Monday, February 29, 2016

Stick or change?

At what point do you call time? I mean on a project? An initiative; intervention;campaign...whatever you want to call it...at what point do you say...umm..maybe we should try something else? I am talking about leadership courses/classes/degrees/conferences etc. I have never been a big fan of them but have always been willing to see its input and outcomes...problem is what do you define as outcomes? If you talk financially, then on one hand you could say its an abject failure- but then again, would you call Tony Pulis a failure if he doesn't win the League at West Brom- or would you say he's done a great job with the resources he has? Tough, isn't it?
Outcomes? Well..if one looks at something closer-lets say diabetes, thats a bit - whats the word..ah yes, awkward- have our leaders failed us, have they failed the patients or have they done as much as they could have done?

I will put my hand up- I haven't done much leadership courses- and have been roundly mocked by some senior leaders for saying so. Maybe thats why I have yet to put "leader" on my CV- but either way, be it by design or fault, I haven't done any. I learnt more about leadership- ability to negotiate, complete tasks by doing research. That's not to denigrate anyone who does it- but simply to state what I haven't done.
So back to the question- do we call time on leadership courses? Some say they are quangos feeding off the public purse, some say they are building generation next. Question is- in cash strapped times, should they be funded by public money? Has it had enough of a run or is it time to mothball this project?

A very notable personality once upon a time used me as an example to differentiate between a rebel and a troublemaker. You know that chap- Gandhi- a right troublemaker for the British Raj- todays quintessential rebel leader- funny how history changes its views on individuals., isn't it? What about leadership based on values- its all about perspective of values,isn't it? Its yet another mystical term...again- my apologies- I haven't done those courses - so perhaps not au fait with the terms and terminologies- but as someone who is paying his taxes, simply would like to know the return on investment. Healthcare leaders are supposed to inspire I am told, lead many..or even simply show vision, shape the future- all with one and only perspective- improve care of patients- right? Are we doing well on that front- or is it simply lack of leaders which is the problem?

The word system based leaders is the new term- an ever growing need for it...so here's your conundrum, how do you change the focus of leaders who have spent years thinking of their own Trusts fame/fortune/bottom line- and get them to think of the community; get them to consider shifting money to primary care- even at the detriment of the Trust they hold so dear? Can you actually do that? Or is it a pretext to ask those leaders to actually take over others and bring all under one roof- is a system leader who can bind all irrespective of their employers or is it someone who fuses them all by ruthless takeover?
Are the Dalton Chains about system wide changes- or powerful Trusts joining hands and taking over primary care? System leaders- depends on how you see it, right?

So have a think- have a wonder- and see whether to be a leader you need to actually do any of that- or whether it sits within you to make the change.Its always a tough call- the question is whether that is possible or are we underfunded to a degree that no leadership can turn this around? I don't know is the short answer- but the lack of results from the usual leadership cohort is turning a whole generation away from the "hallowed land".

Time to change or continue doing the same? Or time to learn from some leaders who haven't necessarily done any courses etc? Have a look at those folks called junior doctors. Star Wars was all about better leadership in the Rebel alliance...right? 

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