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LEADS Community for Practice Exchange Day


2016 Exchange Day Mastermind Topics

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The following is a summary of the Mastermind Group topics that were shared at the LEADS Day. Some of the tools are available only to the LEADS Community for Practice clients. We hope that this will generate discussion and foster connections. Please feel free to pose questions in the discussion forum area or share your tools and thoughts.

If you are not a part of the LEADS Community for Practice, please contact us to find out how you can join.


Mastermind Groups:  Bringing LEADS to life

In small groups, participants gathered around seven different topics. The purpose of these informal, interactive sessions was for participants to share thoughts, ideas and learnings as the lead for each discussion brought forward an idea, tool, topic or question.  What follows is the sharing of these tools and a very brief summary of what was shared in the larger group. These do not capture the richness of the small group discussions, but provide a glimpse into the what was important for those in the room. Links to tools are provided where available.

The seven topics discussed were:

  1. Integrating LEADS into People Management Strategies
  2. Leveraging the Power of LEADS in the Public Sector
  3. Building the Business Case for Leadership Development
  4. Building Leadership Capacity Together
  5. Supporting LEADS Development in Practice
  6. Bringing LEADS to Healthcare Boards
  7. New to LEADS – where do I start?


Mastermind # 1: Integrating LEADS into People Management Strategies

Help!  Healthcare partner seeking knowledge, experience sharing and support from you – the experts in the room!
At Sun Country Health Region in southeast Saskatchewan we wholeheartedly embrace LEADS in a Caring Environment framework as the foundation to create and manage change. Our LEADS journey began approximately 28 months ago. Today there are many successes to celebrate as a result of intentional planning and practical groundwork. Now our desire is to link the extensive opportunities that exist with LEADS, Executive Coaching and Strengths Deployment Inventory into a comprehensive leadership development strategy (i.e. function, form, capacity, resources, etc., etc.). The far-reaching plan would align and inspire our Vision – Healthy People, Healthy Communities!  

We are looking to hear from you on topics such as where to start, hearing what you have done, what tools can we incorporate that already exist and who can help us.

Michelle Gilchrist, Lead Specialist - Kaizen Promotion Office
Sun Country Health Region

Michelle Gilchrist led the mastermind discussions on the topic: Integrating LEADS into Leadership Development Strategies. Participants discussed a variety of topics that are summarized below:

People development and talent management is about action, not position and fits well within a distributed leadership model. All of the work is contextualized to the organization, but is anchored in LEADS: 360 Assessments, Job Descriptions, Recruitment, Skill/Gap Analysis, Performance Management, Mentorship, Employee Recognition, Succession Planning). Coaching is a foundational support to bring LEADS to life throughout an organization.

The group recognized that leadership development is critical at all levels, but focused on the fact it is vital to include those at the point of care, who do not necessarily see themselves as leaders and yet, they are the face of the organization.

The group discussed the LEADS integration groundwork completed to date at Sun Country Health (Visual handout attached), as well as at some other organizations. Participants shared openly in the spirit of learning from one another.  It was evident we must mobilize the knowledge that already exists with our national healthcare community. Tools from Hamilton Health, the Saskatoon Health Region, St. Michael’s Hospital, Bruyère, etc. are available here [link to tools on community for practice)

The key theme emerging from the mastermind exercise was that the burning platform of each organization might require the journey to begin from a different starting point. The key is to BEGIN.  The flexibility of the LEADS framework and LEADS tools supports this. The framework is designed to be stand-alone OR adaptive, to integrate and enhance existing people development programs.

The team at LEADS Canada is your partner to align your organization’s needs with the LEADS framework.

Handout #1



Mastermind # 2: Leveraging the Power of LEADS in the Public Sector

At this point, all levels of government have realized that transformation is an imperative, in order to remain relevant, sustainable and successful in the VUCA (Volatile, Ambiguous, Complex and Uncertain) world. In other words, the public sector must modernize how it performs its core business: public policy, governance and service delivery. This also applies to the para-public sector, including health care.

