Building collaborative leadership across health and care organisations

This content relates to the following topics:

Integration and collaboration are central features of current health care policy. The NHS long-term plan has confirmed this direction of travel setting out that all parts of England will be covered by an integrated care system (ICS) by 2021. 

Integrated care systems and other ‘place-based’ developments require NHS leaders and staff to shift their ways of working and adopt a more collaborative style. This is no easy task: reconfiguring and transforming the way health and care services are delivered in a financially constrained environment will require some different ways of ‘doing business’.  

Who is it for?

This programme is for chief executives of NHS providers, chairs and chief operating officers of clinical commissioning groups and experienced senior directors working in an ICS or place-based leadership team. This is an essential programme if you are a chief executive or senior director who really wants to maximise the opportunities of working with peers across an ICS or integrated care partnership.

This was a very timely programme for me – the structure worked well with my busy diary, and it gave me some useful techniques and tips to take back and use in my leadership role.
Director of finance across three clinical commissioning groups

How will you benefit from this programme?

Participants will:

  • gain knowledge of models and conceptual frameworks that support a more collaborative style of leadership
  • have the opportunity to identify at an individual level how they will make a tangible difference as a collaborative leader in their local health and social care system
  • develop strategies to help them overcome local challenges that may be hindering a more collaborative operating model
  • gain a better understanding of different organisational perspectives
  • have the opportunity to participate in a national network with other NHS and social care leaders.

What will you do on this programme?

The programme will provide experienced leaders with protected space to develop the skills and behaviours associated with a more collaborative style of leadership. It will also explore the style, culture and behaviours that participants are promoting within their organisation – as staff at all levels will need to work more collaboratively across organisational and professional boundaries if new health and care models are to succeed.

The programme will run over seven months and comprises:

  • four modules – one two-day module (module one) and three one-and-a-half-day modules (modules two, three and four).
  • telephone conversations between the programme participants and programme director, which will be held four–six weeks before the programme starts to identify personal goals and ambitions. This information will be used to design the content of the modules
  • a maximum of 16 participants.

Previous contributors have included:

  • Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Sir Chris Ham, former Chief Executive, The King's Fund
  • Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement 
  • Mark Devlin, Chief Operating Officer, Unicef UK

Programme structure

Module one: Defining you and the system

  • Explore the different organisational interests and perspectives in your system
  • Principles for working collaboratively
  • Examining the local ‘dialogue’ and what you may do to shift ‘stuck patterns’.

Module two: System and place-based leadership

  • Developing a collaborative leadership mindset
  • Enhancing your dialogue skills
  • Working across ‘place’
  • Network theory and application.

Module three: Power, politics and decision making

  • Understanding the neuroscience behind our behaviour
  • Holding ‘generative’ conversations to produce tangible change
  • Creating conditions to support collaboration.

Module four: Building and developing collective impact

  • Building and developing collective responsibility
  • Architects of complex decisions
  • Designing your own model of collaborative leadership.

Programme team

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Nicola Walsh

Assistant Director of Leadership and Organisational Development

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Stephanie de Sarandy

Leadership Associate

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