Uniting Stakeholders Around an Organization's Mission

In reviving a mental-health organization, CEO Erv Brinker defined and focused its mission to get board members and workers to better serve "customers"

Erv Brinker is CEO of a mental-health organization established in 1967 in Battle Creek, Mich. Summit Pointe provides inpatient care, outpatient care, housing, and employment opportunities to people who need mental health services. For the first two decades the organization was in chaos, with a revolving door of top leadership that saw 12 chief executives come and go. The changing leadership was a symptom of a dysfunctional board and organization. I recently spoke with Brinker about his leadership approach and the changes he has made. Edited excerpts of our conversation follow:

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