Qualitative research studying the effect LOH had for its first three cohorts of participants.
Transformative Impact of an Educational Program on Leading Organizational Change
Presented at the International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, Chicago, October 18, 2011
Introduction: Given the demonstrable impact of organizational culture on the quality and patient
centered-ness of care, leading organizational change and fostering a relational workplace are crucial
healthcare leadership competencies. Because most leaders are exposed only to traditional change
management methodologies which reinforce values antithetical to Relationship-centered Care (control
and depersonalization), we established a leadership education program to disseminate more relational
Methods: Leading Organizations to Health (LOH) is a 10-month program comprised of four highly
experiential 3-day retreats that integrate contemporary leadership and change theories, communication
and facilitation skills, and reflective practice to foster authentic and courageous presence. Facilitated
monthly small-group peer-coaching calls support participants in applying their learning to current
leadership challenges at their home institutions – the ultimate learning laboratory. Five cohorts have
completed the program.
Evaluation: We asked participants in the first three cohorts to reflect on the program’s impact using
semi-structured telephone interviews conducted 1-3 years after they completed the program; 19 of the
23 eligible physicians, nurses, social-workers, behavioral scientists, educators and professional managers
participated. The greatest reported impact was in the domain of leadership presence: transformational
change from emotional reactivity to mindfulness (10 people), from seeing one best answer to embracing
multiple perspectives and emergent new solutions (6), and from seeking to control others to influencing
them and sharing responsibility (3). Participants also reported greater awareness of relational dynamics,
improved capacity for difficult conversations, greater effectiveness in empowering and facilitating
groups, greater tolerance for uncertainty, and greater ability to maintain a relational style in the face of
disapproval from important others. Most felt that their ability to influence organizational culture and
behavior had increased.
Implications: Transformational change in leadership style congruent with and supportive of
Relationship-centered Care can be achieved for diverse, receptive participants in a program with <95
Nicole A. Steckler, PhD, Associate Professor, Oregon Health & Sciences University
Penelope R. Williamson, ScD, Associate Professor, Part Time, Johns Hopkins University School of
Medicine; and Senior Consultant, Relationship Centered Health Care.
Diane B. Rawlins, M.A., LMHC, President, InsideOut Consulting LLC and Senior Consultant, Relationship
Centered Health Care
Anthony L. Suchman, MD, MA, Senior Consultant, Healthcare Consultancy, The McArdle Ramerman