NHS North West Leadership Academy HRDs

Find out how OPP's development tools assisted HR Directors

A “Centre for Excellence” in senior leadership and strategy development, the Leadership Academy supports the region’s senior leaders and their Boards to deliver the most effective healthcare to their local populations.

NHS North West Leadership Academy HR

Project background

The Strategic Health Authority, who founded the Leadership Academy, identified the need for a development programme for the region’s HR Directors to enable them to rise to the challenges of ongoing change and empower them to lead their organisation in nurturing a patient-centred approach. As the HRDs were increasingly being asked to fulfil an organisational development function, an overall strategic awareness was more necessary than ever.

Having already designed a competency framework for the Leadership Academy on behalf of NHS North West, OPP were well placed to advise on possible development centres that would address these needs. Having won the tender, OPP put together an event that would equip the HRDs with a wide range of essential skills, knowledge and behaviours.

“Working closely with OPP on the development of the key competencies enabled us to co-create a bespoke development centre that would meet the needs of HR Directors in the North West,” explains Deborah Arnot, Deputy Director. “Coupled with our expert knowledge of the NHS context, OPP’s expertise in presenting and future agendas made for a cohesive, comprehensive product that was future-focused and tailored to the HRDs’ future role."

The solution

OPP began by organising a ‘Diagnosis and Discovery’ event aimed firstly at describing the characteristics of the HRD population and identifying their development needs (diagnosis), and secondly at raising the HRD’s awareness levels of their own style and giving them help to improve their approach in their day-to-day working lives (discovery).

OPP’s consultants carried out a series of stakeholder interviews and competency mapping exercises using the NHS’s own LQF (Leadership Qualities Framework). This enabled them to identify a benchmark for performance on several criteria, against which the HRD participants could be compared. The resulting event was a two-day development intervention comprising self-analysis, psychometric feedback and workplace simulations, which was attended by a total of 37 HRDs from across the North West region.

Before the event, the participants were asked to complete their choice of the FIRO-B® or MBTI® Step I or Step II questionnaires, which look at different elements of personality, and are useful for raising self-awareness. In addition, they completed the Potentia assessment and the NHS’s own tool, the LQF 360-degree feedback questionnaire, which defines an individual’s performance against competencies that were also used in the development event.

The first day of the event saw a programme of intensive but stimulating workplace simulations. The exercises were observed by OPP’s consultants who later prepared reports based on individual performance against the benchmark competencies.

The second day consisted of feedback on, and consolidation of, the results of the personality questionnaires and observations from the pre-work and day one. OPP’s consultants worked one-to-one with the participants to help them understand their personality results and feed back their observations. This helped participants to identify their own strengths and possible blind spots when working in the context of organisational development and strategic leadership. This learning was reinforced with peer feedback from the other participants, which was found to be especially useful.

Results

Feedback from the delegates who attended the event was very positive, with 94% stating that the event would have a positive impact on their performance at work, all highly rating the levels of self-awareness it had helped them achieve, and 93% saying they would use what they had learned back in the workplace “frequently” or “almost all the time”.

In addition, OPP provided an analysis of the overall group results on each of the LQF competencies, gleaned from across the psychometric data and observations. The analysis showed that strategic influencing was a key development area for the HRDs. As this was also a key skill identified at the start of the project, OPP was commissioned to create a bespoke solution aimed at helping leaders adapt their influencing style according to the situation and audience, and raise their awareness of their own style and other ways of communicating in the context of their own organisational culture. It was hoped that this would give the HRDs a wider-ranging toolkit to dip into when thinking about, and taking the lead on, organisational development and other strategic initiatives.

The two-day workshop focused on a deeper understanding of the MBTI instrument and insights from the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument (TKI ), followed by a discussion on stakeholder management where participants were encouraged to use their learning to work through real-life examples of people they needed to influence and wanted to improve their relationships with. The workshop finished with an action-planning session in which participants were assisted in outlining how they would take their learning forward.

Just like the Diagnosis and Discovery event, the participant feedback on the strategic influencing workshop was very positive, with all participants agreeing that it was likely to have a positive impact on their performance at work, and on the way they worked with others. To quote a participant: “It gave me time out to reflect on my practice and consider how I affect situations and the other people I wish to influence – and to work out how I might achieve my aims by understanding myself and them better.”

Working closely with OPP on the development of the key competencies enabled us to co-create a bespoke development centre that would meet the needs of HR Directors.

Deborah Arnot Deputy Director. NHS North West Leadership Academy

Sector: Healthcare

Business needs

  • Strategic awareness of HR Directors
  • Change management
  • Empowerment of staff

Tools used

  • MBTI Step I
  • MBTI Step II
  • TKI
  • FIRO

Business benefits

  • Higher self-awareness
  • Ability to influence others and oversee change more easily
  • Better working relationships

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