I met Tyler through a colleague, Tamara Cull, who worked with him at Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) and saw his quiet boldness in action. When asked why she recommended him as a BOLD candidate, she said, “Tyler and I both worked on the CHI National Population Health team helping our 100 markets across the country develop and operationalize population health programs.”
As a firsthand witness, Tamara knows Tyler is BOLD. She describes him as “one of the first voices working to convince leaders that expanding population health was the path to follow at a time when it wasn’t such a popular idea! He is not afraid of jumping in to make big change. And he BELIEVES we can transform healthcare!”
Belief is critical in a BOLD leader – in fact, it is the “B” in our BOLD acronym.
Tyler believes so much that we can change healthcare that he and his wife packed up and moved across the country for him to become Executive Director of Piedmont Community Health Collaborative, a new, joint venture Clinically Integrated Network formed in 2016.
In speaking with Tyler, he confirmed Tamara’s assessment. We discussed the challenging work he’s been doing at Piedmont, and he offered, “To transform anything, you have to believe in what you are doing. We are about Value Based Care. We really are the ‘tip of the spear.’ And when I’m with others passionate about it, I know these are my people.” Tyler continued, “This work attracts idealists. We are people that feel passionate about our work and really believe in the healthcare ‘triple or quadruple aim’ idea. And, because we actually believe that it is worth doing, we must be the ones leading the change.”
You can read more about the Quadruple Aim at the link, but in a nutshell, the idea is to simultaneously drive improvements in patient experiences, provider quality of work life, and health outcomes, while also lowering costs. Healthcare reform is a huge conversation – and reform challenge – in America today. Tyler and those who share his passion are committed to leading the way.
But it can’t be all passion without action. Doing is the “D” in BOLD. And the doing is extremely hard work. As Tyler explained, working through a transformation this big and complex “has been a crucible experience.” How do you build and maintain alignment and shared interests between a non-profit health system and a for-profit health plan? How do you build trust in a joint venture where there are natural conflicts? How do you keep everyone focused on executing the vision?
Tyler commented using a couple overlapping metaphors, “We are in the deep end of the pool. On some days you sink to the bottom and then have to push yourself up and let any moments of low confidence go. You have to get back up on the horse and go again.” That is the voice of a BOLD leader. Doing is figuring out what to try, learning, adjusting, and going again.
In between the “B” and the “D” in BOLD are “O” for Open and “L” for Learner. Tyler got to both of those requirements as well. He observed, “On any given day, I hope I’m a good balance of humble and assertive.” And he went on to say that he has always had this willingness and ability to ask the tough “why” questions. Tyler said, “In two years, we’ve stood up infrastructure processes in a new joint venture and are constantly looking around for what works, what can we shift and what can be done better.”
When the work is challenging, Tyler finds himself reminding people of “why we got into this in the first place.” Then, operationally, “In any business decision, I am trying to put together a coalition.” This means helping people bring their own ideas and helping them learn and appreciate the many diverse needs of all the stakeholders.
And to be the leader helping others means he needs to challenge himself. “I need to keep learning new skills, new things, and taking on more responsibility, getting back in the deep end of the pool myself. I am constantly throwing myself into wildly uncomfortable situations to learn and grow.”
And when he needs to unwind and unplug, Tyler and his wife Kate take their 1984 VW camper bus out to the woods someplace and recharge.
Question: What is your passion that drives you to push yourself to learn, try and do more – even on days when you’re struggling to get up off the bottom of the pool?