CultureEatsStrategyManagement guru Peter Drucker famously said: “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”  Years later he added: “especially in healthcare!”  No one would understand that more than our speaker at the Good Leadership Breakfast this Friday: Calvin Allen.  He’s the leader of both HR and Strategy for Healthpartners.

He radiates goodness

When I spend time with Calvin Allen, I come away with calm confidence. He radiates an ivy-league air of competence with a down-home humility that makes me want to spend time with his wife and children. He’s a perfect fit for speaking about the cornerstones of goodness: excellence, generosity, fairness and positivity.

Calvin Allen celebrated the MSP Business Journal Diversity Leader of the Year award with his daughter.

Calvin Allen celebrated the MSP Business Journal Diversity Leader of the Year award with his daughter.

Today, Calvin is a board member at The United Way, YMCA and Minnehaha Academy. While building a career in consulting and healthcare, he was recognized as a MSP Business Journal 40-under-40 achiever and the 2014 Diversity Leader of the Year.

Walk the talk

I wondered aloud…how does he stay connected at home? “The dinner talk at our house is generated by the topic: “Who did you help today? he explained. “We want our children to understand a good life is an active life, where we are challenged by many roles. At the center is helping people.”

Seven Fs at work

That’s why leadership in healthcare fits him like a glove. Over his 10 years at HealthPartners, the scope of Calvin’s job has increased from 9,000 to 23,000 employees. Recently his role was to unify an organization built from acquisitions, so the mishmash of cultures wouldn’t eat the strategy for breakfast. “We literally put the word “fun” in our strategic plan,” he shared. “But then we also had to make the planning process engaging and fun as well.” That included hundreds of Team Talks and focus groups where the employees helped narrow a myriad of values to just four: Excellence, Compassion, Partnerships & Integrity.

Helping others is a family affair.

Helping others is a family affair.

What’s the main lesson he’s learned along the way? “Stress is self-induced,” he exclaimed. “Early in my career, I had a numbers-only boss who I let push me into a bad place. The lesson for me is no one will be accountable for my own well-being except for me,” he smiled.

Good leaders make a habit of blending their personal and professional aspirations into their daily work. And they build a culture around them that supports well-being for all.

We’ve moved the Good Leadership Breakfast to Golden Valley Country Club so we could expand the room.  There are still a few tickets available: will you join us for breakfast?