Fourth annual NHS leadership and management summit: Leading cultural change

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See the speakers in action

Michael West: collective leadership for culture change

Michael West, Senior Fellow at The King's Fund, explains that to continually improve health and social care, we must design collective leadership into NHS strategy.

Watch highlights from Michael's presentation

Simon Stevens: leading culture change in the NHS

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive, NHS England, highlights the need to lead culture change in the NHS by not only celebrating inspirational leaders, but ensuring they are drawn from a diverse talent pool.

Watch highlights from Simon's presentation

Margaret Heffernan: how can we combat wilful blindness to ensure a culture of quality?

Margaret Heffernan, entrepreneur, CEO and writer, explores how to combat ‘wilful blindness’ to ensure a culture of quality in NHS organisations.

Watch highlights from Margaret's presentation

About this event

This conference was the fourth of our annual NHS leadership and management summits. This year the event looked at the links between effective leadership, organisational culture and good-quality care. It was also one of the first public appearances of Simon Stevens - the new Chief Executive of NHS England.

The summit helped clinical and non-clinical leaders to:

  • understand the importance of good organisational culture and how this relates to quality care
  • learn how to go about changing the culture of an organisation when barriers, such as the 'day job', stand in the way
  • feel inspired to make the commitment to promoting a positive culture.


Breakfast workshop

Lessons in cultural change and leadership from sport
Greg Searle MBE, Olympic rowing gold medallist

  • How Team GB went from one gold medal in Atlanta to twenty nine gold medals in London 2012 
  • How leaders created an engaging vision to transform the organisation from the highest level, to the athlete in the arena 
  • How individuals changed their mind-set to enable others, as well as delivering themselves.

This breakfast workshop was hosted by the summit sponsor Hunter Healthcare and is open to all attendees.

Refreshmentsand networking

Session one: A vision for the future culture of the NHS

Introduction and welcome
Professor Chris Ham, Chief Executive, The King's Fund

Keynote address: Leading culture change in the NHS
Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England

Collective leadership for culture change
Michael West, Professor of Organisational Psychology, Lancaster University Management School, and Senior Fellow, Leadership, The King's Fund

Questions and discussion

Refreshment break, exhibition and networking

Session two: Catalysts for change in culture: initiating positive change in organisations

Chaired by: Vijaya Nath, Assistant Director, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

How can we combat wilful blindness in organisations to ensure a culture of quality?
Margaret Heffernan, entrepreneur, CEO and writer

Margaret's book on Willful Blindness examines why organisations and the people who run them often ignore the obvious. Margaret looked at these issues, how they relate to changing culture in the NHS, and some of the practical ways in which organisations and individuals can tackle them.

Challenging and changing cultures
Maggie Atkinson, The Children’s Commissioner for England

With 30 years’ experience pioneering for young people, Maggie Atkinson offered an invaluable insight into the lessons to be learnt in changing cultures when working across multiple organisations.

Discussion groups

Buffet lunch, exhibition and networking

Session three: Quickfire poster session

This session showcased posters designed by medical and health management students who were taking part in the leadership pairing scheme at Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex. 

The leadership pairing scheme is a joint initiative between Health Education Kent, Surrey and Sussex and the NHS KSS Leadership Collaborative that enables graduate management trainees, in their first year of training in the NHS, to pair up with year 2 Foundation doctors, who are in their second year after qualification. Supported by learning sets, the pairs undertake a patient care improvement project together.

Students on the scheme presented posters describing their patient care improvement projects.

