The American College of Phlebology

The American College of Phlebology is excited to announce its new Leadership Academy and plans to welcome its first class of participants in fall, 2014. The Academy will provide an enormous member benefit, as participants will develop essential skills that will enhance ability and effectiveness in both their professional and personal lives. In addition, it will provide a continuous source of leaders that will be able to guide the College and the specialty through the uncharted and challenging territory ahead. The practice of medicine is changing rapidly: we have already experienced many approaches to reining in health care costs, improving patient outcomes, and reimbursement. Change will continue to be a hallmark of our experience as practitioners. This provides significant opportunities for us to mold our future in ways that will foster continued growth in our field, increase the respect and recognition given to our specialty, and most importantly improve patient care. To do this most effectively, we need individuals with strong leadership skills.

Businesses, academic institutions, and professional organizations have already seen the benefits of developing leadership competencies in their members and these programs have resulted in substantial and measureable increases in profitability, member/employee engagement and retention, and agility, especially during difficult times. A 2007 study in Harvard Business Review by Laurie Bassie and Daniel McMurrer showed a strong link between leadership skills and the bottom line. The study examined the stock prices of 11 publicly-traded financial services firms. Companies with high scores for their investments in human capital delivered stock market returns that were five times higher than that of companies with less emphasis on human capital. Research by Bersin & Associates found that companies with strategic approaches to leadership development are 84% more effective at increasing the quality of their leadership pipeline, 73% more effective at improving overall employee retention and 67% more effective at increasing the engagement, retention and teamwork of leaders. The Center for Creative Leadership states that, “Numerous in-depth studies have reached the same conclusion: Organizations that invest in leadership development perform better than those that don’t.”

Several developments in healthcare make this an important time for physicians to invest in their own leadership development. While physicians have long adopted the “lone wolf” approach to their work, times are changing. Healthcare is increasingly becoming a “team sport” in which a multi-disciplinary team works together to care for each patient. In addition, we are increasingly being assessed on the basis of our emotional intelligence and communication abilities. Current medical students are taught these important principles and skills. The American College of Phlebology believes that its members, seasoned practitioners, deserve the opportunity to gain these important competencies so they can better compete in the current marketplace and also derive the personal power and satisfaction that come from having these skills. Participants at the ACP’s Leadership Summit in 2012 decided that a Leadership Academy would be helpful to all members and especially those who wanted to be instrumental in guiding the future of phlebology. The Board of Directors of the College concurred and placed this initiative high on its list of strategic plans.

After a rigorous selection process involving multiple proposals and interviews, the Leadership Development Advisory Committee is thrilled to have found a person perfectly suited to develop and run the program: Mitch Simon, JD, MBA of the Simon Alliance. Mr. Simon has more than 15 years experience in leadership development as well as prior strategic business development and coaching experience. His work is to develop leaders, who he defines simply as individuals who “declare a future that others commit to.” As Mr. Simon says, “You can’t get people to commit, unless you are rigorously involved and engaged in a life that you care about and are committed to.”

For this reason, his proposal “is designed to transform [the participants’] ability to be effective in achieving results as practitioners, advocates, spouses, and members of their community. The Academy will be committed to having each participant dig deep in looking at their current level of effectiveness, fulfillment, and influence, and commit to making a significant and meaningful impact in their professional and personal lives.” To accomplish this, the program will focus on three topics: Strategy Creation and Team Execution, Advocacy, and Leadership. Participants will develop competencies in anticipating the future and its challenges, creating a vision and plan for the future, conversations that constitute a team, building and maintaining trust, motivating and inspiring others, conflict resolution, the art of negotiation, listening assessments, the power of words, and many others.

This intensive year long program will consist of two, 2-day face-to-face meetings, beginning in conjunction with the Annual Congress and mid way through the year. Between these meetings will be monthly webinars, readings, and a project that will be accomplished through the collaborative efforts of several participants. Projects will benefit the College and the specialty of phlebology, allow the participants to apply their knowledge, hone newly acquired leadership skills, and develop the collaborative skills that are becoming increasingly important to the practice of medicine. Each participant (mentee) will be paired with a mentor, a more experienced ACP leader, who will also participate in the program and will have the additional responsibility of overseeing the mentees’ projects and mentoring the mentee in other areas of practice. The ACP hopes that this will forge strong relationships between newer members and those who have been strong contributors of the College, allowing the sharing of knowledge, experience and wisdom. Mentees will present their projects at the Annual Congress in the year following their entrance into the program.

Compared to commercially available leadership programs, the Leadership Academy of the ACP will be extremely affordable and completion of the program will be recognized and rewarded in several meaningful ways.

Application is open to all ACP members – those interested in this exciting and transformative program should watch their email in the next few months for details. While the program will require a commitment of time and effort, the participants will gain both tangible and intangible skills and understanding that will change their lives, their practices and our specialty for years to come.

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