadership role and align with each Results (The results you get) of the five success factors. Finally, the following core leadership competencies or behaviors were Actions distinguished that would ensure leadership success: (The actions you take) • Customer focus. Thoughts • Personal effectiveness. (What conclusions you reach) • Personal leadership. Thinking Jerry Rhodes, • Continuous innovation. (How you process data) The Colours of Your Mind Spring 2004 THE JOURNAL FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION 37
When working through difficult tasks, people Figure 3 rarely consider how their own thinking processes Underlying and Required Core impact the results they want to achieve. More than “Thinking Process” Leadership 20 years ago, Jerry Rhodes’ collaborative work with Leader Competency Philips, the Holland-based multinational, sought Competency “Behavior” to uncover the deep roots of thinking to make the Fulfillment invisible process that affects everything we do — our thinking process — tangible and explicit. The Harvard Personal Thinking Preferences Business School Press recently published Harvard “Thinking Style” Business Review on Breakthrough Thinking, which • What types of thinking motivate me the most? What kinds dedicates an entire chapter to analyzing the merits of tasks do I prefer? of our thinking process. As the book says, “We all • What tools and strategies can I use to adapt my thinking have habits of thought that influence how we make and behavior to fulfill the competency? • How do I need to adapt my thinking to match the decisions and interact with others.” The whole behavioral competency? notion of “thinking about thinking” is starting to © Connective Intelligence take hold in the business community primarily because of the recognition that in a knowledge economy it is brains that will give organizations It creates an opportunity for leaders to compare • their competitive edge. their personal thinking preferences with the thinking that is actually required to fulfill the Thinking Drives Behavior core leadership competency. In most cases, leaders No doubt, thinking drives behavior to a large degree; and managers are struck by how closely their therefore, we can examine any desired set of behaviors, personal thinking preferences match the such as leadership competencies, through the lens leadership competencies in which they feel most of thinking. From Toronto Rehab’s perspective, an effective. For example, one Toronto Rehab leader organization’s leadership competencies are intended realized that the leadership competencies that she to be an expression of particular manager/leader preferred and felt most comfortable with might behaviors that are necessary to achieve the vision, not necessarily be the same type of behaviors that mission, and core accountabilities. her people needed her to emphasize. In times of organizational change and transfor- • It augments performance management, providing mation, it’s absolutely critical that managers and leaders and managers with practical strategies and leaders know exactly what is expected of them. tools for adapting their thinking and behavior Specifically managers need to know what behaviors to improve areas of weakness or avoidance. they will need to emphasize, where they will need to Ultimately it increases their effectiveness at fulﬁlling change or develop, how their performance will be the organization’s vision, mission, and core measured, and how the organization will hold them accountabilities. accountable to the new practices and modes of behavior. Creating a strong link between thinking, Performance Management behavior, and personal preferences and abilities adds Aligning behavioral competencies with personal a powerful dimension to leadership development. thinking preferences provides tangible information and builds a platform in which leaders and managers can 4. Personalize Leadership Competencies celebrate personal competence and develop strategies to The process of examining an organization’s leader- improve their performance. It provides an opportunity ship competencies through the lens of thinking is for leaders to “personalize” the organization’s helpful for a number of reasons: competencies by integrating them within their own • It provides another way to understand the frames of reference. The new, common language competency and provides a common language provides a nonjudgmental vehicle for leaders to for discussion between managers and leaders. engage in more productive, performance-related ASSOCIATION FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION www.aqp.org 38
personal proﬁle when they attended the workshop. Frames of Mind During the course of the workshop, leaders compared their personal thinking preferences with the new The SmartSkills frame provides six frames of mind, leadership competencies through small group and as follows: one-on-one application exercises. The process opened The Logical Mindframe—Hard Blue: The type of up many avenues for valuable discussions concerning thinking that is driven by relevance, proof, Toronto Rehab’s transforming culture and the new comparisons, and disciplined and logical reasoning. leadership philosophy. It also provided a rich, nonjudgmental learning environment in which The Personal/Evaluative Mindframe—Soft Blue: leaders could reaffirm their strengths and develop The type of thinking that is driven by action, practical strategies to improve their own leadership personal values, commitments, enthusiasm, and effectiveness. personal views. One key objective of the retreat was to offer leaders The Analytical Mindframe—Hard Red: The type of an opportunity to discover their thinking style thinking that is driven by realism, quantitative preferences and explore the relationship between information, data, precision, organization, and a thinking and their performance or behavior. We sense of context. chose Jerry Rhodes’ Model of Effective Intelligence, The Impressionistic Mindframe—Soft Red: The trademarked SmartSkills® in North America, as the type of thinking that is driven by impressions, framework for this analysis since our primary goal sensitivity, qualitative information, concern for was to build the team and create opportunities for communication, and a holistic perspective. sharing and getting to know each other. Thinking The Ingenious Mindframe—Hard Green: The type styles was a new and unique approach that was very of thinking that is driven by ideas, options, and appropriate for a group of seasoned managers in a outside-the-box approaches. growing organization. The sidebar, “Frames of Mind,” describes the six categories within the SmartSkills The Imaginative Mindframe—Soft Green: The type framework, and Figure 4 provides a visual display of of thinking that is driven by hunches, metaphors, how they are aligned. “what if” scenarios, vision, and imagination. Figure 4 discussions