Session four: Breakout sessions

    A: Leadership balance - are women the missing nexus?
    Chaired by: David Naylor, Senior Consultant, Leadership, The King's Fund

    • Dr Karen Castille OBE, Associate Director, NHS Confederation

    B: Implementing culture change in NHS organisations
    Chaired by: Sarah Goodson, Senior Consultant, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    • Sandra Grant, Director of Workforce and Development, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
    • Maxine Power, Director of Organisational Development, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

    C: Strengths-based recruitment
    Chaired by: Anne Benson, Senior Consultant, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    • Professor Katherine Fenton, Chief Nurse, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
    • Marc Donovan, Head of Healthcare HR, Boots UK

    D: How systems and processes can help effect culture change
    Chaired by: Matthew Rice, Senior Consultant, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    • Michael West, Senior Fellow, Leadership, The King’s Fund
    • Jean-Louis Denis, Professeur titulaire, École nationale d'administration publique, Canada

    E: Developing collective leadership in health care
    Chaired by: Dr Richard Murray, Director of Policy, The King's Fund

    • David Altman, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA, Centre for Creative Leadership
    • Dr Regina Eckert, Senior Research Faculty, Center for Creative Leadership
    • Dr Katy Steward, Assistant Director, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    3.45pm: Refreshment break, exhibition and networking

    Session five: A culture of constant learning and improvement

    Welcome back and workshop feedback
    Nicola Hartley, Director, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    Changing culture for vulnerable people
    Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE, Founder and Director, Kids Company

    An award-winning leader, Camila has created a unique and pioneering approach to delivering key services for young people, and provided vital lessons for the NHS in developing environments and cultures that are best suited to patients.

    Questions and discussion

    Closing comments

    Drinks reception


    Simon Stevens

    Chief Executive of NHS England

    Simon Stevens took over as Chief Executive of NHS England on 1 April this year. He spent 15 years working in the NHS and UK public service, and 11 years internationally. He joins NHS England from UnitedHealth Group, where, as President of its global health division, he has led health services in the United States, Europe, Brazil, India, China, Africa, and the Middle East. Previously, he was the organisation's Medicare CEO, commissioning publicly-funded health care for millions of older Americans.

    From 1997 to 2004, Simon was the Prime Minister's Health Adviser at 10 Downing Street, and policy adviser to successive health secretaries at the UK Department of Health. Prior to that, he held a number of senior NHS roles in the north east, London and the south coast – leading acute hospitals, mental health and community services, primary care and health commissioning. Simon joined the NHS through its Graduate Training Scheme in 1988.

    Simon was educated at Balliol College, Oxford; Strathclyde University, Glasgow and Columbia University, New York where he was Harkness Fellow at the New York City Health Department.

    Simon currently volunteers as a member of the board of directors of the Commonwealth Fund, an international health philanthropy. He has previously also served as a trustee of The King's Fund and a director of the Nuffield Trust, as well as a local councillor for Brixton and a visiting professor at the London School of Economics. His work on health care quality, new models of technology-enabled prevention and international health reform is regularly published in leading international medical journals.

    Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE

    Founder and Director, Kid's Company

    Camila is founder and director of Kids Company - offering emotional, practical and educational support to some 11,000 children. The overarching goal is to help strengthen community cohesion, in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.

    The charity focuses on the needs of vulnerable young people without kowtowing to current fads or the latest Government pronouncements. Their multi-disciplinary approach addresses health, housing, emotional well being, sports and youth justice - as well as education and employment.

    Camila leads a dedicated and united team, who have so far raised over £50 million in funding. Since Kids Company started life in six disused railway arches in South London, she has twice re-mortgaged her flat to see the charity through hard times.

    Camila trained in child psychology at the Tavistock Centre. Severely dyslexic, she completed her studies using a tape recorder instead of pen and paper. She has since won several awards, including the title Ernst & Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year. Her book, Shattered Lives: Children living with Courage and Dignity, was shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Prize.

    Dr Margaret Heffernan

    Entrepreneur, CEO and writer

    Margaret produced programmes for the BBC for 13 years. She then moved to the US where she spearheaded multimedia productions for Intuit, The Learning Company and Standard & Poors. She was Chief Executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation and then iCast Corporation, was named one of the 'Top 25' by Streaming Media magazine and one of the 'Top 100 Media Executives' by The Hollywood Reporter.

    Margaret now blogs regularly for CBS Moneywatch, Inc. and the Huffington Post. Her third book, Willful blindness: Why we ignore the obvious at our peril was a finalist for the Financial Times Best Business Book Award 2011 and her TED talk has been seen by over a million people. She has advised CEOs and senior executives of major corporations and of governments as well as the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. She teaches at several business schools and her new book, A bigger prize, comes out in the spring.

