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Certified Leader of Employee Owners

Case Study Summary

One healthcare optimization company wished to improve the business acumen and engagement of their Employee Owners. We introduced the Certified Leader of Employee Ownership (CLEO) Program soon after their transition to an ESOP. The program is engaging, live, online, and tailored to the needs of learners. The program is designed to produce leaders with the skills, capabilities, and enthusiasm to increase the business's growth through its employees. 


Supervisors, managers, and directors of the company, as well as high-level contributors with a growth mindset, are my target audience. Each seminar session has a mix of ranks and scope. This diversity enhances the program and provides essential team building and engagement.


Over the course of 8 months, my team delivered the learning journey to over 150 leaders at every level, along with an additional 30 individual contributors.

The Solution

The training is delivered over six, 2.5-hour live online sessions. Learners also complete independent or small group exercises between sessions and report on their experiences when they return. The total engagement may be up to 20 hours of both in-seminar and independent learning activities.

Our content is organized around the Center of Creative Leadership model of Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading the Business. Some of the content areas include the role of the leader, business and financial acumen, Employee Owner performance conversations, Performance Thinking (Human Performance Improvement), development planning, and more.

In addition to essential content, our learning design includes evidence-informed tools, processes, and conversations. We include:

  • Asynchronous, "Independent" work between sessions and after the program

  • Visible Executive Sponsorship

  • Engaging and authentic learning in live online sessions

  • A world-class business simulation

  • Case studies tailored to the specific competency and context of CLEOs

  • Supplemental readings, videos, reflection exercises, and practices


A digital action plan with Freddie the Coach from Knowly™ to assure follow through and track impact

The Results

I collected results continually. My team used Agile principles in designing and delivering the program, learned fast, and adapted as we went.


One data collection tool is an innovative application for digital action planning called Freddie the Coach from This tool allows our L&D team visibility into CLEO's intentions to follow through on their learning with specific applications.


Another is an online Fluency Builder flashcard exercises. My team developed a set of 53 fact-based flashcards on program content and the strategic plan. CLEOs are expected to 'know these things without having to look them up!" Several rounds of study and quiz over the program have shown improvements of over 200% from the first round.


The CLEO Program is designed to help CLEOs produce these valuable work deliverables: A sought-after company to transform the health of populations by 2025


  • Employee-Owners who live Our Values: Community, Ingenuity, Integrity, Ownership

  • Employee Owners who value our Ownership Story

  • Conversations to connect our strategy to our employee-owners

  • Teams who improve workflow, contract performance, and resource allocation

  • Teams who work cross-functionally

  • Regular 1:1 Meetings

  • Continuous improvement tools utilized

  • CLEO and employee-owner development plans


I put special emphasis on deliverables we could count, and whose quality we could see and assess. We used several indicators of our success, which included:


  1. CLEO nominations and the quality of the nominations, attendance, learner participation, engagement, and survey responses

  2. CLEO participant action plans and follow-up meetings (Specific actions to apply their learning, along with follow-up actions tracked by Freddie the Coach from Knowly™ online application, and reports from each CLEO's supporters.)

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