Category Archives: Case Study

Sucess Story

Success Story: Newmont Mining Uses Influencer Training to Enhance Workplace Safety

The Challenge

Workplace safety has always been a value for global mining leader Newmont Mining Corporation. The company utilizes many proven safety practices such as investigating incidents and taking corrective actions, creating proactive safety standards for management, and providing standard safety and technical training. As a result, the company achieved an enviable Total Recordable Accident Frequency Rate (TRAFR), the industry measurement of safety incidents that occur on the job per number of hours worked.

Still, the company continued to experience fatalities and serious injuries and, in early 2010, Newmont’s board of directors requested that the executive leadership team develop a plan to work toward eliminating fatalities and serious injuries in the workplace.

This directive led to the creation of a Safety Task Force, which developed six recommendations. First among the recommendations was to focus on Safety Leadership Behaviors. This meant company leaders had to figure out how to change behaviors to ensure that choosing safer behaviors became part of the company’s culture.

The Solution

Read our case study to learn how Newmont Mining used Influencer Training to identify vital behaviors, improve safety, and get the right results.

Sucess Story

Success Story: Emory University Uses Crucial Conversations to Resolve a Culture of Conflict

The Challenge
Something was missing. That’s what Wanda Hayes determined when she sought input from the faculty and staff of Emory University after arriving as the university’s new director of learning and organizational development. She was looking to enhance the university’s training offerings, and one topic kept coming up.

“I talked with a lot of our key stakeholders and it was clear people wanted more around conflict management,” she says. A formal needs assessment survey yielded the same result. So did feedback about an existing leadership program run in partnership with the university’s highly ranked business school.

“At every level, people said conflict management is what we need,” Hayes remembers. So she and her team started looking for a training component to add to the management and leadership development programs and to anchor the new general education curriculum they would soon launch.

Human resource staffers had used VitalSmarts Crucial Conversations Training at a previous healthcare employer and Hayes was pleased to bring the course to Emory University. “There are a couple of things that make Crucial Conversations stand out more than others,” she says. “It’s very action-oriented, not just information about conflict. And there’s a lot of skill practice in a safe environment.”

She was also impressed that the content, while hitting conflict management head on, doesn’t stop there. It was a perfect companion to the university’s year-long training program for new and experienced managers and supervisors, which covers setting objectives, performance reviews, performance problems, collaborating, and holding others accountable.
“Crucial Conversations addresses all of those topics, teaching people how to have effective conversations, stay engaged, and get results,” she says.

Emory began including the course in the new Manager and Supervisor Development Programs, then proceeded to roll out additional programs that included Crucial Conversations for administrative professionals. Later, Crucial Conversations was added to the existing leadership program for high-potential, high-level administrative staff. Ultimately, it was also included in a new year-long leadership program for faculty leaders. The course has become a cornerstone for programs that are designed for intact teams, as well as for general enrollment.
To build excitement for the new offering, the university brought in Crucial Conversations coauthor Ron McMillan, who conducted separate sessions with senior leaders across campus, human resource leaders, and faculty leaders.

With the course embedded in the University’s learning offerings, three members of Hayes’ team were certified to deliver the training. They teach the two-day course with seven to ten days in between to practice and complete assignments. By the end of 2012, close to 1,000 Emory employees had completed Crucial Conversations.

The Results
Read our case study to learn how Wanda Hayes used Crucial Conversations Training to increase employees’ and managers’ ability to better manage conflict, hold the right conversations, and get the right results.

Sucess Story

Success Story: VitalSmarts Training Helps Canadian Hospital Transform Its Culture

The Challenge
The staff at St. Joseph’s Health Care London didn’t talk to each other. Yes, they exchanged words, but when problems were serious and emotions were involved, many side-stepped core issues. Not only was this behavior unproductive and disrespectful for employees, it was potentially dangerous for patients.

The organizational development staff identified a training course that might help, especially in the interests of their main concern, patient safety. They also knew they needed an executive champion who could persuade busy physicians and nurses to participate. So they approached Dr. Gillian Kernaghan, a veteran family practice physician who was then the hospital’s Chief Medical Officer. She agreed something needed to be done.

“Only 50 percent of meetings were productive,” remembers Kernaghan, who is now the hospital’s President and CEO. “We had a lot of ‘Groundhog Days,’ where we talked about the same thing and didn’t find common purpose or get to actions that were agreeable.”

Kernaghan describes an environment where people wouldn’t speak up and sabotaged decisions that were made in the real “meeting” that happened in the hallway after.

“People pushed through their agenda by using power words like ‘patient safety,’ ‘evidence-based,’ and ‘family-centered,'” she says. “The implication was, ‘If you disagree with me you’re obviously not patient centered.’ Essentially, others couldn’t speak up because they felt shutdown.”

She also observed the initiatives that grew out of those limited discussions were less effective, leading to “rework” and “I told you so” comments even though people hadn’t spoken up in the first place.

“We needed to not only teach people to be nice to each other, but we also needed to get results by teaching them how to follow up and follow through,” she says. “We knew that if we could transform the way we communicated, our staff would be happier and more productive, and ultimately, our patients would be safer.”

So when she was asked to champion physician training that purported to address those needs, she agreed, knowing that in order to be an effective voice, she had to be “integrally involved.” So she registered to become a certified trainer of Crucial Conversations.

The Results: Read our case study to learn how Dr. Gillian Kernaghan used Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability Training to earn accreditation with exemplary standing, improve employee satisfaction scores, and see a significant improvement in holding others accountable.

What St. Joseph’s employees have to say: Read this guest post to see other ways employees at St. Joseph’s Health Care London have used Crucial Conversations and Crucial Accountability Training to change their culture.