    Jean-Louis Denis

    Professeur titulaire, École nationale d'administration publique

    Jean-Louis is a French Canadian expert on leadership in health care organisations. He is Full Professor at the École Nationale d’Administration Publique (ÉNAP) and holds the Canada research chair on governance and transformation of health care organisations and systems at ÉNAP. He is a visiting professor at Euromed Management (Marseille) and researcher at the Institut de recherche en santé publique de l'Université de Montréal.

    Jean-Louis pursues research on governance and process of change in health care organisations and systems. His current research looks at integration of care and services, health care reforms, medical leadership and leadership in professional organisations and the role of scientific evidence in the adoption and implementation of clinical and managerial.

    Dr Maggie Atkinson

    The Children's Commissioner for England, Office of the Children's Commissioner

    Maggie has been Children's Commissioner for England since March 2010.  She has a 30-year career working with and in the interests of children and young people.

    She began her career teaching English and taught in a range of schools from inner cities to shire counties for 11 years. Before taking up the post she was Director of Children's Services in Gateshead. This involved leading staff in various professions and disciplines, as well as 88 partner schools. She also headed revenue budgets for all council services for children and young people.

    Nationally, Maggie has been President of the Association of Directors of Children's Services, Chair of the multi-agency Centre for Excellence in Outcomes and Chair of the Children and Young People's Workforce National Partnership which included skills councils, unions, third sector stakeholders and public bodies. In addition, Maggie Atkinson held a range of positions in local government including County Manager (Education Standards) at Cheshire County Council, Assistant Director (Quality Assurance) at Warrington Council, Ofsted Inspector at Kirklees MBC, and Adviser, Schools Management Support at Birmingham City Council.

    Dr Karen Castille OBE

    Associate Director, NHS Confederation

    An accomplished and recognised NHS leader, Karen has worked in a wide range of NHS organisations at National, Regional and Local NHS Trust levels. As an experienced A&E nurse and a qualified midwife, she has a breadth of practical NHS experience from a variety of clinical and managerial roles across England. She is an expert in leadership and change, possessing an MSc from Manchester, a doctorate (DBA) from Henley Management College and a postgraduate diploma in management consultancy.

    In addition to holding national roles with the Department of Health and the NHS Modernisation Agency, Karen has worked as a Director at South West London Strategic Health Authority, SW London Improvement Academy and St Georges Hospital in London. She has developed and delivered a range of national and local improvement programmes to achieve better care for patients and was awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday Honours in recognition of her national leadership role and her contribution to improving Emergency Care for patients across England.

    In 2007 she was appointed Executive Director of Organisational Development at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, one of the country's leading hospitals. Karen's interest in leadership, culture, staff engagement and organisational development led to the development of Trust-wide values - 'kind, safe and excellent'. These are now used to drive positive behaviour and achieve compassionate care for patients at Cambridge University Hospitals.

    In 2008 the position of the Chief Nurse was added to her role in Cambridge and in 2009 she also broadened her Executive portfolio to become Chief Operating Officer. In May 2012 she was appointed Interim Chief Executive of the Trust with the trust being declared hospital of the year under her leadership.

    Professor Katherine Fenton

    Chief Nurse, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Katherine Fenton was appointed as Chief Nurse in January 2011. Previously she was Director of Clinical Standards and Workforce/Chief Nurse at South Central Strategic Health Authority. Katherine's nursing and midwifery career spans 30 years and has included the posts of Director of Nursing and Patient Services at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust and at Barts and the London NHS Trust.
    Katherine led the development of the Safer Care Tool for setting safe nursing establishments based on the acuity and dependency of the patients. She is the joint-founder and developer of the national Energise for Excellence programme – a call to action for nurses and midwives to lead the way in reducing costs and delivering excellent care. Katherine sits on a number of national groups and has a special interest in increasing the contribution of the professions to improving care pathways and a strong expertise in improving patient safety and service improvement.

