Linking Leaders – an idea of our time? by @drmarknewbold – @Medici_Manager @muirgray

Very good post of  Mark Newbold, CEO of Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust

One of the joys of my job is meeting and mentoring young people, from either managerial or clinical backgrounds. Young people lack cynicism, and have a belief in their ideas which is often energising. Recently I met Fiona Rodden, who like me believes the successful leaders of the future will be those who understand the power of collaboration and cross-boundary working, and who can make it work.

I’ll let Fiona tell you about Linking Leaders in her own words…

Everyone talks about the need for greater collaboration in health and care, but how do we do it? It starts from rejecting stereotypes and changing our viewpoint. We must recognise that a finance manager values good patient care as much as a ward nurse, that people working in provider organisations have higher goals than trying to wrangle more money out of commissioners, and that neither established or future leaders can make the changes needed on their own.

Many people working in health are leading amazing, innovative projects that improve care. But the trick is to hear about them straight from the horse’s mouth in a way that’s interests and enthuses, rather than via (ahem) blogs or journal articles.

A number of us set up Linking Leaders to address this. It’s both a community and a social movement. In a nutshell it’s a network of people across professions, sectors, geographies and levels in the hierarchy that want to shape the future of health and care.

To build relationships across boundaries we need to talk face-to-face about what’s important to us. We want to get to know each other and share a joke, not just ‘network’. We want to show people it’s not a CPD tick box or membership card we’re looking for, but a real improvement in care provision that we’re prepared to go above and beyond to achieve.

You know that moment at a meeting when you wonder who you’re talking to? You surreptitiously look at their badge, and see their name, role and organisation. You think you have them pegged but, by doing that (as we all have) we’re just adding more bricks to the wall. At Linking Leaders meetings you look down and see their name and three things they care about. Then you realise you don’t know what they do, so you ask them. 

The point is, whether you’re a Chief Exec or someone just starting out, when we connect based on our values we connect much more deeply, because we have shared interests and common purpose. We hear their input into our ideas more successfully as a result.

This approach really works, and members have improved care as a result. They have improved projects, improved ways of communicating with patients and staff groups, and made real changes to patient care. 

The key thing is that people are motivated by knowing there are others who think similarly and want the same things. And it’s more exciting when they’re from a different field, because you get to learn something new.

Sounds spot on to me. I asked Fiona for some examples …

  • One member, a clinician, changed the way they ask for patient feedback based on a model given at the event by Mike Chester of Virtual Angina.
  • Another member has improved communications between GPs and hospital doctors by implementing simple, pre-existing technology.

Fiona says they find it is often small and subtle changes that generate most patient benefit, but whether small or large they all derive from the exchange of ideas and experiences between people with shared values.

A final word from Fiona …

Everyone can do all the things that Linking Leaders does wherever they are, connecting based on values, building relationships with people in different spheres, sharing innovation and challenges and improving care. But if they’re interested and want to get involved, they’re more than welcome.

If you want to make contact with Fiona and Linking Leaders to find out more, click here

http://www.marknewbold.com/index.php/2012/12/19/linking-leaders-idea-time/ 

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