Posts Tagged 'behaviour change'

The Ancient Chinese Science of Organisational Transformation

by LeaderShape Faculty Member, Maiqi Ma

China Business

‘IF A GOVERNMENT becomes unpopular, neither good nor bad policies would be welcomed.’ The words illustrate how the Chinese people value the trustworthiness of leaders and remind me of the so-called ‘Tacitus Trap’ (referring to the Roman philosopher), who asks:

Why are efforts to change such hard work? And, why is changing mind-sets and behaviours hard work too?

Employees who are asked report that their companies’ initiatives most often reinforce changes through formal mechanisms; role modelling is used least often.

I am not surprised. My diagnosis is that these companies lack a culture based in human relations. I would provide a prescription to the leaders derived from the ancient Chinese science of organisational transformation: ‘Letting your people understand the reasons, moving them on with affection, guiding them through self modelling and having an attractive benefits package.’ The prerequisite for these principles is… that the leaders should be virtuous!

This is the beginning of a journey to grow future leaders and develop teams that can speak the same leadership language. Why not take a look here?

According to the ‘Doctrine of Confucius and Mencius’, a virtuous leader should meet three conditions. Firstly, (s)he should let his people have a ‘certain livelihood’. My interpretation of ‘certain livelihood’ for nowadays is a ‘fair salary’ and most definitely not the ‘zero hours contract’ model. (One complaint I heard from a small company is that the business owner’s wife did very little work, never appeared in the office and yet had a much higher salary than the full-time staff.)

Secondly, they should teach people, not only about knowledge and skills but, more importantly, human relations. For example there should be a sense of righteousness between bosses and managers; between senior and junior levels, a proper order…The core of all relations is mutual respect and differentiation. Mencius says that ‘when the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as their stomach and heart; … when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.’

Qing_Dynasty_Chess_pawnsI have heard many middle managers say that they are treated like pawns in a game of chess by their bosses. In many organisations, the bosses often seem to regard the shareholders as the most important associates, while staff are least important. At employee level, the attitude is often ‘this is not my business. I don’t care.’

Another complaint I have heard from some renowned companies is that frontline staff’s basic wages are the same regardless of individual levels of education and length of service. This is a source of irritation for the senior staff and results in a high turnover of employees. They feel that their expertise and loyalty are overlooked.

Third and last, the leader should ensure there is a wide sense of shared pleasure. I was once having lunch with a senior manager of one of the top 100 companies. He introduced a mini golf game right there in the staff canteen and said to me: ‘If you like, you can take a golf ball home. Our boss likes golf.’ I was impressed by his pride, but I did not take a golf ball with me!

Confucius says that virtue is like the North Pole star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it. Mencius comments ‘when one by force subdues men, they do not submit to him in their hearts…when one subdues men by virtue, they are pleased deep in their hearts and will submit with sincerity.’ So, it is much better to say ‘What can I learn in order to influence or persuade my people to change?’ rather than ‘Changing mind-sets and behaviours is hard work.’


apptitleLeaderShaper for Organisational Development.

THERE IS NOTHING LIKE the LeaderShaper App to provide a sense of how Emotionally Intelligent (EI) your leaders and managers are; this is the first effective self-assessment tool available in this format.


CQC – Safety is in the hands of real leaders!

Mike Attwood has spent 26 years as an NHS Leader and is an accredited coach and editorial advisor for the Journals of Integrated Care and International Leadership in Public Services. He is also a member of the LeaderShape NHS specialist faculty.

He responds to the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) report here:
imagesThe CQC report shows safety is still a major concern with 13% of hospitals, 10% of adult social care services and 6% of GP services rated as inadequate.

Importantly, the body identifies a need for creative, selfless leadership (rather than more technical expertise and knowledge-based solutions) and outlines three key factors that play a critical role in shaping quality services:-

1) Engaged leaders building a shared ownership of quality and safety

2) Staff planning that goes beyond simple numbers

3) Working together to address cross-sector priorities

The report places a major focus on the culture of engagement that leaders need to create far more than it stresses the formal governance processes to underpin systemic, high quality care – vital though those are, of course. This aligns with LeaderShape’s long held belief that great leaders reach out selflessly beyond their own expertise and egos to acknowledge fears and uncertainty (particularly facing today’s public services.) Leaders act as catalysts to harness the creativity and new ideas that intractable environments desperately need, to break out of the old controlling, failure-based action plans.

NHS “turnaround” regimes have been alive – but not well – since at least 2000, under many different guises. The response to CQC inadequate ratings needs a new, engaging, collaborative approach – local organisations must work together locally and the “centre” itself should seek to move beyond its critical role of judge and jury towards something more empowering.

All too often as leaders we can come from a place where we confuse true engagement with sharing our own expert message and communicating what teams need to do to improve. We can fall into the trap of merely broadcasting rather than “listening to hear” the real concerns of patients, front-line teams and partner organisations. Only by striving to listen will we unlock the new creativity and ideas that undoubtedly exist beyond ourselves.

For too long we also have tended to appoint NHS leaders to run their own institutions, leaving them to struggle and fall when the challenges they face are really whole system issues.

