John F. (Jack) Gilligan, Ph.D., is president and chief executive officer of Fayette Companies and its subsidiaries: Human Service Center, White Oaks Companies of Illinois, Behavioral Health Advantages, Inc., BHA Poland Sp.z.o.o., Human Service Center Foundation, Perry & Monroe Investment Co., Advantage Enterprises, Inc., and Advantage Behavioral Health, LLC.
Dr. Gilligan, a licensed clinical psychologist, has developed a unique combinations of not-for-profit and for-profit enterprises which have significantly expanded the regions mental health, drug, and alcohol treatment services. Furthermore, as a founding member and vice chairman of the Leadership Development Center since 1985, Dr. Gilligan has provided managerial training and consultation to managers representing more than 200 of the Fortune 500 corporations.
Internationally, BHA Poland, located in Warsaw, provides consultation and management training to multi-national corporations doing business in Central and Eastern Europe.
Dr. Gilligan has been appointed to the International Drug Strategy Institute by Drug Watch International. He serves as the Director of International Delegates to Drug Watch International and as its representative to the United Nations. Dr. Gilligan is a Governor’s appointee to both the Illinois State Advisory Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependency and the Illinois Quality Care Board for Mental Health.
He is chairperson of the Tri-County Community Partnership, a partnership of community business leaders working toward a drug-free community. Dr. Gilligan has served on the boards of St. Francis Medical Center Community Clinic, the Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and the Hult Health Education Center. He is also a member of the Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, Multi-Ad, Inc. board of directors, and the Creve Coeur Club board of directors.
Dr. Gilligan earned degrees both in the United States and Europe. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Idaho and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical psychology from the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute. He came to the Peoria area in 1973.
The Fayette Companies formed in 1984 to basically manage Peoria’s Human Service Center, correct? How did that scenario develop?
The formation of The Human Service Center in 1976 was a consolidation of four predecessor organizations including the Mental Health Clinic of Peoria, Tazewell, and Woodford Counties (the first mental health clinic in the state of Illinois, dating back to 1938); the Stonehedge Foundation (the first licensed drug treatment program in the state, formed in the early 1970s); the Peoria Area Council on Alcoholism; and the Community Mental Health Board.
We at the Human Service Center realized a couple of things in the early 1980s. The federal and state government would probably no longer be the rich uncle that social service organizations could depend upon. It also seemed to us that a new sort of competitiveness was beginning to occur in healthcare in the 1980s. So we made the decision at that time to re-conceptualize and restructure ourselves as a business – to operate as a business with a very special mission. That’s when we started putting the Fayette Companies together.
Our vision was to build an institution that would live beyond all of us; that would be recognized and known for its competence, excellence of service and customer responsiveness in the fields of mental health, drug and alcohol, and management consultation. We set out to build an organization that could generate the necessary wealth needed to serve all in our community regardless of their economic status as well as the wealth necessary to attract and keep talented employees. Our vision also included a commitment as a corporate citizen to be actively involved in enhancing the quality of life in our community.
I think we have done well in our vision, but like all visions there is still much to be accomplished. Anyway, the Human Service Center became the first subsidiary of Fayette Companies and others were soon to follow.
Most people are aware of many of the services offered through the Human Service Center and White Oaks Companies of Illinois, the joint partnership with Methodist Health Services Corporation. There is less familiarity with some of the other Fayette Companies, however. Tell us about Behavioral Health Advantages, Inc.
We believe it was important to have a strategic business unit that could address the unique needs of the commercial market – the specific needs of employers, supervisors and their employees – such as a management training, supervision issues, workplace problems, individual counseling needs of employees, and things that affect the overall functioning of employees in the workplace. Behavioral Health Advantage (BHA) was started with that in mind. BHA’s mission is to help manage the human factor at work. In addition to providing management consultation and training it also manages the behavioral health benefits and provides employee assistance programs (EAPs) as well as offering specialized counseling services to employees.
How did BHA Poland begin?
