Published 4/1/2008
Jeffrey A. Kramer, FACHE, CAE

Leadership Fellows Program celebrates 6th anniversary

The AAOS Leadership Fellows Program (LFP) recently completed 6 years of identifying and training future leaders from young members who have little volunteer or leadership experience. By all accounts, the LFP is exceeding expectations—an example of the right program (leadership training for young members) implemented in the right organization (highly supportive at all levels) at the right time.

“The success of the LFP has been due in large part to the support of the AAOS leadership,” said Steven R. Frick, MD, chair of the Leadership Development Committee, that which oversees the program. “This support will ensure that the LFP will continue its evolutionary progress in providing a continuous source of new leaders who will ensure the future of the Academy.”

Introducing a younger generation to leadership
Developed as part of the “AAOS in 2005” strategic planning process, the LFP had three goals: Identify and train future leaders from the young membership who have little volunteer or leadership experience; develop and implement a formal AAOS mentoring program between participants and established AAOS leaders; and enhance the skills of those members who have already assumed or are about to assume leadership roles with the AAOS.

Since its first class meeting at the 2002 Annual Meeting in Dallas, the program has become, according to one fellow, “a wise and fruitful investment.” Many LFP graduates have graduated to leadership positions, including two on the current AAOS Board of Directors. The program “has successfully incorporated the younger generation into the AAOS and will hopefully both maintain the strength of the AAOS and provide its future leaders,” according to one participant.

Mentoring: An integral part of the program
An integral part of the LFP experience is the mentoring aspect of the program. Mentoring is a two-way street, generating benefits for both participants and the mentors themselves.

“It has been a win/win for me,” said one mentor, “because I have learned from the mentees about their aspirations, and they have provided me insights into departmental problems that I have with junior faculty. The AAOS benefits because it has a pool of individuals to work on future programs.”

“The things I’ve learned in the LFP have helped on all fronts of my life,” agreed another mentor. “The leadership development traits have helped in dealing with my family, as Chief of Surgery at my hospital, and in the development of other programs. I have been pursued to be the Program Director at my old residency, and I am confident that I can do it, largely due to my participation in the LFP.”

Future plans
During the history of the LFP, topics and speakers have been added and deleted, content and approaches modified, and interactions with mentors and the Academy’s leadership increased.

In the final analysis, the members’ perspective is key to the continued success of the LFP. Both the Leadership Development Committee and the six classes of leadership fellows have made specific suggestions to improve the program, and the committee and staff have paid close attention to those suggestions. The program is still a work in progress, but that progress is more evident each year. For more information about the LFP program, visit www.aaos.org/member/LFP

Jeffrey A. Kramer, FACHE, CAE, is director, education programs and the staff liaison to the Leadership Fellows Program. He can be reached at kramer@aaos.org

AAOS Leadership Fellows Program – At a Glance
Key elements

  • AAOS Leadership Development Committee responsible for LFP oversight and selection of LFP fellows and mentors
  • Program Length – 1 year
  • Number of LFP fellows per class: 15
  • Age: 45 and younger
  • On line application for LFP fellows and mentors
  • All program costs, including travel, meals, lodging, course materials, and instruction are fully funded by the AAOS

Program (mentors participate as well as fellows)

  • Six LFP meetings per year integrated with AAOS annual scientific meeting and other leadership meetings.
  • Varied curriculum including leadership training; association management; AAOS orientation; communication skills; media training; interpersonal skills; self-assessment; legislative advocacy
  • Trip to visit mentor at his or her practice
  • Current reading list includes, among others: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, and Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence
  • All LFP fellows are assigned to an Academy committee upon completion of the program. Five leadership fellows have been elected at-large members of the Board of Directors in the past three years. Two are currently serving on the Board.