because it allows them to depersonalize Hard Red Hard Blue Hard Green the behavior and focus instead on the thinking ANALYTICAL LOGICAL INGENIOUS process that is being utilized, not the thinker. Figure 3 illustrates these relationships and key questions to BLUE RED GREEN ask to discern each person’s thinking. Judge Describe Realize What’s right? What’s true? What’s new? 5. Conduct Leadership Retreats to Bring Behaviors Into View PERSONAL/ IMPRESSIONISTIC IMAGINATIVE Once the role maps and core competencies were EVALUATIVE Soft Red Soft Green Soft Blue developed, leadership at Toronto Rehab was explored. Sixty-three managers and directors each attended a © Jerry Rhodes two-day, off-site retreat. The overall goals of the retreat were to encourage leaders to explore their Color-Coding Leadership Competencies individual leadership styles against the backdrop We analyzed each of the competency sets to of Toronto Rehab’s newly developed leadership determine what type of thinking was driving its competencies, create a common language, and build a cohesive vision for the future. use. A SmartSkills frame was located beside each Prior to attending the leadership retreats, the competency set to indicate the relative emphasis managers each completed the Rhodes’ Thinking- of thinking required to successfully achieve the Intentions Profile (TIP) online and then received a specified behaviors. Spring 2004 THE JOURNAL FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION 39
Dialogue With the CEO About Key Cultural and Leadership Challenges Figure 5 shows the SmartsSkills frame for the Through the course of the workshop, participants following example: explored the dynamics of Toronto Rehab’s organiza- tional culture and identified the key challenges Figure 5 facing them as they moved forward to achieve the organization’s vision. Each group presented its perspective on the organizational culture and its Hard Red Hard Green list of key challenges to the CEO in an open forum (ANALYTICAL) (INGENIOUS) discussion to build understanding and clarity. 6. Conduct Full Management Team Retreat Soft Red A ﬁnal one-day retreat, conducted two months later, (IMPRESSIONISTIC) brought the entire leadership team together in one place to synthesize the data from the earlier series of retreats. The goal was to provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges and identify potential actions that might address the challenges, as well Corporate accountability: Customer focus as to reinforce the SmartSkills knowledge through Leadership competency: Satisfy customer needs application exercises. Description: Avoid assumptions about what they 7. Integrate, Determine Impact, and Apply What do or do not need; actively seek to understand Was Learned During Training the needs of all customers — both internal and An initial evaluation of the retreats indicated external to the organization. Seek out and managers and directors were using what they had produce win/win solutions. learned to improve communications with their staff and colleagues. Some of their comments are listed Interpretation: To successfully fulfill this specific below: leadership competency, individuals will need to avoid making assumptions about what customers • “Helped me feel more connected and committed do or do not need. They will need to emphasize to the organization.” (Red) descriptive thinking, specifying and really • “Helpful insight into my individual leadership styles listening to what the customer is actually saying and when a preferred style can be a hindrance.” without making premature judgments (Blue) • “One of the most powerful exercises I have ever about what they think the customer needs or participated in.” should need based upon personal opinions • “Great insight.” and assumptions. Individuals will also need a • “Painful, but it had to be.” certain amount of (Green) creative thinking, • “Starting to think of ourselves as one team.” demonstrating flexibility and a willingness to identify multiple options while exploring Managers suggested frequent follow-up sessions to possible win/win solutions. help them further apply the knowledge gained at the retreats. They also recommended taking the process to the program level so that program teams could build a The degree to which individuals will be able to sense of community. Finally, they requested the use of tap into this type of thinking (and avoid others) experiential exercises at management meetings to keep largely depends upon their personal thinking style the process going forward. preferences. Individuals who have a natural desire and preference for these types of thinking will, in Developing In-House Expertise most cases, find it easier to successfully fulfill this Since the retreats, Toronto Rehab’s training and particular leadership competency. organizational development consultants have attended ASSOCIATION FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION www.aqp.org 40
a three-day intensive SmartSkills licensing program Brett Richards is an innovator, performance coach, developed to provide in-house practitioners with the and energizing facilitator. In addition to being a skills to continue integrating the process throughout master trainer in the SmartSkills® System of Effective their organizations. They have successfully used the Intelligence, he also holds certifications in EQi SmartSkills model for team building and one-on-one (emotional intelligence) and executive coaching. performance coaching with hospital staff. They now He can be contacted at 866-848-6548 or via plan to act on the suggestion from the leadership e-mail at email@example.com . team to roll out the SmartSkills framework to all Toronto Rehab staff. They believe that developing a Patricia Howard is the director of education and common language across the organization can organizational effectiveness at Baycrest Centre contribute to enhanced communication between all for Geriatric Care. She has a degree in health staff in this large, multisite organization. administration and has had a long career in education and organizational development. She was previously References the director of training and organizational development For further information about Toronto Rehab visit its Web site 1 at Toronto Rehab, as well as manager of training for executive ofﬁces at www.torontorehab.com . at Scotiabank, director of educational services at Mississauga Hospital, The Accountability Framework® developed by Kemerer Group 2 and ran her own independent consulting practice for several years. International, is an integrated method of displaying the success factors on which an organization needs to concentrate in order to achieve the corporate vision. Harvard Business Review on Breakthrough Thinking, Harvard 3 Business School Press, 1999, pp. 57-85. Spring 2004 THE JOURNAL FOR QUALITY & PARTICIPATION 41
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