On Friday I graduated from the 6th cohort of the Physician Leadership Development Program. This program was developed by the Ontario Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association and York University’s Schulich School of Business to help physicians in Ontario develop Leadership skills. The program required that I work on a project to demonstrate that I had mastered the elements of the program. My project was to work with the Governors of the Ontario Medical Foundation to renew its Vision, Mission and Strategic Plan. This is the Executive Summary of my project:

“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.” Jonas Salk

From the beginning of this project, my goal in renewing the Ontario Medical Foundation was to help Ontario physicians dare to turn their dreams into reality. Doctors dream of better ways to practice medicine, better ways to learn, better ways to do research – they dream of ways to change medicine and, in so doing, to change the world.

It is my hope that, in renewing the Ontario Medical Foundation, the Foundation’s Governors and Members will be inspired by the possibilities of physicians’ desires to lead change. They will become the ambassadors for this potential. What is most exciting is that there is no limit to what might be achieved; the physicians who use this Foundation’s resources will apply for assistance for projects the Governors do not envision.

The Systems Level Challenge is to renew the Foundation in such a way that it is always ready to leverage today’s achievement for tomorrow’s benefits. The Ecocycle is a liberating structure that encourages an organization to embrace a cycle of both renewal and creative destruction. This is a model that organizations can use to stay focused at those times when productivity ebbs.

The Ontario Medical Foundation has been the neglected child of the Ontario Medical Association. It has no staff and the Governors scramble to meet at lunch hour during Ontario Medical Association Board meetings. One project, the Ontario Medical Student Bursary Fund, has successfully been developed and provides bursaries to medical students in financial need. The milestones for this project demonstrated that the Governors could develop a plan that extended beyond this one very successful project. These are the milestones:

October 2015: Review existing research.

December 2015: Plan presented to Members of the OMF and Governors.

February 2016: Choose a consultant with expertise in the Foundation Sector. The Offord Group was selected.

February-April 2016: Develop a program for the Planning Day on April 28, 2016.

May 17, 2016: Finalize Conclusions of Planning Day.

May 17-June 6, 2016: Develop Final Planning Document.

June or July 2016: Present Final Plan to Governors.

July-October 2016: Adapt plan after Governors’ review.

October 26, 2016: Final Plan Approval by Governors.

November 26, 2016: Launch Renewed Foundation at OMA Council.

The Ontario Medical Foundation now has a Vision, Mission, Values and a Work Plan that will guide its work, beyond the Ontario Medical Student Bursary Fund for the next 3-5 years.  The Foundation will have three main areas of focus:

  1. Physicians: a. Physicians helping physicians; b. Charitable resource for physicians
  2. Students: a. Ontario Medical Student Bursary Fund; b. Ontario Medical Student Elective Fund
  3. Community: a. Ontario disaster relief; b. Crowdfunding initiatives

I started my Physician Leadership Development Journey fully aware of my capacity to step into a crisis and manage it. As a psychiatrist, my work is to be the supportive catalyst, allowing others to develop, without being in the spotlight myself. This project required me to develop a more charismatic leadership style, to begin to influence work and outcomes by inspiring my colleagues to give…to give their time, their ideas, their money to promote the charitable work of a Foundation for Ontario physicians. It is a leap outside of myself, away from doing myself to convincing others to do.

Most of the liberating structures I employed were related to networking and reaching out, developing the skill of being comfortable inspiring others, and finding ways to do this. These renewed “Min Specs” for the Ontario Medical Foundation came together beyond what I had hoped. I am excited to see what dreams they will make come true!



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