Article by Rita Evans – Programme Director, Leaders in GM

Leaders in GM: The Next Chapter…

Our collective vision

We know the way in which we are delivering public services in Greater Manchester is changing and there is a move towards greater integrated and partnership working across a place.

The Greater Manchester Model: Further Faster, calls for us to “move from principles into practice” as we continue to build healthcare systems and public services based on the needs of citizens, improving population health and better value for money; rather than our individual and organisational needs. This continues to place new demands on our leaders.

If we can truly understand the mindset and competencies required by our leaders, we can take Leaders in GM to the next level, to truly reflect the changing landscape and needs of our citizens. If we don’t get this right, we won’t engage leaders and citizens in the right way and we face the risk of burn out and people leaving, and covering “less distance, slower”.

We cannot achieve our Greater Manchester vision unless we work more closely with our citizens and each other. This approach requires a shift in mindset from us all to see beyond ourselves and adopt a different leadership practice to enable public service reform “further, faster”.

Our current page

Recently I was delighted to hear colleagues refer to Leaders in GM as a “flagship programme in delivering leadership development at a Greater Manchester level across sectors, which responds to the Greater Manchester public service reform principles”.

Personally, I am proud to say that our flagship programme has been developed entirely through collaborative design and production with GM citizens, stakeholders, partners and leaders. We have always looked to “model the change which we’re looking to bring about” and share our learning with the wider GM leadership community.

Through the most recent cohort, there has been a shift to focus on the development of place-based leadership within localities, with leaders working together on real locality priorities.

On the 5th March we are bringing together the 2018/19 Leaders in GM participants and members of our leadership community, to collectively reflect upon and celebrate achievements in their individual and place-based leadership journeys, and jointly use this to develop what their next steps will be. Together, we will create and curate our own story, the story of us, the story of now, and the next chapter to contribute to the delivery of the vision for GM.

Reflective practice is important as it provides the space to think about and reflect on what we did, what happened and decide from that what we will do differently. It is a fundamental part of professional practice across healthcare and all public services, and we see it has fundamental in taking Leaders in GM into “The Next Chapter…”.

Celebrating and sharing successes is also important to recognise what’s working well and why, and if there’s is something you can take from it to inspire or replicate in other actions and goals. Celebrating successes, no matter how small the win, helps to cultivate a success mindset.

“The Next Chapter…”

As an overall Leaders in GM programme, we acknowledge that “The Next Chapter…” is a period of transition. As the 2018/19 programme draws to a close, we continue to offer a range of development activities, we complete the overall evaluation activity to capture and build on the programme successes to date and determine how the future Leaders in GM offer should develop and evolve, while continuing to align with the Greater Manchester system and local communities.

It’s time to take stock as we enter a new chapter.

Leadership and workforce development have been recognised for some time across Greater Manchester partners as a key enabler of the reform of public services.  Over recent months there has also been greater recognition that cultural transformation is essential across the system in delivering reform.

So, our focus over the next six months is to ensure the smooth transition from the current Leaders in GM programme offer to the proposed future approach to the Greater Manchester workforce, leadership and cultural development; along with enabling the right cultural conditions for integrated working and transforming public services across the region.

For those who know me well, will know that in my organisational development practice I am passionate about the need to “work on the system” as well as “in the system” to bring about transformational change.  This is our time to take Leaders in GM to the next level to ensure that we truly support leaders in Greater Manchester to work both on and in the system.

My practice supervisor recently shared a useful metaphor with me about fish swimming in water, which illustrates this point well and the process of how the self and system influence each other.  Our Leaders in GM lens so far has been more focused on attention to the fish e.g. how can we help them be more strengths-based, more resilient, more collaborative, citizen led?

In “The Next Chapter…” we have an opportunity to take a more systemic lens, where we notice the water more i.e. how deep it is, how clean, how warm, how strong the currents are, how high the waves are, how conducive it is to collaborative working.  If we include both perspectives, we can we see the impact each person has on the environment they work within or vice versa, and intervene differently to truly reform public services: “When the fish are polluting the water, then the water pollutes the fish”. *

The Greater Manchester Model of Public Services White Paper, due to be published in Spring 2019, articulates our ambition for the reform of public services. It provides a timely opportunity to review how Leaders in GM can further contribute to achieving our ambitions across Greater Manchester.

So, what if in “The Next Chapter…” we can truly transform ourselves, how we work together and with our citizens to truly reform public services across Greater Manchester?

*(ref: Systemic Leadership, widening awareness. Integrating Perspectives.  Sarah Willis, Jason Harrison and Simon Cavicchia).