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Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust provides a comprehensive range of acute, maternity and child health services to people living in the area. Amongst its employees there is a strong focus on high-quality patient care, team building and leadership.
One of the seven key initiatives laid out in the five-year strategic plan for the Trust is “Developing our staff” and against a backdrop of transformation in the way that funding was being secured in the NHS, the Trust was moving to be measured on quality outcomes, rather than patients.
The Trust needed help in managing these changes and as Lisa Gresty – a member of the Workforce and Service Development Directorate that was responsible for the initiative – explains, by improving self-awareness and team collaboration across the Trust, the team aimed to “get the best quality from our people”.
The Trust knew that psychometric tools could act as a foundation block to underpin and help manage this change and saw the tools as providing a consistent platform across the organisation for development, coaching, and team building, as well as improving recruitment and selection practices to hire better fit-to-role, especially for senior positions.
To meet all of its needs, the Trust chose a combination of three of the most widely used, valid and reliable instruments available, including the MBTI® personality questionnaire and the FIRO® instrument. It wanted its own team of practitioners to implement these tools across the organisation so worked with OPP consultancy to deliver in-house qualification training for the three tools.
The MBTI tool was introduced in 2008 and is now being widely used within the Trust’s Management Development Programme (MDP). Participants complete the MBTI and receive feedback enabling them to learn about their type and how their personality influences their interactions with team members. The MBTI is also used as part of half day development sessions for various teams across the Trust, helping to build a common language to discuss different working styles and ways of interacting.
In 2009, the board-level executive team of the Trust requested a team building and diagnostics session to help find ways to communicate more productively with each other and members of their staff. The FIRO instrument was chosen because it focuses on what individuals need from others in their interactions, and how this might be different from their outward behaviour. Lisa observed that the FIRO was a ‘safe’ framework to achieve some very deep insights into team dynamics and sources of individual dissatisfaction within a team. It ultimately supports teams in enhancing the trust and openness between members, and working towards common goals much more effectively.
Feedback from employees at the Trust who have used the MBTI and FIRO tools has been very positive. Many have noticed that they are better able to manage interactions with both colleagues and patients who are different to themselves.
Programmes are still running so evaluation is ongoing, but Lisa feels that MBTI is now well embedded in the organisation. And, as Lisa explains, because the Trust’s own team are able to implement the tools, “we now have a very cost-effective way of using psychometric tools. The Trust doesn’t have to pay an external provider every time we want a teambuilding or coaching session, or to use a tool in selection – we simply call on one of the trained team.”
The Trust is continuing the successful Management Development Programme for 2009-2010 with a total of 32 participants across the organisation. And, due to the ongoing participation in the Programme, employees are continuously using Type as a tool for developing themselves at work and improving the quality and effectiveness of their interactions with each other.
Master-classes are also planned, as well as additional team building and diagnostic sessions using the MBTI and FIRO tools that have been requested by several senior teams. The Trust continues to work to find ways of using all three tools across the organisation to support cultural and behavioural shifts, enabling teams to perform consistently at a higher level and keep focused on the ultimate goal of providing the best quality patient care.
The Trust doesn’t have to pay an external provider every time we want a teambuilding or coaching session, or to use a tool in selection – we simply call on one of the team, who have been trained by OPP.
Lisa Gresty, Organisational Development Practictioner. Mid Cheshire NHS