This massive transformation means more people will have to provide better leadership across the system. Consequently, governments are trying to significantly upgrade and integrate their leadership talent management infrastructures, and are looking for proven models to anchor their efforts.
LEADS is well established on the national and international scenes, and many levels of government would be happy to embrace this ready-made, robust, sound framework if they knew about it. Its origins in the para-public sector, as well as professional products and services such as coaching, consulting and training, make it even more attractive.
The session focused on brainstorming a variety of options to inform the public sector of LEADS through a wide range of strategies.

Françoise Morissette, Principal, Talent to Mastery Corporation; Faculty and Fellow
Queen’s University’s IRC

Remaining fit for purpose means in the VUCA world means extensive systems transformation, innovation and culture shifting. LEADS can provide a common language, not only in leadership development, but in change, culture and organizational transformation.

Participants discussed a variety of drivers to match LEADS as an ideal solution for the main challenges currently facing the public sector.  

Transformation Context
Transformation is primarily fueled by external drivers: changing citizen expectations, especially from the millenials; rapidly evolving technology, specifically the need for just in time analytics; competitiveness, especially the need for pervasive and ongoing innovation.

Currently, most governments are realizing that their structure, culture and processes are hindering their ability to perform to current standards with regards to agility, responsiveness, innovation, engagement, decision making, problem solving etc. Avoiding increasing irrelevance means:

Enhancing Distributed Leadership
Transformation requires more and better leadership, from every stakeholder as well as from the organization. In other words: extensive and powerful leadership capacity from the workforce (organization of leaders), as well as the workplace (leading organization).  

LEADS was designed according to a distributed leadership premise: all leaders, regardless of their position, are expected to lead. How they put this into practice depends on context. Currently most public sector leadership development efforts focus on designated leaders: supervisors, managers and executives for whom leadership is an integral part of their job description.

Although this target group is worthy of attention, large scale transformation is impossible without leveraging distributed leaders. The public sector will have to adopt a distributed leadership model, and put in place the infrastructures to implement and sustain it. LEADS is uniquely positioned to be the framework of choice, as it has proven its effectiveness as a distributed leadership model in the para-public sector, nationally and internationally.

Growing Change Capacity and Resilience
Transformation inevitably generates a high volume of change. This means improving organizational and individual capacity to lead change (strategic aspect) and adapt to change (transition aspect).

It is about influencing and growing change competence and confidence at the individual and organizational levels. For instance, working with others to develop a change process, and enabling people to work through transition with minimum trauma. The LEADS framework was designed to transform the health care system. Therefore, it’s ideal as a change and transformation blueprint.

Integrating and Aligning Talent Management Systems
In the past, talent management systems were constructed around technical expertise: from talent acquisition, to onboarding, development, deployment, promotion, retention, performance management, termination… technical expertise was the core.

Today, organizations have realized that technical expertise is only one component of the successful employee profile. The popular T Shaped model captures this new paradigm: employees need ‘portable’ skills that apply to everyone, regardless of expertise. These skills typically include clusters like: interpersonal, leadership, cognitive, creative and communication skills.


Mastermind Session #3: The Business Case for LEADS

We know that it is their people that allow organizations to move forward, to achieve their goals and where new ideas and innovations come from. And investing in leadership development is one way to be deliberate about this. How do we help organizations build the Business Case for leadership development? What is essential in these cases, what lands for those who need to make budget decisions and what has worked for others?

Brenda Lammi, Director
LEADS Canada

Brenda Lammi led the mastermind discussions on the topic: Building the Business Care for LEADS and leadership development with the senior leadership team. The group discussed a variety of strategic points that a business case can highlight. These are summarized below.

Link to Strategic Plan and Goals
Tune into the strategic plan and performance goals and link the leadership development strategy directly to these. Make the link with the specific domains and capabilities and highlight what difference it could make if leaders were better at these capabilities.

Link to Accreditation Process
The LEADS capabilities have been integrated into the leadership standards outlined by Accreditation Canada. Framing the adoption of LEADS with the opportunity to achieve exemplary status in this area of accreditation might appeal to senior leadership.

