Organizational Development Specialist
DCH Regional Medical Center
Interview and story by Karen Friend, a free lance business writer.
DCH Regional Medical Center has developed a Leadership Development Program that has been nationally recognized by The American Hospital Association Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems in a national publication: In Our Hands: How Hospital Leaders Can Build a Thriving Workforce. The program includes the use of Extended DISC.
In my role as Organizational Development Specialist at DCH Regional Medical Center, I design and deliver training modules as well as conduct team building activities within our organization. We have 4667 employees within the system and have used Extended DISC to assess about 300 of those employees through both our leadership development programs and our team building interventions.
About two years ago, like many healthcare organizations, we realized that as the nursing shortage became more and more apparent, recruiting and retaining employees was going to become a very important issue to us. We found that most people leave their position because of the relationship between themselves and their direct supervisor and in response to this issue, we embarked on designing a leadership development program.
Since that time, we have seen great success with our program. It has been nationally recognized by The American Hospital Association Commission on Workforce for Hospitals and Health Systems in a national publication: In Our Hands: How Hospital Leaders Can Build a Thriving Workforce.
Extended DISC plays a key role in the second phase of our training program which is focused on interpersonal skills. Participants complete the assessment prior to the workshop and then during the workshop, they learn to interpret their information and how to analyze the behaviors of others. Having these skills allows our leaders to be immediately more effective. They learn how to demonstrate chosen behaviors over natural behaviors and they begin to recognize when that is most appropriate.
Throughout the six sessions in this phase of our program, we practice through scenarios and role play. We write scenarios that are as close to real life as we can possibly make them…things that our leaders would actually face in their own offices in the healthcare system. When we setup these scenarios, we actually include the Extended DISC style of both parties in the scenario. Through these exercises, participants get very accustom to noticing the style of the person they are communicating with and what kind of choiceful behaviors they might want to include in this scenario as they play it out.
We have been very impressed with Extended DISC and with the results we are getting. I appreciate that it is so easy for the participants to understand and to use. After just a few hours together, participants have developed skills that help them identify the styles of others and how to adjust their own behaviors to improve their interactions. It also makes my job easier as a trainer because there is not a lot of subjectivity on my part. Participants complete the assessment online and it’s printed electronically. It’s a very clean process and it’s also very believable because the participants provide the data directly.
Since the addition of our leadership development program, we have seen an increase in our recruitment and retention percentages. While I can’t say that it is absolutely related to Extended DISC, it does certainly play a large part in our series. Participants continually identify Extended DISC as a strength in that phase of the program. They really value learning how to change their preferred behavior to a style that would be more effective for them and the employees that they interact with.
We’ve also used Extended DISC in team building experiences where we go out and consult with in-tact workgroups. We’ve found it to be very effective with team members and improving group dynamics.
One example of this was when we were working with a department that had a new leader. There had been a bad experience with the previous leader and it had created trust issues within the department. Even with a new leader coming on board, the people in this department had not been able to release what had happened before and were very distrusting.
We used Extended DISC with this department and in the assessments learned something that almost immediately changed the dynamics of this group. The group found that everyone in the department had very similar DISC assessments…including the new leader. They found that their values were very similar and that trust was the utmost important value for everyone….again, including the new leader.
This realization caused a huge shift in the department. You could almost instantly see a change in this group. They were able to talk more openly and engage in a much deeper level of communication because now they knew they all stood for the same thing.
The information gained from Extended DISC can really help a group come together and work as a whole.