Stepping into this space is Primary Care Progress, a Cambridge, Mass.-based organization that maintains there is a skills gap in primary care leadership that the nonprofit works to fill by offering training to medical students, residents and other clinicians with what it calls “relational leadership development.”

Jennifer Nadelson, PCP executive director, said medical students and residents receive tons of clinical training and, “if they’re lucky,” a smidgeon of administrative-function training. Few if any get training how to lead teams and manage change.

The PCP program centers on four competencies:

  1. Managing self by leveraging personal strengths to balance organizational and personal concerns
  2. Fostering teamwork by understanding how to influence and help others to work cooperatively and interdependently to provide the best patient care
  3. Accelerating change to energize teams to transform their healthcare processes and strategies
  4. Coaching and mentoring to cultivate the professional growth and development of others.

At the root of the program is the 5 Dynamics assessment, an interactive online tool that can determine an individual’s work and learning preferences, energy and time maps, and performance cycle and then guide efforts on how to work best in group of individuals whose preferences may not match.

Karen Gordon, CEO of 5 Dynamics, said that the assessment is not a personality test but a methodology that helps answer the question “How can I work more effectively with you?” The process flows from individual, to peer, and then team perspectives.

This approach, Gordon explained, is good at resolving common conflicts between those who move quickly to get a project done and those that work methodically to make sure they get it right.

According the evaluation I took, when something new is added to a project, I often revise everything "so it fits together again." I suppose that's true, and it even sounds positive. But I'm warned that,to the outsider, it can an appear to be procrastinating. That's something I have to get around to addressing.

The PCP organization itself sprung out of advocacy efforts to preserve the Harvard Medical School’s family medicine division in 2009, which was subject to closure. Faculty organized to preserve the program and, after achieving success, discovered that the experience had a therapeutic effect on them and the idea was born to develop “a connected community of interprofessional change makers,” according to the PCP website.

From there, it evolved into a consulting service, first for students and residents and now also for practicing providers. Graduates sought PCP’s help in implementing into real-world situations the concepts that they were taught as students or residents, .

Nadelson said there about 60 PCP chapters across the nation and about 100 students or residents who take the 5 Dynamics assessment annually as part of their efforts.

“What we’re looking for is how can you allow the people on your team to bring their best every single day and inspire them to do so,” Gordon said. “That’s different for different people.”