This paper offers those who are leading new systems of care some guidance on how to address the challenges they face. It draws on the Fund’s work on the development of new care models, sustainability and transformation plans, and accountable care organisations. It is also informed by the experience of people who have occupied system leadership roles and draws on case studies from our research and organisational development work.
No. of pages: 24
The paper details five factors that facilitate system leadership:
- develop a shared vision and purpose: this requires a shift from a reactive problem-solving mindset to creating a positive vision of the future built around the needs of local populations
- have frequent personal contact: face-to-face meetings enable leaders to build rapport and understanding and to appreciate and acknowledge each other’s problems and challenges
- surface and resolve conflicts: this depends on leaders’ ability to recognise conflicts, work them through and create the conditions in which it is safe to challenge
- behave altruistically towards each other: to work together in a collaborative way, leaders need to move away from a traditionally competitive style and to focus on the bigger picture
- commit to working together for the longer term: leaders need to invest time and energy in forming effective long-term relationships and to resist the pressure to focus on the immediate, transactional issues.
Our work shows the importance of working on all five factors together and of focusing on the need to transform the relationships among people in the system. NHS leaders could benefit from the experience local authority leaders have in achieving results through consultation, engagement, persuasion and influence.
How can we help?
Organisational development practitioners respond to the specific needs of each area and each group of leaders, and can use their skills to enable leaders to find solutions through reflection and dialogue.
Our Leadership and Organisational Development team has experience of working with a range of partners in new care models and other joint bodies, supporting them in creating the leadership and culture they need to work across the system.
We also offer a range of leadership development programmes that aim to support collaborative working, including our Building collaborative leadership programme and the Advanced OD practitioner programme.
- Nick Timmins talks to Ruth Carnall, managing partner at Carnall Farrar, about her experience as a chief executive in NHS London, the barriers facing system leaders, and whether system leadership can be taught. Watch the video >
- David Meates, chief executive of the Canterbury District Health Board in South Island, New Zealand, describes how transformation was delivered. Watch the video >