Silos to Synergy: How SCL Health Transformed L&D

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Have you ever pondered the question, “What does it look and feel like to pursue your passion?” Well, if you’re anything like me, it’s a question you’ve asked at the both the height of satisfaction as well as in the depths of challenge—perhaps, even in despair.  

With each passing day on the job, experiences inevitably mold and shape us. Fortunately, as an educator, I rejoice daily in being an enthusiastic beginner—regardless of my age. What’s more, I am sincerely grateful to have the opportunity at this point in my career to pursue my professional passion. Yes, I’m one of those eternal optimists who genuinely can’t wait to get to the office. I look forward each day to acting as a servant leader for my organization.  

Whether it is in pursuit of individual or organizational performance, I am reminded of a statement that applies to many situations and industries: “[Insert Any Word Here] isn’t a’s a necessity.” Today (and every day), I choose the word “PERFORMANCE” to insert into that phrase. 

Whether my daily tasks take the form of assisting the organization as whole or helping individual employees pursue improved performance, building relationships takes center stage. Often, this means moving colleagues out of silos and into collaborative teams. 

Indeed, even those working in L&D (who are engrossed daily in the study of innovation, teamwork, communication, and foundational skill development) can develop tunnel vision and need to find new ways to build synergy with the organization’s mission, co-workers, and communities they serve. My own organization, SCL Health, experienced this very issue. 


SCL Health operates eight hospitals, four safety net clinics, one children’s mental health center, and more than 100 primary care and specialty care practices in three states: Colorado, Kansas, and Montana. With its geographically dispersed facilities and staff, the healthcare organization needed to transform its silos of learning teams into a single synergistic enterprise-wide learning and development team. 

This evolution was in direct response to a desire to better serve patients. To fulfill this mission, an organization-wide mandate called for more connection to core competencies and sustained associate performance. In response, the L&D team changed the organization by empowering learning, training, education, and orientation for our associates, physicians, employees, stakeholders, and leadership. 


Our journey followed a path that took us from delivering incidental training to sustaining a culture rooted in learning. In addition, the L&D team developed best practices that supported economies of scale, all with an eye on increasing employee satisfaction with their personal career development opportunities. 

Bottom line: For SCL Health, performance isn’t a luxury…it’s a necessity—our patients, communities, and employees deserve it! 

At ATD 2016 International Conference & Exposition in Denver, I will share the best practices we developed in designing and forming an enterprise-wide learning and development department during—even during times of rapid change. Please join me May 25th for the session, “Silos to Synergy – A Journey to Best-in-Class Associate Education.”


About the Author

Andrew (Andy) Lawrence is the senior director of enterprise learning and personal development for SCL Health, a faith-based health system based in Denver, Colorado. Andy’s career experience spans a wide range of industries including transportation, energy, financial service, telecommunications, consulting, and healthcare.

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