A Team of Leaders in Government

The spotlight is shining brightly of late on the hidden value of organizational health and how to capture it. Even all the way to Washington, D.C.

Before delving into this very public discovery, let’s digest a commanding reference that uncovers a strong incentive for ailing entities to maintain sustained organizational health. According to a recent article[1] in McKinsey Quarterly:

“Sustained organizational health is among the most powerful assets a company can build. Healthy companies generate total returns to shareholders three times higher than those of unhealthy ones.”

Apparently that’s not so when it comes to the U.S. Veterans Health Administration (VHA).

An Unhealthy Environment

Consider the recent scandal that came to a head late last month when President Barack Obama ordered a White House investigation in regard to U.S. Armed Forces veterans dying while waiting for care at the VHA facility in Phoenix and others across the country.

The investigation identified “significant and chronic system failures” and a “corrosive culture” inside the VHA, as widely reported by major news media outlets.

The timeline, starting in late April 2014 leading up to President Obama’s ordered investigation, is as follows:

  • April 30: CNN reported that at least 40 U.S. Armed Forces veterans died while waiting for care at the VHA facilities in Phoenix.
  • June 5: VHA internal investigations had identified a total of 35 veterans who had died while waiting for care in the Phoenix VHA system.
  • May 16: The VHA’s top health official retired early at the request of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA).
  • May 30: That same Secretary resigned from office amid the fallout from the controversy.
  • Early June: Several other VA medical centers around the nation have been identified with the same problems as the Phoenix facility. The investigations widened.
  • June 9: An internal VA audit found that more than 120,000 veterans were left waiting or never got care. Pressures were placed on schedulers to use unofficial lists or engage in inappropriate practices to make waiting times appear more favorable.
  • June 11: The Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a criminal investigation of the VA.

There you have it: The epitome of an unhealthy organization. That’s a far cry from the days when Stewart Liff held many high-level positions throughout his federal career.

During one of his last assignments, he managed the VA’s Los Angeles Regional Office, which employed more than 400 people. As a result of his efforts, which included the implementation of Team Development, Visual Performance Management and Human Resources Management, that office improved its:

> grant rate by 50%

>customer satisfaction rate by 37%

> number of veterans rehabilitated by 600%

The office in LA ended up getting the OPM Director’s PILLAR (Performance Incentives Leadership Linked to Achieving Results) Award. Now that’s a healthy outcome.

So, the real question becomes: How do you create and sustain organizational health in the government?

A Healthier Approach

To read the entire article, go to http://www.ateamofleaders.com/sustaining-organizational-health-by-building-teams-of-leaders-in-the-government/

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