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The Situation

Annually, Boards of Directors of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations authorize an audit to ensure the accuracy of financial statements. Certainly, the verity of financial records and reporting is one of the board’s top fiduciary obligations. But what about an even more far-reaching, important responsibility: establishing, supporting and evaluating the leadership effectiveness and culture in the organization?

The Solution

Inspired by an April 2019 article in Trustee magazine, “Board Oversight of Culture for High Performing Hospitals,” the governing board of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital conducted a leadership audit in the fall of 2019. Recommended by the President & CEO, the board hired Stamp & Chase to structure and complete the innovative audit to better understand the major strengths and opportunities in the organization’s underlying culture and leadership practices. Examining systems and practices from the governing board through middle management levels helped East Tennessee Children’s to better understand the strengths that contributed to recent successes as well as challenges the current health care environment presents that will affect future growth and market position. “This audit served to validate the culture as it exists as well as the desired culture that the board, medical staff and leadership felt best positioned the institution for success,” commented Keith Goodwin, President & CEO (retired) of East Tennessee Children’s.

The Results

Through the comprehensive leadership audit, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital more fully appreciates how its collaborative culture has shaped an unwavering commitment to care for children and families in a unique, personal way. Leadership now also understands that to effectively respond to emerging challenges in health care, the evolution of a culture more focused on innovation is essential. “Children’s is now using this audit, in conjunction with both physician and employee engagement surveys, as a critical piece of data to support efforts to refine processes and improve decision making for the organization.”