Winners of the 2015 Chamberlain Dunn Learning award for excellence in organisational development, Hendrika Santer Bream from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust explains how winning an award has helped develop the team’s work further and offers top tips for entering the awards for other trusts.
To win the award, a long-term approach to culture change was created using the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) methodology. This enabled the trust to discover and promote the good in the organisation.
We were thrilled and surprised to win the award for our work on culture change using Appreciative Inquiry. Thrilled because of the recognition of peers in the NHS community that this award represents. Surprised because our entry wasn’t a simple story – it was about a 10-year culture change journey, with quite a lot of different twists and turns, pre-dating even the creation of a dedicated OD team. It didn’t have the normal structure of a project and we weren’t sure if we could tell the story in a way that would make sense for other people.
For us, filling out the application and, in doing that, re-telling the story to each other was a good way to reflect on how far we had come and what we had achieved. The discipline of the application form helped us to think some more about what evidence and metrics we had to show the impact of our work.
So one of our tips to colleagues pondering an entry next year is: just do it.
Don’t be put off by the effort involved or the complexity of the story you’re trying to tell. Using the process to remind yourself and others of the great work you’ve been doing makes entering very worthwhile.
This links to our second tip, which is to work as a team to pull together the story and complete the entry. We used the different skills within the team to create a draft, to collate data and to proofread and edit it down to fit the word-count. So we shared the workload and it wasn’t too much for any one person.
The underpinning mindset for our culture-change work was Appreciative Inquiry. Thinking about the future, we are continuing our work in that spirit and so an AI question for us now is: when we have been doing our best work, what has contributed to our success? We are using AI in two parallel processes, to design some of the work we are doing now, and also to reflect on our own ongoing practice.
At our colleague Carolyn Norgate’s leaving party recently, we proudly displayed our HPMA Award for Excellence in OD. It represents what we as a team have achieved together, so it was fitting to display that for all to see as we said thank you and goodbye to her.
Hendrika Santer Bream, Change Manager OD, Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust
For more information or help, please contact Hendrika on Hendrika.SanterBream@gstt.nhs.uk