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Cultural Transformation

Transforming organizational culture with employee ownership



When Daniel Gandarilla became Chief Learning Officer at Texas Health Resources (THR), his top priority was streamlining learning processes and protocols throughout the decentralized organization. His solution was to bring 16 independent learning functions together to form Texas Health Resources University (THRU), a centralized learning division designed to maximize the performance and potential of THR’s workforce.

In the first year after THRU’s creation, Gandarilla focused on getting staff on board with such a significant change. He then began the work of redefining his team’s culture.

“We determined we needed to hear from our staff about some of the things they think we should be living and doing,” Gandarilla shares. “We wanted to find a set of guiding overarching principles we could utilize.”

Gandarilla used Thoughtexchange to reach out to THRU’s 150 staff and ask this question: What’s one key principle we need to live by so people see us in the way we want to be seen?

The exchange results showed that staff agreed on some common themes, like innovation, integrity and clear communication. Gandarilla then championed a series of meetings with representatives from each team to review the results and agree on the new cultural guidelines.

“When we were done, we ended up with some key principles we identified that were important to us,” he explains. “The staff in that room really agreed with them and became champions for us within the division.”

After launching the new principles to his whole team, Gandarilla ran another exchange using this question: What do we need to do to bring our THRU principles to life? This exchange revealed some critical areas of focus and immediate actions his team could take to put their new values into practice, such as increasing professional development and improving communication.

“We’ve done a lot with just two exchanges,” Gandarilla says. “It’s really helped us change the way we do things.”

We’ve done a lot with just two exchanges. It’s really helped us change the way we do things.Daniel Gandarilla - Chief Learning Officer

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