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Board Development at Regional Ambulance Service

Summary: Design and delivery of board development programme, integrating psychometric assessment and workshop-based interventions, supporting the Board to create trust. self-awareness and collaboration, clarify roles and expectations, and align objectives.

The Challenge  

We were asked by a Regional Ambulance Service to support the development of their Board including both Executive and Non-Executive Directors (NEDs). The organisation was facing significant operational and regulatory challenges as well as attempting to address critical issues such as health inequalities and equality, diversity, and inclusion. There some relatively new members to both Executive and NED teams which the Chair and CEO identified as an opportunity to reset the way the Board collaborated and challenged each other and an opportunity to design new, more effective ways of leading the organisation.

The Approach

We designed and delivered a Board Development programme based around 4 workshops. Prior to the first workshop the Board members completed a psychometric assessment to understand their preferences and preferred behavioural styles in a work context.

The first workshop reviewed assessment outputs both individually and across the team. The areas of motivators, values, preferences and potential derailers were examined and their implications for Board effectiveness agreed. Psychological Safety was then considered in the client context before the common values identified were translated into “terms of engagement” for Board business.

The second workshop developed these themes further creating agreement on the roles, functions and expectations required to improve Board effectiveness. Sessions examined the roles of Chair and CEO as well as agreeing an approach to constructive challenge which ensures effective scrutiny, assurance, and governance. Sessions also agreed expectations between Executives and NEDs as well as ensuring commitments to enable diversity of thinking.

The third workshop focused on intra system working, specifically on the alignment of objectives across the team with a focus on mutual support, collaboration and eliminating potential duplication. The final workshop explored the requirements and opportunities for systems leadership behaviours in the new health and care context. It used established health system frameworks to understand current performance and to identify improvement opportunities and actions.

The Outcome

Feedback has indicated greater degrees of trust, self-awareness, mutual understanding, alignment and collaboration. Expectations and roles are clearer for both Executives and NEDs, objectives are more aligned and mutually supportive. The role the Board play in the broader system and what this means in terms of how they work and what they focus on is clearer.