Initially prompted by the Elective recovery plan, a component of the recovery from the Wave 2 Covid position, the ENT Medical Directors at UCLH and Royal Free London Trusts knew there would be benefit in creating a formalised collaboration that could lead to a transformation of ENT services at a system level. Opportunities to create more equitable access to care, consistent standards and enhanced opportunities for staff were clear but abstract, and the Directors were unsure of how to kickstart a such a daunting and potentially fraught change process.
External Groups such Strategy and Planning and Change Management would have their role to play, but given their experience with similar change programs, they felt a standard approach would not be sufficient. The real challenge was to create a leadership coalition to own and drive the change from within.
Leading Strategic Change is a program developed by Human Strategy Consulting, a consulting firm that understand the importance of Change Leadership in successful change initiatives.
‘We have long recognised the need for change management, but have largely outsourced this to practitioners, away from leaders’ says Heather Schoenheimer, Founder of Human Strategy. ‘Yes, this is required, but it’s not enough on its own. The real key to success is Change Leadership. Change managers use processes to manage and contain the negative noise created by change. Change Leaders create momentum behind the change and resilience in their teams to drive towards success.’
Creating a Leadership Team across Trusts with the ability to stand up as authentic Change Leaders was not a straight-forward task. Partnering with NHS OD, Human Strategy worked with the leadership teams through 3 workshops designed to create the alignment, commitment and crucially; ownership, to make this work. In these workshops participants were not stakeholders being ‘consulted’ for input, they were the owners of the change, working through their joint vision.
These workshops encouraged leaders to take a step back to explore their broader context to define a ‘why’ for the change. Leaders were then empowered to design their vision for a future NCL ENT Alliance, designed to address that ‘why’.
Through this process of co-creation, leaders were simultaneously developing their Change Leadership capability. Leaders were encouraged to reflect on their own change journey in real time. Discussion of their own reactions and challenges allowed leaders to recognise the importance of Change Leadership.
What started out as 2 separate groups of individual leaders consumed by tactical obstacles to any sort of change, transformed into a unified Leadership team, aligned around a purpose and focused on the Vision.
And so, as the demands of conflicting priorities and broader transformation programs come into play, the NCL ENT Alliance Leadership Team can help their teams to develop the resilience needed focus on what is important, now and into the future.