    Professor Michael West

    Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Lancaster University Management School, Senior Research Fellow at The Work Foundation and Emeritus Professor at Aston University, and Visiting Fellow, The King's Fund

    Read Michael's biography

    Nicola Hartley

    Director, Leadership Development, The King's Fund

    Read Nicola's biography

    Sandra Grant

    Director of Workforce and Development, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

    Sandra has worked in the NHS for 20 years and brings a wealth of experience gained from across the NHS including commissioning, acute, community and mental health trusts. She also has experience from the private sector having worked within HR in the construction industry. Sandra's executive role has a wide-ranging portfolio including HR management; leadership development; training and education; equality and diversity; communications and engagement, and research and development. Sandra has a passion for people development and sees her role going beyond traditional HR, to support and develop staff to be the best they can be. She has focused the Trust on continually improving quality and challenging poor behaviour.

    Maxine Power

    Director of Organisational Development, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

    As the Director of Innovation and Improvement Science at Salford Royal, Maxine provides strategic leadership, improvement expertise and delivery support for large scale change programmes being delivered locally in Salford, regionally with partners (MAHSC and GM-AHSN) and nationally (NHS England and NHS QUEST). Salford Royal partners with Salford Clinical Commissioning Group and Salford City Council in a joint improvement venture (Haelo) a centre which hosts improvement experts, clinicians and researchers. As Managing Director of Haelo Maxine provides operational leadership to the Centre, which employs 25 WTE staff and contracts with high quality delivery partners to deliver programmes with a collective operating budget of £5m (2013-14). The primary purpose of Haelo is to improve population health and health care for the Salford residents, however they believe this is only possible if they invest in learning partnerships with like -minded providers which centre on shared ambitions for excellence, inclusion and learning. Her key responsibilities include advising the board on strategic planning, relationship management, improvement programme design/evaluation and capability building. A director level senior leadership team of four provide direct reports on specialist functions of programme delivery, measurement, improvement science, and knowledge and communications.

    Prior to Maxine's current role, she worked in the Department of Health Quality Innovation, Productivity and Prevention team (QIPP) as a National Improvement Advisor. In this role she led the design and delivery of a national programme, Safety Express, for safety improvement and cost reduction. She transitioned to the Department of Health from a regional appointment as Director of the Improvement Alliance for NHS North West. In this role, Maxine worked with National and International leaders to develop and deliver capability programmes (including, board development programmes, improvement advisor training and one day programmes). She also set up and ran two demonstration programmes of regional collaboratives in stroke and safety improvement for 31 participant hospitals. Maxine is a non-executive director (governor) on the Board of Governors of the Health Foundation and sit on their Improvement Science Development Group.

    Maxine trained as a Speech and Language Therapist, qualifying in 1988. She worked clinically until 1999 when she was awarded a Medical Research Council Clinical Research Training Fellowship to complete doctoral training in neurophysiology (awarded in 2001). In 2006, Maxine was awarded a Health Foundation Quality Improvement Fellowship, spent one year at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, USA and completed a Masters in Public Health at Harvard University.

    Marc Donovan

    Head of Healthcare HR, Boots UK and Ireland

    Marc has a career in healthcare spanning 20 years. Originally training as a pharmacist at Cardiff University, he has progressed through a number of senior clinical and managerial positions within Boots UK to currently lead the Human Resources team for Healthcare across Boots UK, Boots Opticians and Boots Ireland, and is responsible for 26,000 colleagues including 6000 pharmacists and 700 Optometrists.

    He has previously worked as a prescribing advisor to the Vale of Glamorgan Local Health Board and was one of the first supplementary prescribers to practice in Wales. He is a non-medical independent prescriber where he specialises in the management of cardiovascular disease and medicines management.

    Marc is also currently Vice Chairman of Community Pharmacy Wales and a member of the Welsh Board of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, obtaining Fellowship of their Faculty in 2013.

