The Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) is a 1,700-bed healthcare system headquartered in Valhalla, New York, with 10 hospitals on 8 campuses spanning 6,200 square miles of the Hudson Valley. WMCHealth employs more than 12,000 people and has nearly 3,000 attending physicians. With state-of-the-art facilities — including Level 1, Level 2 and Pediatric Trauma Centers; the region’s only acute-care children’s hospital; an academic medical center; several community hospitals; dozens of specialized institutes and centers; skilled nursing and assisted-living facilities; homecare services, and one of the largest mental-health systems in New York State — WMCHealth is the preeminent provider of integrated healthcare in the Hudson Valley.
Our use of Extended DISC® began with an initiative to start manager training and leadership development for the first time. A critical piece to this is self-awareness. After trying multiple assessments including Myers-Briggs and DISC, we found Extended DISC® as a great way to start that conversation. As a large healthcare organization, we are fast-paced and operate under a lot of stress and timelines. We looked to Extended DISC® as a platform to reveal where our leadership team had strengths — and also uncover some hindrances. Extended DISC® was the best way to have that self-awareness without intimidation. The initiative began with leadership, but it has now touched every department.
Initially, the Extended DISC® training was only offered to leaders in the organization. Once a leader attended a training session, he or she would inevitably ask that staff be able to take the class. We have since touched every department over a 4-year span, offering over 200 assessments each year. To date, more than 364 employees and leaders have participated in the training since January 2015.
Through this training, we have been able to improve team-building and adjust some team dynamics. This has also been a powerful tool in individual coaching. An example that comes to mind is when I met with a manager who has been a little less successful in interpersonal skills but is extremely competent at the work she does. She understands processes really well but tends to get caught up in some of the interpersonal skills that are important when you are leading and managing others. It’s important to see how your employees may look and perceive you — and this tool paved the way for us to identify communication strengths and areas of improvement. The concepts behind the training have given our teams a better understanding of other people and each other. Within a group of physicians, all were C-Styles while they had a D-Style leader. No one was really talking about why they were waiting. For them it was extremely impactful to see the need for flexibility and to learn how to modify and adjust your style. They also now have a language to communicate, and we even put the Extended DISC® chart on the board in the break rooms to remind each other.
Extended DISC® is a great partner from the perspective that they are open to every inquiry and request we have. Markku is very responsive and Christina promptly replies to questions and always comes back with materials. We have greatly appreciated the support documents, and we open each training with 4 videos with the cartoons. It’s a great ice-breaker and gets everyone talking.
Extended DISC® has greatly improved the leadership program, and the self-awareness and self-reflection is now opening the doors for crucial conversations within our organization.