There has been lots of talk recently of the importance of standardising health leadership in the NHS and I’m sure there will be much more going forward.
And very few will find fault in the idea of standardising what we know works well. If we know how to ‘do’ good leadership and the benefits it can create for patient’s health and their experiences of the NHS, of course we should be promoting this best practice as far and wide as possible.
The Academy’s vision is to be seen as a centre of excellence and beacon of good practice for leadership development and talent management. This is at the core of what we’re about.
But we also realise that a massive amount of leadership development is done at an individual and organisational level. Local infrastructures have, for many years, worked together to create and deliver innovative leadership intervention work.
This is great news for individuals who happen to work in organisations that provide leadership development support. But not everyone can benefit in this way. It has been down to each organisation to decide whether individuals should be given access to further development and, if so, where it would come from.
So what we have is a bit of a hit and miss identification of talented people. Then, once they are identified, there have been a proliferation of different routes which can be taken to develop their skills.
In order to professionalise leadership nationally as we intend, we are developing a common, standardised approach to spotting and supporting talented people at all levels, followed by an integrated approach to developing and managing those talents.
So an important facet of our work will be to work with local and regional partners to embed a consistent, professional approach to leadership development while ensuring local needs are met.
We will also be delivering much of our work locally, supported by local teams, to keep development as close to and relevant for the individual as possible – this will be a priority for us.
We often talk of our ambitions to create the largest leadership development programme in the world. But this will only happen if we are able to work with local infrastructures who know our customers like no other. You cannot have one without the other.