Link to Cost
Research has shown that disengagement leads to increased cost and higher staff turnover.  Emphasis on leadership development with a focus on engaging others, fostering the development of others, building teams, creating a health environment and increasing trust will increase engagement. When LEADS is integrated across a talent management strategy, it links recruitment efforts with retention efforts and succession planning and facilitates discussions across all programs. By integrating LEADS into job descriptions, feedback and performance conversations and development plans for succession planning across the organization, efforts are streamlined and integrated.

It builds on the work already done in the organization
Adopting the LEADS framework does not mean that the organization has to start over. In fact, it provides the opportunity to tie all of the work that has already been done into one strategy that provides a common language and links efforts. It complements and builds on the work that has already been carried out.

Point out others who have adopted LEADS
The healthcare environment is careful about its investments and organizations often want to know what others are doing and what has worked. LEADS Canada has information on how organizations have used LEADS. There is an uptake trend across the country. Not having a leadership development strategy could be a competitive disadvantage.

Address Senior Leadership Questions
Senior leadership teams want to understand what is in it for them as they make leadership (or any other) investment decisions. Your business case must address the following questions:
  • How will the program outcomes / impact affect the achievement of the strategic performance goals?
  • What is the investment required (this year and on an ongoing basis)?
  • What resources / tools are available from LEADS Canada and network partners?
  • How does it address the senior leadership priorities vs. the OD/HR priorities?
  • What is the risk of not investing in leadership?
  • The LEADS 360 assessments and aggregate reports provide an opportunity to guide and prioritize leadership investment and measure change.
It is important to understand what is important to senior leadership in your organization and how decisions are made as well as influences on that decision-making process. Align your business case with what is important to them. Build relationships and ask them about their needs. Demonstrate the return on investment in areas that matter to them and build in an evaluation process that does exactly that.


Mastermind Session #4: Building Leadership Capacity Together

Canada’s healthcare leaders are experiencing unprecedented change.  With heightened use of distributed/collective/shared leadership models arising across this country to deliver care and service, leadership now “sits in every chair”. Nurses, physicians, pharmacists and the many other groups who comprise the health workforce need to develop new skills and knowledge to carry out the health reform initiatives, such as Triple AIM, required of them. As a patient and family-centred system, how can we build our health leaders for tomorrow and ensure leadership development is part of transformative efforts by provincial, territorial and federal ministries of health?

Kelly Grimes, Executive Director

Kelly Grimes led the mastermind discussions this topic and participants discussed a variety of topics that are summarized below:

Even though healthcare reform take place in each of the 14 health systems across Canada, four common elements of reform were identified:
  • All are looking for a more integrated approach to health care delivery, whether that refers to integration of care across the continuum of care, a more integrated human resources approach to care delivery or a more integrated public health and health promotion approach at the policy level.
  • All have to adapt a central framework but could be adapted to the local context across regions. It also comes with a more patient-centered approach and increased bed side (or point or care) power and accountability.
  • All are looking for a shared approach to build leadership capacity.
  • All reforms and innovations require safe conversations and the opportunity to share differing perspectives. It also requires a different sort of listening and curiosity.
Four pillars for these reforms were identified:
  • We need roadmaps that are more disruptive that allow people to dream and which create new energy.  Transformational change requires disruption.
  • It requires a clear, collective vision. The current vision is blurry. How will we work together on this?
  • There is a lack of accountability and responsibility to ensure leaders are built for tomorrow.  Efforts now are peripatetic and not strategic in approach.
  • There is a need for enhanced capacity to lead change. System change is huge and difficult. Large scale transformation requires small scale change first that then can be applied across the system and integrated into current work.


Mastermind Session #5: Supporting LEADS Development in Practice

LEADS Canada wants to make sure that you have the tools and feel supported in integrating LEADS into your organization. We want to know what service delivery and/or tools are most important to you as we think about how and what we offer. In this listening session we want to know what matters to you. What would you like to see and if you could dream up a service that would help you do exactly what you need, what would it be? Whether you are just starting to thinking about bringing LEADS into your organization or whether you are taking LEADS to the next level, we are interested in your needs, wishes and dreams.  This will help us evaluate our services and helps us co-create what you are looking for.

