Organisations may not thrive or even survive unless the top team becomes and acts as “The Brain of the Business”, is totally aligned, and inspires the rest of the organisation to take ownership of and fulfil its defined mission. To enable a radical change in the way an organisation operates requires senior leaders to champion engagement and behavioural change throughout the workforce. Step 1 is to improve the performance of the board.
Ridgeway Partnership, Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust.
Results to date:
- More empowered and engaged Executive Directors
- A Board now tackling issues that have been around a long time
- A developing culture of openness and honesty.
- Board Meetings are constructive and productive
- Improved relationships and good social interaction among Board members.
- Much more effective communications and dialogue between executive and non-executive board members.
Ridgeway Partnership (Oxfordshire Learning Disability NHS Trust) specialises in delivering services for people with learning disabilities and other complex health and social care needs in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties.
In 2007, Ridgeway Partnership set out to achieve Foundation Trust status. An initial ‘diagnostic exercise’ revealed that while there were no fundamental obstacles to Ridgeway becoming a Foundation Trust, the performance of the Board needed development. The Board needed to present itself as a strong and confident team in order to lead the organisation through a significant and fundamental organisational change. After a review with non-executive directors, and with the agreement of the Chief Executive, Ridgeway decided to bring in LeaderShape.
Our organisation undertook what was perceived as a role of high integrity, challenging initial perceptions of what was needed. CEO Lady Berkeley (Julia Clarke) says she had not really come across the concept of Emotional Intelligence and its link with leadership styles before.
Julia was so impressed by the LeaderShape approached she joined LeaderShape and helped develop a team with a deep understanding of the NHS and an ability to tailor programmes to the outcomes required.
LeaderShape’s first intervention was to interview every board member and observe board meetings. A detailed, non-attributable report was made available to the directors outlining the key issues. Together these factors were damaging the effectiveness of the Board and the performance of the organisation as a whole. The agreed solution was to develop and deliver a series of workshops for the entire board (Execs and Non-Execs) and provide coaching for the Chair and Chief Executive. Each workshop was organised so that there was some knowledge transfer but that much of the time was spent creating insights and generating solutions, commitments were made to take action in the workplace before the next workshop. Workshops were spaced approximately one month apart to allow for reflection and practice. The final workshops centred on leadership development. This followed well proven LeaderShape formats covering developing awareness of the need for emotional intelligence, understanding the 6 key leadership styles and the importance of developing new behaviours in order to use them.
The final learning was that the key role for senior leaders is to create a climate that enables the development of a performance enhancing culture.
NB. Ridgeway Partnership has now merged with Southern Health.