"Always be willing to take that next step to make yourself better, and your company better; otherwise, you will be stagnant, and we know stagnation does not produce results."
–Dr. Ryan Taylor '09, DO, FAAPMR, Genesis Medical Center
As we continue to navigate changing and challenging workplaces, it is more important than ever to invest in ensuring our leaders have a strong foundation for success. According to The World Economic Forum, today's leaders require a much different toolbox of competencies: problem-solving, emotional intelligence, communication, strategic planning, critical thinking, and adaptability. These skills help to form the foundation of leadership.
"We are entering a new age of work, an age when smart machines and artificial intelligence will drive efficiency and production," said Amy C. Novak, EdD, St. Ambrose University President. "This means the value of the human workforce will lie even more distinctly in the so-called 'human skills' – those capacities to clearly communicate, work in teams, assess and analyze complex data, and to think critically and solve problems."
The St. Ambrose University Professional Development Center delivers innovative opportunities to partner with employers and cultivate those "human skills" in the workplace through customized, hands-on leadership development programs.
Dr. Ryan Taylor '09, DO, FAAPMR, Genesis Medical Center, recently completed one such program in which hand-selected St. Ambrose faculty collaborated with Genesis to offer the Provider Leadership Academy, a 10-session cohort-based, leadership growth program.
Dr. Taylor refers to them as soft skills, but he is very firm in saying that these are the required skills for developing leadership acumen.
"We need leadership programs like this to build skills and go to the next level," Dr. Taylor said. "We are really seeing that the soft skills count. It's not necessarily that you have an MBA or Harvard degree; there's a new emphasis on developing emotional intelligence and communication strategies to better yourself and be the person you need to be in your role, regardless of your education background."
Dr. Taylor's energy and enthusiasm for the curriculum and knowledge he received during the leadership academy are palpable.
"I think this is something really unique that Genesis and St. Ambrose are doing," Taylor said. "It is not common. It shows that Genesis is invested in its leaders. They are not just talking the talk but walking the walk.
"I may be biased because I am a St. Ambrose alum, but the insight and expertise provided during this program will impact my work moving forward. The Ambrose faculty brought a depth of experience, and they took it much further than a typical classroom setting where one may listen but not necessarily learn to apply the teachings."
Born and raised in Moline, Dr. Taylor earned his undergraduate degree at St. Ambrose, followed by medical school at Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He then completed an internship at St. Vincent Hospital of Indianapolis and a residency at Mayo Clinic. Still, all roads led back to the Quad Cities, where he now practices at the Genesis Center for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Genesis Spine and Joint Health Center.
He is first to note that patient care is the cornerstone of his work, but he has always possessed a deep interest in leadership and the business side of medicine; he was at a point in his career where he began asking, "What's next?"
"As physicians, we are in a leadership position by default, but we don't really get much formal leadership training in our curriculum. Many of us develop these skills on our own, but it is an area lacking in most healthcare curriculums," Taylor said.
Just as Dr. Taylor was taking on a new appointment as Division Chair, asking himself, ‘Am I really ready for this?', the Genesis Provider Leadership Academy was announced. He was filled with relief, knowing that it was exactly what he needed.
"This was a fantastic opportunity to start the process of learning where my strengths and weaknesses are," Dr. Taylor said. "All of the courses were great, but the 360 peer evaluation was the highlight for me; it set a baseline for my strengths, weaknesses, and areas of growth. It showed me how to apply what I was learning."
As physicians, we are in a leadership position by default, but we don't really get much formal leadership training in our curriculum.... [The Genesis Leadership Academy] was a fantastic opportunity to start the process of learning where my strengths and weaknesses are.
Dr. Ryan Taylor '09, DO, FAAPMR, Genesis Medical Center
Another key takeaway for Taylor was the finance training section of the class, and it especially helped when instructors taught them to think of the hospital finance and health systems as the "human body."
"We looked at the health system – employees, staff, and patients – as a functioning body and how our strengths and weaknesses add or hinder the functioning of the entire system. Taking a step back and looking at this higher birdseye level really brought some lessons home.
"The exercises they gave us were beneficial to understand the inner workings of the financials for a health system. This knowledge is key to understanding the hardships of someone else's job, and this certainly opened my eyes," he said, adding, "it's so easy to say 'oh, those guys over there don't know what we are going through' but everyone has their own battles and this allowed me to acknowledge the big picture and respect what others are dealing with."
Dr. Taylor encourages anyone who wants to invest in themselves and their people to look into these unique leadership development experiences.
"Your people are the most important asset," Taylor said. "Spending the time and money to develop leadership skills regardless of occupation is imperative in an overly competitive world."