Ellen Melis, LEADS Certified Coach and Facilitator
LEADS Canada Advisor, President, Unlimited Potential, Doctoral Student Leadership and Change, Antioch University

Participants discussed several areas of needs for LEADS support. A summary of needs is outlined below. The LEADS Community for Practiceis meant so serve many of these needs:
  • Materials for engaging physicians (and other health professionals) early
    • Materials and approaches for short (3 hours in duration or so) interactions with residents (and others) to engage them in leadership development discussions about how they can find their leadership voice and engage with others to build a better organization tomorrow.
  • Repository of what has been done in LEADS across the country    
    • Create an easy to navigate inventory of what has been done across the country for the purpose of sharing ideas, tools and and connecting people.
  • Bite-Size LEADS Content
    • Our people are busy and it is difficult to find time to attend face to face events, especially our care providers. Provide us with bite-size content that his accessible, combined local, regional, national and global connections and is virtual.
  • Build Internal Capacity for LEADS learning
    • Help us spread LEADS internally. How can we use LEADS language more? How can we equip mentors with LEADS language and tools? Provide an online portal of resources that allows us to find tools to bring LEADS into organizations.
  • Assessment Tools
    • Participants are looking for tools then helped them assess leadership capacity pre- and post- development initiatives and are looking for ways to report back on the value and impact of leadership development work.
  • Feed Forward and Coaching with LEADS
    • As organizations are incorporating LEADS into desired leadership behaviours, participants are looking to equip leaders with the skills to have different conversations with their teams on feedback and development (called feed forward) and coaching skills for the growth of others.




Mastermind Session #6: Bringing LEADS to Healthcare Boards

Canadian healthcare boards have a challenging job. They face mounting expectations from all sides – including the public and politicians, as well as healthcare administrators. At the same time, trustees sometimes do not feel as if their skills and talents are being fully used. The board role is evolving as well, with new concepts of board leadership emerging. We developed a monograph to bring LEADS to the healthcare Boardroom as a resource for boards and trustees. We want to know whether the message resonates. Is this approach worthwhile? Is LEADS a useful framework to support and strengthen governance practices? Would the Monograph be a valuable educational resource for board / trustee orientation? What about ongoing Board development? Your input will help us refine the monograph and the approach so that the resource is as helpful as possible for boards and trustees.

Garth Waite, Organizational and Board Development Lead
Health PEI

Dale Schierbeck, CTDP. Vice-President, Learning and Development


LEADS in Governance
Governance Leadership Monograph




Mastermind Session #7: New to LEADS – where to I start?

Adopting LEADS as the framework for leadership development and integrating this into organizational culture and talent management can be daunting.  In this mastermind session, participants are invited to share their thoughts and advice for those we are new to LEADS and are thinking of adopting LEADS in their organization.

Shauna Fenwick, LEADS Certified Facilitator
Fenwick Leadership Explorations

Shauna Fenwick led the mastermind discussions on the topic: New to LEADS, where do I get started? The group discussed a variety of topics that are summarized below.

Adopting LEADS, and with it a leadership cultural shift is a journey that requires buy-in throughout the organization, but especially from senior leadership and partners. It is important to define what you want LEADS to do for your organization and to align it with your organization’s strategic plan. The LEADS strategy needs to speak to the heart and mind, and align with organization values. In fact, LEADS can be a way to make your values come to life and enhance your people’s capability to lead.

Embedding LEADS into the organization requires the use of LEADS language to highlight progress. The success stories you tell can be brought back to “and that aligns with…. In LEADS” (referring to a particular domain). The LEADS framework ties your talent management strategies together and provides for a common language. The value of that common language cannot be underestimated.

Development goals need to function on organizational levels as well as department, team and individual levels. They need to link up, down and laterally, much like a kaleidoscope.

When you are on this journey, acknowledge, acknowledge, acknowledge (progress, integration, people, the presence of LEADS capabilities, integrative thinking, etc.). Make acknowledgement personal and celebrate achievement. Share success stories. Make it come alive. Integrate LEADS into you people management processes, your job descriptions, your feedback process, your performance programs. Make it part of your new organizational practices.

Participants commented on the Nike slogan “Just do It” and encouraged others to get started and to start “where you are at”. There are many others in the LEADS Community for Practice who are happy to share their tools and experience.


See tools shared at 2015 LEADS Exchange Day