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The Front-Line Leader: Building a High-Performance Organization from the Ground Up

Book Description

Real leadership that leads to high engagement, higher performance, and a culture of accountability

As president and CEO of Scripps Health, one of America's most prestigious health systems, Chris Van Gorder presided over a dramatic turnaround, catapulting Scripps from near bankruptcy to a dominant market position. While hospitals and health systems nationwide have laid people off or are closing their doors, Scripps is financially healthy, has added thousands of employees (even with a no-layoff philosophy), and has developed a reputation as a top employer. What are the secrets to this remarkable story?

In The Front-Line Leader, Chris Van Gorder candidly shares his own incredible story, from police officer to CEO, and the leadership philosophy that drives all of his decisions and actions: people come first. Van Gorder began his unlikely career as a California police officer, which deeply instilled in him a sense of social responsibility, honesty, and public service. After being injured on the job and taking an early retirement, Van Gorder had to reinvent himself, taking a job as a hospital security director, a job that would change his life. Through hard work and determination, he rose to executive ranks, eventually becoming CEO of Scripps. But he never forgot his own roots and powerful work ethic, or the time when he was a security officer and a CEO would not make eye contact with him.

Van Gorder leads from the front lines, making it a priority to know his employees and customers at every level. His values learned on the force—protecting the community, educating citizens, developing caring relationships, and ultimately doing the right thing—shape his approach to business. As much as companies talk about accountability, managers seldom understand what practical steps to take to achieve an ethic of service that makes accountability meaningful. The Front-Line Leader outlines specific tactics and steps anyone can use starting today to take responsibility, inspire others, and achieve breakout results for their organizations. Van Gorder reveals how a no-layoff philosophy led to higher accountability, how his own attention to seemingly minor details spurred larger change, and how his own high standards for himself and his team improved morale and productivity.

From general strategy to the tiny, everyday steps leaders can take to create the kind of culture and accountability that translates into major competitive advantage, The Front-Line Leader charts a path to better leadership and a more engaged, higher-performing organization.

Table of Contents

  1. Praise for The Front-Line Leader
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Introduction
  7. Chapter One: Know Your People
    1. Fly-Bys Don't Count
    2. Roll Up Your Sleeves and Get Dirty
    3. Do Your Dance
    4. Make It Real with Questions and Answers
    5. Stay Accessible
    6. Keeping Employees Current
    7. Be Yourself
    8. The Job Never Ends
    9. Taking Action
    10. Notes
  8. Chapter Two: Get Outside Yourself
    1. See Yourself as a Trainee Again
    2. Engage Even More Deeply
    3. Lean on Your Partners
    4. Build a Team Early
    5. “We,” Not “I”
    6. Love Your People
    7. Taking Action
    8. Notes
  9. Chapter Three: The Credibility Factor
    1. Make It Visible and Meaningful
    2. Act Repeatedly
    3. Help Is on the Way
    4. Taking Action
    5. Notes
  10. Chapter Four: Tell Stories
    1. Talk About the Front Line
    2. Tell Your Own Stories
    3. Use Your Storytelling Skills to Explain
    4. Invite Employees to Tell Stories Too
    5. Getting Inspired Together
    6. Taking Action
    7. Notes
  11. Chapter Five: Create a Culture of Advocacy
    1. Manage Down
    2. Give Employees a Voice
    3. Take Employee Feedback Seriously
    4. Empower Employees to Assist in Change
    5. Give People the Tools They Need to Succeed
    6. Raise the Bar
    7. Taking Action
    8. Notes
  12. Chapter Six: Take Care of the “Me”
    1. Commit to a Philosophy, Not a Policy
    2. Stick with the Philosophy in Tough Times
    3. Create Structures That Support “No Layoffs”
    4. Care for People Beyond the Workplace
    5. Give More, Get More
    6. Taking Action
    7. Notes
  13. Chapter Seven: Hold People Accountable
    1. Make Leaders Formally Accountable
    2. Create Your Own Standards
    3. Spread the Gospel of Accountability
    4. Lay Down the Law
    5. Provide Resources
    6. Reward Good Performance
    7. Spiraling Upward
    8. Taking Action
    9. Notes
  14. Chapter Eight: Build Loyalty and Engagement from the Middle
    1. Develop Middle Managers Yourself
    2. Let Managers Lead
    3. Get Personal
    4. Share the Power—and the Credit
    5. Taking Action
    6. Notes
  15. Chapter Nine: Bring People Together
    1. Bridge Information Gaps
    2. Mobilize Collaboration Proactively
    3. Engender Collaboration Proactively Throughout the Ranks
    4. Take Your Time
    5. Taking Action
    6. Notes
  16. Chapter Ten: Ask “What If?”
    1. Make Contingency Planning a Way of Life
    2. Address Big-Picture Threats
    3. Rally Your People
    4. Always Fall Up
    5. Taking Action
    6. Notes
  17. Conclusion
  18. About the Author
  19. More from Wiley
  20. Index
  21. End User License Agreement