Blog Posts

“I have your back”.

It was an honour recently to work with an inspiring group of healthcare leaders. We explored over five creative days the challenges of strategic leadership within the healthcare setting. The intrinsic nature of healthcare within the UK context as a complex adaptive system, together with the ever-present VUCA context, very much informed our approach to decision making and strategic planning.

Inevitably, innovation and change leadership factored into our thinking. The driver was not innovation for its own sake but as an impact driver – i.e. with a view to improved patient outcomes. We investigated change and innovation methodologies but within the broader context of mindset for innovation and change.

Unsurprisingly, we returned time and again to considerations of risk and how to establish and navigate an appropriate risk appetite. These were both hard-hitting and nuanced discussions.

Volumes could be written about the specifics of these conversations and the learnings arising from them. There is, however, one aspect which captured my attention and has remained with me ever since as a source of insight and inspiration.

The senior director of the team on the strategic leadership programme – an impressive leader in his own right – joined us regularly throughout the programme both to encourage and demonstrate investment in the team. The groundwork he had done with the team preparing them for the challenges ahead was abundantly evident, as was the appetite he had generated within them to embark upon this learning with open hearts and minds.

However, the incident that really stood out for me came at the end of the final day when he summarised his vision for the team and in effect ‘commissioned’ them for the journey ahead. He did this simply but movingly by emphasising the imperative for innovation and change, by acknowledging that mistakes would be made en route, but by reassuring them that when such mistakes are made “I have your back”.

So simple, yet so profound. And utterly transformative for those present. The confidence it endowed, the energy it generated, the permission it gave, were palpable. And the impact on the team in the room proved enduring, way beyond the formal end of the training.

As leaders, and as developers of leaders, we know intellectually this is important. Nevertheless, this was a powerful reminder to me not only to engender the psychological safety for my teams to grow and, occasionally to falter, but also to remind them out loud and often that “I have your back”.

Not Sure Which Consulting Services Are The
Best Fit For Your Business Needs?

We are always happy to explore how bespoke combinations of our services can
enable, support and leverage innovative opportunities for our clients.

Social Media