It so happened that the former managing partner here in Peoria for Price Waterhouse, Bob Burgess, accepted an assignment as the managing partner in Warsaw. He knew our organization well and the kinds of management consultation services we rendered over the years. He believed there were some excellent and interesting opportunities for an organization with our kinds of skills, and the needs of the newly emerging markets in Eastern Europe. I made several trips to investigate the possibilities. The end result was that we established a subsidiary corporation called BHA Poland which – even as we speak – does management training and organizational development with multinational corporations operating in Warsaw.
What is Advantage Enterprises?
Advantage Enterprises was originally set up as a corporation through which Fayette Companies could do for-profit kinds of activities that would be totally unrelated to our core business. We explored a number of business opportunities and even sold some computer software we had developed within the organization. It became clear, however, that the best use of our resources was in the area of what we already know and do well. Consequently, we decided not to pursue unrelated business activities. Right now, however, we are using Advantage Enterprises as an organization through which we can hire individuals who are recovering, for example, from substance abuse or mental health problems. It allows them the opportunity to acquire steady work experience and gradually return to full employment.
Advantage Behavioral Health?
Advantage Behavioral Health is a limited liability corporation, a partnership with Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington, which provides management of behavioral healthcare benefits given by Central Illinois corporations to their employees. We are now establishing a network of behavioral health providers throughout 27 counties in Central Illinois.
Today’s workplace is nothing like the workplace of 20 years ago. How has it changed the most and what trends will continue into the 21st century?
The biggest trend I see in the workplace is not just change, but the rapidity of change. Managers these days need to practice what we call “white water management” – you never know what you are going to encounter. I don’t see that changing.
The pace has picked up for a number of reasons. Obviously, technology speeds business transactions; the recent activity on the currency exchange markets, a trillion dollar a day activity, is just one example.
There has also been a tremendous population explosion. Many people don’t realize the population of the world has doubled since the 1950s – from slightly over 2 billion people to almost six billion. The population increases, on average, about 93 million every year. That’s equivalent to about four Mexico Cities being added to the world each year. Hey, that certainly makes for a lot of problems, but is also makes for a lot of business opportunities: infrastructure development, pollution controls, and an explosion on entrepreneurial activities. Anyone who has visited East Asia recently can vouch for that.
The biggest change with the most dramatic effects, I believe, was the end of the Cold War. From the “Fall of the Wall” in Berlin to the dissolution of the Soviet Union, we catapulted into a unipolar world from a bipolar world. The entire world is now open for business. It is not longer split between the capitalist economies and the communist economies. There is now only a one-world economy that exceeds the grasp and control of any one nation – including our own. So, the rules have changed and everything has become so complex, no one person can figure it all out. The conflict over various trade agreements are just symptoms and signs of problems to come as a result of this new world order – or maybe it’s better called a new world disorder.
What should local businesses be doing to prepare themselves for the future, regarding human capital?
The big changes we fact today is in reconceptualizing the work force into a talent force. Businesses need a talent force in order to be competitive. By talent force, I don’t mean simply certain skills and knowledge; that is a give; without those skills you will not be able to function in the new economy, unless it is at some low level job which doesn’t demand high skills. A talent force also implies motivation, innovation, creativity, and the ability of workers to work effectively as part of a team. It requires people to work in many lateral ways in which they have never had to work before, without any particular authority over anyone. That’s a whole new dynamic. That requires a classic paradigm shift.
All of us have grown up in the triangular world, where everything has been directed from the top down in a very orderly, systematic fashion – a model, I might add, that was successful for the conditions of history at the time. However, many of us haven’t’ know any other model. This is a problem because differentiation and specialization of work is the hallmark of the new global economy. There are few goods and services that still originate and are distributed from one location. The modern automobile, TV, airplane, and travel bureau are far more sophisticated, efficient, do more things better, and last longer that goods and services just a few years ago. It’s all the result of specialization and attention to detail.
But, at some point, the specialized component parts much be integrated into a whole. And, the paradox is that for this to happen it requires that all these specialists work in tandem with one another as they develop, produce, and deliver their goods and services. Never at a time in history of the world has such specialization in production of goods and services required the collaboration and cooperation of so many people for success. The traditional work force will not suffice. The talent force is now the only force.
