In any workplace, large or small, it’s important for employees to feel supported — to know they are valued and that their personal and professional growth matter to those who lead them. Several years ago, members of our senior leadership team initiated a unique professional development program and philosophy called Leading with Values, an initiative intended to differentiate our company from others in our industry, and beyond. The goal was to create an environment of serving leadership — where leaders offer more guidance, encouragement, and compassion to foster employee growth, engagement, and empowerment.
Leading with Values has equipped and inspired thousands within our organization to be better communicators, mentors, and team members — by applying methods that support diversity and encouraging employees to be their best and do their best. Sessions are designed to produce serving leadership — those who advocate for their employees’ success and lead from a place of caring. The program’s many objectives include:
Structured as a five-day learning experience, Leading with Values includes conversations, role-playing, in-depth homework and classwork, presentations, and illustrations that help participants improve their approach to leadership.
One such illustration is the balanced leadership wake — the concept that results move at the speed of relationships. It portrays the leader as a ship, and their influence as the wake they leave behind. The goal is to achieve the proper balance between results (the wake on the right side) and relationships (the wake on the left). The lesson shows how leaning too heavily to one side causes the other to suffer.
“Leadership is about choices,” says Stephen Busenlehner, our former director of Serving Leadership (now part of our Customer Experience team). “And when we make more intentional choices that show us at our best, we're all getting better. We're all growing and creating strength within.”
More than 5,000 employees have completed Leading with Values since 2014. With such widespread adoption, the program is credited with helping improve alignment on common goals and core values, increasing employee engagement and retention, and even improving patient care.
Busenlehner experienced Leading with Values as a new employee in 2015 and has personally helped lead thousands through the training. He believes it has been embraced by so many because our leaders demonstrate its principles every day.
“Our senior-most leadership believes in it,” says Busenlehner. “They speak to it. You can't go through a call or presentation without them talking about serving leadership and how it is foundational to all that we do.”
Leading with Values fosters a culture of caring through concepts that increase collaboration and help employees feel heard and more empowered. Ultimately, we want to see these practices and beliefs influence our entire organization, as well as the patients who depend on us.
With a focus on positive experiences and results, we’ve made Leading with Values a key component of our professional development and corporate responsibility framework, providing the tools employees need to become ambassadors for serving leadership. Through these and other opportunities, we’re ensuring that all who depend on us — our people, our partners, and our patients — have the resources required to succeed.