Training Top 100 Hall of Fame Outstanding Training Initiatives (July 2021)

Each year Training magazine requires all Training Top 100 Hall of Famers to submit an Outstanding Training Initiative that we share with our readers. Here are the details of Capital Blue Cross’ Transformational Leadership Program.

Capital Blue Cross: Transformational Leadership Program

In 2016, Capital Blue Cross’ then-CEO realized that an untapped opportunity for a competitive advantage was increasing the effectiveness of his Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Thus began a process of meeting five times a year to discuss current team behaviors and dynamics. Using Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team” research, the ELT participated in an annual survey that measured their performance and then learned how to speak to each other about concretely improving their dynamics.

The CEO’s and Chief Human Resources Officer’s vigilance in staying laser-focused on including these five behaviors in performance appraisals, after-action reviews, debriefs, and coaching sessions turned what could have been a one-shot deal at team development into an accepted practice in the organization. The ELT responds annually to the team survey, debriefs results, and creates team development plans for the following year.

In 2018, the CEO requested a program for a broader set of employees—specifically the ELT members and their direct reports—to drive the team model more broadly across the organization.

Program Details

The Training team determined that the entire Transformational Leadership (TL) program would work best by dividing the content into two distinct offerings, with the first part focused on team dynamics, and the second focused on goal alignment, measurement, and communication. Course content for Part 1 was developed using the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team Model, an executive book summary, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni, team assessment results based on Wiley’s DiSC survey, and a customized report for each specific team based on their survey results.

The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team course is designed to help leaders grow and develop with their team members in the following five key areas:

  • Trusting one another.
  • Engaging in Conflict around ideas.
  • Committing to Decisions.
  • Holding one another Accountable.
  • Focusing on achieving collective Results.

Facilitators met with the executive team leader initially to ensure clear outcomes and again to review survey results. The Training team created a menu of options for delivering content and shortened sessions to last 90, 120, and 180 minutes. TL uses less of a “teach” approach and more of a true “facilitation” style. Executives play a visible role during the sessions by sharing personal reflections, asking questions, and showing vulnerability.


More than 85 percent of eligible senior executives and their direct reports have completed the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team course. The remaining senior executives have expressed interest in participating with their teams in 2021. Capital’s new CEO is a staunch supporter of  team development  and is launching a new chapter of executive team development during third quarter 2021.

  • Early indications based on TL’s Five Behaviors Team Progress Report show an anticipated overall improvement in team scores anywhere from .25 to 1 percentage point on each of the five key behaviors.
  • Pertaining to Capital’s “Fit for Excellence Culture” strategic goal, the organization has seen a 25 percent increase in Webinar attendance around the topics of innovation, organizational performance, and member experience, as a direct result of senior leaders promoting and modeling team behaviors.
  • Capital’s ranking in the Best Places to Work in Pennsylvania survey has steadily moved toward the top 10 over the three years it has participated. The organization’s survey average has moved from 83 to 89. The overall engagement score went up again in 2020, even in the midst of the pandemic: In 2018, it was 86; in 2019, it was 89; and in 2020, it was 92. Two questions in particular demonstrate the organization moving toward its Fit for Excellence Culture goal: I have confidence in the leadership of this organization (2018: 84; 2019: 90; and 2020: 93), and Senior leaders live the core values of the organization (2018: 77; 2019: 83; and 2020: 88).



Edited by Lorri Freifeld
Lorri Freifeld is the editor/publisher of Training magazine, owned by Lakewood Media Group. She writes on a number of topics, including talent management, training technology, and leadership development. She spearheads two awards programs: the Training APEX Awards and Emerging Training Leaders. A writer/editor for the last 30 years, she has held editing positions at a variety of publications and holds a Master’s degree in journalism from New York University.