Newsweek recently did a cover feature on today’s “stressed out” workers. How are job uncertainty, downsizing, and the changing workplace paradigm affecting our community and businesses?
It’s affecting our community much the same way it is affecting most places across the United States. If anything, the U.S. is on the leading edge of how business needs to be conducted throughout the world. The kinds of problems we are experiencing here are the kinds of problems other developed nations are experiencing or will be experiencing in the very near future: automation of the workfloor, restructuring of work, increased employee responsibility and autonomy, reduction of management layers, and increased demands for talented employees.
Finding new ways of working smarter will be endless and that will always contribute a sense of uncertainty and insecurity to workers with limited mobility, talent, skills, and capacities to learn. Workers so feel under a lot of pressure. Competition in the world today is at a frenetic pace. Consequently, for employees, the pace is likewise fast and they don’t seem able to keep up. The demands are multiple and uncertain. It’s sort of life being in the goalie cage where ten people are shooting a hockey puck at you from all different directions at once. That’s just the way the workplace is today. What one needs to learn is how to manage that. It requires self-management and discipline on the part of the individual. It also requires management on the part of the organization – a kind of internal organizational discipline, in order that the organization itself doesn’t come undone under competitive pressures.
New degrees of freedom bring new degrees of responsibility, and a demand for more personal and organizational discipline than we have ever had or, I should emphasize, needed before. This discipline has to be internal – not external, like in the old days. This constitutes the maturing pains many workers and companies are going through.
How do Peoria business managers react to contemporary “cutting edge” developments concerning such things as employee assistance services, workforce development, management techniques, etc.? Where is our area on the scale of workplace change?
Some of it varies from one industry to another, which is very typical across the United States. Peoria is very sophisticated, in many ways, about management and management practices; many people may not realize that. I think that comes from the act that – unknown to many – there are a lot of businesses in the Peoria area which are international in scope. I believe there is a lot of savvy within the Peoria business community.
Of course, knowing a lot about management doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to manage. That’s where many corporations are having the most difficulty; putting into practice what they know.
We’ve all been imbued with a command and control model of management – still needed at times. But, what is required more today is the ability to get people to work effectively together in order to get things done effectively. For many, this is like trying to learn how to write with their left hand when all they know is how to write with their right hand.
The world is very different today than in the 40s, 50s and 60s when many of us grew up. Is the age of U.S. dominance in economic opportunity and standard of living over?
I suppose it depends on what we mean by dominance. It was clear in the 1950s that the U.S. produced more than half the world’s GDP. Today is it about 22 percent. But that’s because after WWII there weren’t many industries still left standing in other parts of the world to produce much of anything. It was just a question of time before other nations caught up.
I don’t think of it in terms of dominance, like we are all at some football game screaming “We’re number one!” To me it’s a question of how well American can contribute to increasing the standard of living of people in other parts of the world as well as in our own nation. What kinds of goods and services are needed in the global marketplace? Whatever they are, it will require more knowledge and skill on the part of our citizens. Unless we want to produce toothpicks, these industries must be high knowledge and high skilled industries if we are to increase our standard of living and be really out in front in world competition. What’s going to make a country truly competitive in terms of the world marketplace is its citizens acquiring the skills, knowledge, and right kinds of habits to function in the 21st century. Much of that rests on how well our population is educated, and how well our behavioral patterns as a nation promote productivity and creativity.
Affirmative action is a hot button today, and looks to be an important issue in the 1996 elections. How do you view current affirmative action initiatives and what do you see happening in the future?
These issues certainly have become politicized, but they miss the real point: our primary challenge in America is to develop a truly informed and educated citizenry. If workers don’t have a complement of skills and knowledge and the ability to work well with other people, there is no place for them in terms of the new business environment That is the major problem.
Given the fact that we live in a world community made up of both men and women and a great mixture of ethnic groups, any organization benefits from having that mixture and dynamic in the organization. Any business worth its salt is looking for good talent and good people to bring into their organization, who will contribute diverse and insightful views about how to make the business better.