    David Altman

    Executive Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA, Centre for Creative Leadership

    David is EVP and MD of CCL-EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Previously, he served for over nine years as EVP of CCL’s Research, Innovation and Product Development group. Prior to CCL, David was a tenured Professor of Public Health Sciences and Pediatrics at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston Salem, North Carolina (10 years) and Senior Research Scientist at the Stanford Center for Research in Disease Prevention at Stanford University School of Medicine in Palo Alto, California (10 years).

    As EVP and MD of EMEA, David leads a 100 person team of full-time staff and 130 Associates in their work supporting CCL’s mission. He also serves on the 10 person Executive Team of CCL. EMEA has staff through the region and offices in Brussels [HQ]; Moscow, Russia; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Johannesburg, South Africa. David is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He serves as co-director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded Executive Nurse Fellows program ( David has long supplemented his work in the public health field with a keen interest leadership. At CCL, he has attended the Leadership Development Program (LDP) as a Fellow of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation National Leadership Program, Leading Creatively, Developing Leadership Talent, Assessment Certification Workshop, Coaching Certification Workshop, and Leadership at the Peak programs. He currently serves as a faculty member for the Leadership at the Peak program which is offered in Switzerland and Colorado Springs.

    David earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Social Ecology from the University of California, Irvine where he was selected as Alumni of the year in 2007. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Stanford University.

    Dr Regina Eckert

    Senior Research Faculty, Center for Creative Leadership

    Gina is a scientist-practitioner and applies her research knowledge and findings for the design, delivery and evaluation of customized leadership programs for clients across the EMEA region. Gina uses a range of methodical approaches to create new insights into leaders’ career development, leadership and gender, globally responsible leadership, and leadership challenges around the world.

    Gina has experience with numerous global clients in healthcare, pharma, manufacturing, automotive, finance and education, as well as international and non-profit organisations. She is the co-author of Global6, CCL’s new 360-degree feedback tool for global leadership. Together with Philips and Wharton, she received EFMD Excellence in Practice Awards for Philips Octagon.

    Before joining CCL, Gina has consulted on quality management in German healthcare, on organizational change, and leadership development in the automotive industry.

    Gina divides her time between research and client work, focusing on diversity, women leadership, and global top talent development. She works with clients on initiatives combining leader development with organisational development, culture change, and strategy.

    She speaks and presents on leadership and diversity to both scholars and practitioners and is a thought leader on leadership and sustainability, leadership strategy, and diversity. She is also driving CCL’s evaluation capacity in the EMEA region.

    Gina holds a degree in psychology from the University of Munich, Germany, and a PhD in Management from Aston Business School, UK as well as the Aston post-graduate certificate for teaching and learning in Higher Education (HEA). Her working languages are English and German.

    Gina’s research has been published in research scholarly journals such as the European Journal of Work & Organizational Psychology, Journal of Managerial Psychology, International Journal of Cross-cultural Competence and Management, or the Journal of Global Responsibility. Her work has been mentioned in the Financial Times, various publications of the Center for Creative Leadership, and the German Magazine of Personnel Leadership (Personalführung). Gina is a member of member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), the Academy of Management (AoM), European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP), and the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP).

    Katy Steward

    Assistant Director, Leadership, The King's Fund

    Read Katy's biography


    Session one: A vision for the future culture of the NHS

    Professor Chris Ham: a vision for the future culture of the NHS

    Michael West: collective leadership for culture change

    Session two: Catalysts for change in culture: initiating positive change in organisations

    After the discussion groups, these postcards were created to highlight some of the main points brought up in the break-out sessions:

    Session four: Breakout sessions

    A. Leadership Balance - are women the missing nexus?

    Dr Karen Castille OBE, Associate Director, NHS Confederation

    B. Implementing culture change in NHS organisations

    Sandra Grant, Director of Workforce and Development, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust

    Maxine Power, Director of Organisational Development, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

    C. Strengths-based recruitment

    Professor Katherine Fenton, Chief Nurse, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

    Marc Donovan, Head of Healthcare HR, Boots UK

    E. Developing collective leadership in health care

    Katy Steward, David Altman and Regina Eckert, Center for Creative Leadership