Leadership Health Check for Regional Health network
Yorke and Northern Local Health Network’s (YNLHN) Executive team enable the provision of vital health and wellbeing services to residents living on South Australia’s Yorke Peninsula and in the mid-north region.
Following the establishment of a new Executive team for the Network in 2022, Michael Davis, Director of People and Culture, in collaboration with Rural Support Service - SA Health, engaged Professional and Continuing Education to develop a customised education solution
“We were a new organisation, formed following the previous government’s reorganisation of regional health services,” Michael said.
“Because of that, we had a new Executive team which held more responsibility than before, so we identified a need to build our capacity as leaders.
“From an organisational perspective, it was crucial that our Executive were conscious of their own management style, and the impact that it has on our workforce and operations.”
With these factors in mind, Michael identified two primary objectives for YNLHN’s customised education solution:
- Equip and empower YNLHN’s Executive team with the skills to address complex and systemic challenges in healthcare settings; and
- Build the individual, and collective, leadership capacity of its Executive team.
Professional and Continuing Education’s Business Development team and subject matter experts worked in partnership with Michael to develop an Executive Leadership Development program, customised to YNLHN’s Executive team and context.
Running from February to July 2023, and delivered in Adelaide, Wallaroo and Port Pirie, the Executive Leadership Development program consisted of two components: Understanding and Aligning Strengths and Developing Adaptive Capabilities.
A highlight of the Understanding and Aligning Strengths component of the Program was the group engagement, enabling members of the Executive team to get to know each other on a deeper level.
“Undertaking this program with colleagues — both in Adelaide and on the Yorke Peninsula — was excellent…we all learnt a lot about ourselves and each other,” Michael Davis
Complementary to the focus on relationships, Developing Adaptive Capabilities “drew our attention to the way we were approaching problems.”
“It encouraged us to take a proper look and gain perspective on how we undertake our roles as leaders — instead of just ‘letting it happen’ — and gave us the tools to do that effectively.
“We also found a lot of value in the adaptive leadership components of the Program, which helped us to develop our adaptive capacity,” Michael said.
The Executive Leadership Development program received overwhelmingly positive feedback, with survey results from participants indicating increased confidence in raising ideas, tackling complex challenges and working with uncertainty.
Michael said that learnings from the Program are already being implemented in the Network.
“The Program has helped develop our confidence to deal with challenges now and into the future, and we’ve been able to apply some of the tools and principals learnt in the Program in our day-to-day practice,” he said.
“For example, when we’re in meetings we’ve learnt to take a ‘balcony view’ and understand when our discussions aren’t being productive, and how to turn that around.
“With a greater understanding of all our stakeholders, we’ve also been able to tackle tricky problems in a more planned manner.
“Some of the tools and knowledge gleaned we’ll also be able to hold onto for life, and apply it inside and outside the workplace.”
The Program's success in aligning strengths, enhancing adaptive capabilities, and fostering personal growth among its Executive team — facilitated by Professional and Continuing Education — signifies a positive step towards empowering its leaders to navigate complexity and drive positive change for healthcare services in the community.
“We really valued Professional and Continuing Education’s patience, expertise, and flexibility in working with us, it was a really positive experience,”Michael Davis
“Both the team coordinating the Program, and the subject matter experts delivering the Program, were able to guide us effectively to help us identify what we really needed.
“We really valued that authority and expertise.”
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