You obviously deal heavily with drug problems. Illegal drugs are one of our society’s greatest problems. Tell us about your work in that area, locally and internationally.
Most developed countries seem to be plagued with drug problems. Obviously the workplace is a place where you cannot tolerate the use of drugs for many reason; including safety, health, job effectiveness, and so on. Drugs are a cancer injected into the talent of the work force.
There is some good news and bad news. The good news is that, in the past 20 years, the number of young people experimenting with drugs or using drugs on a regular basis has greatly diminished, although there has been, unfortunately, a recent uptake in that trend.
The bad news, no matter what we do, there seems to be an abundant supply of drugs out there for people who want to get them. In fact, like breakfast cereal, there is always something new our on the street every six months or so. I don’t see that changing very much. Furthermore, we have little control over the flow of drugs because the borders of the world are so porous and the mechanisms for high speed transportation so available. Yet I hasten to add that controls on the supply of drugs do work, but imperfectly. If they were not in place, I truly believe that the problem would be far more severe than it is.
It seems to me that the answers to the drug problems as well as alcohol abuse are to be found in our communities and our work places. Given the mobility of Americans, a community of home can end up being nothing more than a place to “work our of.” Connections with those who live around us weaken or don’t even get formed. And little investment in improving the quality of community life, if any, is made. Is it any wonder that crime and drug abuse take over? The quality of our lives rests on the kinds of communities we develop, which often requires foregoing some of our individual pursuits for the greater good of the community. That’s something America is wrestling with.
Healthcare reform continues to be a major concern, although private sector initiatives have reduced costs over the past two years. What do you see happening in healthcare over the next decade locally and nationally?
It’s important to put heath care in the context of a service industry rather than a manufacturing industry. We have witnessed, in the past ten years, a major restructuring or manufacturing. Productivity has grown tremendously; we produce more goods with less workers than ever before. Agriculture is another example of tremendous productivity increases with very few workers.
The service industry is struggling with the productivity issue – finding ways of how services are going to be conceptualized, re-engineered, packaged, and delivered. That’s what is happening in the healthcare industry. I would add that the next industry to undergo similar scrutiny will be education.
Healthcare is in the midst of transformation. I do believe we will see better healthcare, more effectively delivered, and at lesser costs. Those healthcare organizations that cannot find a way to provide more healthcare to more people at less costs aren’t going to be around long. New technologies and new medications certainly will feed healthcare costs, but the re-engineering or the discovery of new ways to deliver healthcare is where the action is.
Out of national budget necessity, Medicare and Medicaid are certain to change. Where do you see that whole scenario heading?
Medicare and Medicaid can be delivered in far more efficient and effective ways than is presently the care. There are so many perverse incentives in these programs it’s amazing they don’t cost even more than they do. However, given the chunk of money these programs currently occupy in the federal budget, we are only kidding ourselves if we say we aren’t going to touch them. Sooner or later, these mushrooming costs will force some action. Unfortunately, few talk about reducing costs by rethinking how these healthcare services could be delivered in a more effective and efficient manner. Most of the discussions are about different ways of continuing to finance a system of delivery that is, in fact, self-defeating both for the payer, the system and sometimes the patient.
How is the field of mental health changing? How will local mental health services be impacted by budget cuts at the state and federal levels?
Mental health, as part of healthcare, gets affected in the same ways as healthcare in general. For example, managed care of mental health and substance abuse treatment is becoming, just as it is in the rest of healthcare, a more and more dominant force for controlling healthcare costs.
However, the biggest changes in mental health over the past few years have been twofold. One, there is a greater acceptance of personal counseling among the population at large, so there is less of a stigma attached. Secondly, the deinstitutionalization of those who are seriously mentally ill – including the closing of numerous state facilities, without appropriate resources being given to our communities – has created some serious problems which have not been adequately addressed.
On the other hand, the advances in medications and treatments for some mental illness which are clearly biologically based have led to very effective treatments.
Many people today who have suffered a mental illness are functioning quite well in society because medication has radically regulated their problems.