Perhaps now we are seeing a new wave of bravery in places like Cornwall and Greater Manchester where leaders have gained a new emotional and psychological understanding, beyond their undoubted intellectual prowess. They see that collaboration between organisations and citizens requires them to value deeply the very fact that they don’t have a monopoly on expertise; a world of ideas is out there for them to draw on.

Professor Keith Grint’s work on Tame and Wicked problems is illuminating. Wicked problems are intractable, multi faceted, riven with disagreement and not amenable to linear problem solving.

A clear example of a wicked problem is safety of care. Should we publish clear standards manuals and audit compliance? Should we accept that we will simply overspend and ramp up staffing levels? How can we expand staffing if not enough nurses are being trained? How can we openly acknowledge that safety is a problem whilst persuading the press we need proportionate, challenging journalism, not universal doom and gloom?

As the NHS Leadership Academy takes its new place within Health Education England, it too needs to consider deeply how more time, space and focus on creating selfless leadership can be built into its commissioned leadership programmes. Is it prepared to work ” out there” with real health and care systems like Cornwall on culture and collaboration?

Critically too work is needed at the centre to mirror selfless leadership beyond ego. What are the Civil Service College and others doing to support and challenge national leaders in the Department of Health, the CQC itself, NHS Improvement and NHS England? Will these institutions be brave enough to challenge their own cultures? Local NHS organisations and local authorities can helpfully resist an understandable temptation to criticise “up” and instead reach out to help the centre shift its perspective.

We sometimes do see signs of a desire for a more collaborative approach from the core but all too often we still see turnaround and “success” regimes imposed. In September 14% of NHS CEO jobs were either vacant or soon to become vacant.

The CQC lays down a considered leadership challenge. It is now time for them – and the NHS at national and local level – to find the selflessness to lead differently – and by example.

See LeaderShape Director, Duncan Enright’s original thought leadership commentary on the CQC report here

Growth Accelerator

DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES that meet a need to be transformational or drive change should ideally use coaching skills from a facilitator. They are designed to create ownership and insights that provide the conditions for lasting change for the individuals/ team and organisation.

Unique expertise for high growth businesses

COMPANIES WITH THE POTENTIAL to rapidly increase their turnover and/or number of employees can now apply for the new GrowthAccelerator service designed to help England’s high-growth SMEs achieve their ambitions.  Leadership and Management (L&M) is an integral element of GrowthAccelerator, seeking to develop the capabilities of leaders and their senior teams and to drive business growth.  It offers valuable match funding worth up to £2,000 each to help develop your leadership and management skills and support the growth objectives of your business. Match funding significantly increases the value of senior management development programmes you invest in – so you gain more access to the tools and skills that are most relevant to your business needs.

Businesses that have been assessed as having the ambition, opportunity and capacity to achieve high growth will be offered leadership and management development. Your candidates will learn:
•    Effective personal leadership and management styles
•    How to lead and manage high performance
•    To plan and develop an effective organisation
•    To create a joint enterprise culture
•    How to sustain growth and continuous improvement
•    To embed a culture of innovation
•    Strategies for new market entry

Currently there is no limit on the number of senior managers that can be supported.  CONTACT US NOW  to find out if you are eligible and how we can work with you.  Funds are likely to be limited so it’s important not to delay if you have a Senior Management learning and development issue we can help you address.

Advantages for you
Being part of GrowthAccelerator helps grow your client base and introduces you to the largest network of high growth business experts ever put together in England.  This unique service provides the new connections and new ideas you need for your businesses to achieve rapid growth.

GrowthAccelerator is where …

AMBITIOUS businesses go for new connections and the new ideas they need to achieve their full potential.
THE SHARPEST business brains gather to share knowledge and expertise
DRIVEN businesses go to realise their greatest ambitions
FORWARD-thinking businesses find the inspiration to leap ahead of their competitors.

Topics you may wish to tackle include:

  • Leadership styles and the role of the leader
  • Change management
  • Communication of your strategy
  • Performance management
  • Sales and marketing
  • Innovation and culture
  • Quality and continuous improvement innovation

and more….

Case Study
See how we have helped SME company, Poolia Parker Bridge develop its leaders.

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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Clinical Leadership Development Programme

‘You have been terrific with your programme. It has helped me to find out more about myself, my colleagues, our Institution and the direction we need to take. Plenty of work, and we are at the bottom of Everest… You offer something very special, and I hope you will continue’- Unsolicited email from a senior clinician.

Case Study:

LeaderShape was appointed in 2010 to deliver a programme of leadership development for six newly appointed Divisional Directors and 15 Clinical Directors, all of whom were senior clinicians.  Influence, behaviour, confidence, technical skills and knowledge – these were the touchstones and concerns that emerged, as discussions began about how to turn these diverse and very experienced individuals into a coherent team.

LeaderShape recognised that its approach would need adaptation to the clinical audience. In particular it was anticipated that senior and experienced doctors, many of whom are global figures in their fields clinically and academically, would require a programme which was fast paced, appropriately pitched intellectually and immediately relevant.  We found that:

Doctors need to see early value in activities
Concepts were grasped quickly, so material needed to be presented with style and pace

Continue reading ‘Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust. Clinical Leadership Development Programme’