Since the 1960s, the U.S. has developed a fairly elaborate system of social services which have become very dependent on tax dollars. It appears that budgetary concerns will drive national policy concerning government assistance in the coming years. How will that change things in our society?
It is said that if you want to change the way things work, you have to change the way you think things work.
Social services in America are, again, faced with the productivity issue with which all service industries are faced. It requires a reconceptualization and reengineering of how the services are to be delivered, and a view toward more innovative more creative, and less costly ways of doing things.
In your view, does that entail the privatization of some of these services which have traditionally been delivered through government bureaucracy?
Absolutely! That will be a requirement. It’s interesting that we want Russia and Eastern Europe to privatize everything, but when it comes to some programs run by the government here in the United States, it becomes taboo. I believe it’s just a question of time.
Do you see the current move by Congress to decentralize and move many things away from federal control to the state and local level as a positive sign? Are there some dangers involved?
Certainly there are some dangers, but I see it as the route to go. The action is at the local, community level in so many areas in terms of safety, environment, and quality of life. These issues can only be effectively addressed by communities organizing themselves to solve their problems. The federal government can be supportive and enhance those efforts.
On the other hand, one needs to be careful, because there is a tendency to dump things on states and communities in such a way that some good programs might get watered down or eliminated. It’s a hard balance, but ultimately the solution must be at the local level, with citizens taking more and more responsibility for what does on within their communities.
Are you optimistic that we can make this transition?
Some communities have the maturity, motivation and capacity to assume this responsibility. These communities will do well, and better than anything Washington could deliver. Other communities, and perhaps way too many of them, have limited capacity, poor leadership, and a defeated spirit. If the federal government abandons them, they will certainly rot.
You speak and write about leadership and management. Tell us briefly some of your philosophies concerning leadership and business management.
For me, there are few jobs more important to society than that of management and manger. They very success of society’s institutions – be they political, religious, educational, financial, or legal – depends upon effective management and managers.
Who is entrusted with the organization’s capital and human resources – whether they be buildings, machines, money, or human talent? Managers, of course.
Since managers are invested with the institutional responsibility, authority and power to wisely use, develop and direct those resources for the good of the organization, they can really make a positive difference on the world in which we live. On the other hand, managers also have it within their power to neglect, squander, and even poison theses resources.
I also view management as a profession. And like all professions it has a body of knowledge, set of skills, and a code of ethics. Effective management is what will make America the most competitive nation on earth. The need for effective and highly competent managers is greater than it has ever been.
Much of what you have written centers around a restoration of the concept of individual responsibility and discipline. Would you elaborate on your thoughts on this subject?
These can be no great achievements or successes in life by individuals or organizations without discipline. For most of human history, that discipline has always been external – a form of coercion. People developed their skills because they were more or less forced to. If you go to Paris Island, you will get in good physical shape! The master sergeant will see to it.
The world is different now. There is less coercion and less external authority. Even informal authority that governs how you dress or behave is diminishing. And there are more options from which to choose, and no one will say no. With all of these freedoms, it’s east to get overweight, out of shape, or just flow along in life. There are certain downsides to having a lot of freedom, both body and mind become undisciplined.
I just don’t see external pressure or coercion coming back in the workplace. It’s almost impossible today to impose much external coercion in the workplace. How do you acquire the needed discipline to succeed? It has to be internal, based on a certain set of values. It has to be based on an agreement with co-workers, families, or communities.
I don’t think it’s a bad thing that we have lost these external kinds of coercion that forced us to live a disciplined life. On the other hand, if you don’t live a disciplined life, it probably won’t be a fulfilling or successful one.
If you could give business leaders one message, what would it be?
My message to those of us who are business leaders would be that the successes and accomplishments of our organizations are totally dependent upon how well our employees are functioning. They are our talent force. Talent is everything. The single most important resource and cause of a corporation’s success in the marketplace is the human talent of the organization and how well it is drawn upon or released into the organization. It behooves us, then, to do everything we can to develop their talent, to enhance their commitment, and to facilitate their buying into the shared stewardship of the organization. In the end, the human resource is the only resource. IBI