Culture eats strategy for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Although it is intangible and sometimes difficult to measure and control, developing positive culture is key for organisations.

31 May 2017


Yippee another election, another chance to talk about privatisation of the NHS.

In these days of rising demand, flat cash and rising expectations, isn’t it more important to consider the optimal outcomes for patients, value for money for the taxpayer and a positive culture for staff?

Whilst the themes are integral, the culture is arguably the most important.  However, culture is intangible, difficult to measure and to control.  Nevertheless, good leaders know what they want and manage to achieve it.

When Connect is commissioned to run a service with the NHS, it normally involves running an existing service from day 1. The staff, patients, GPs, premises and other providers are the same as they were on day 1. The things most dear to the staff – the package, the pension – don’t change. Over time, we have developed a methodology to meet the common objectives of the three stakeholders – patients, taxpayers and staff.  Of course, no two situations are the same so it’s not entirely standardised but the core is always about developing the culture. That takes recognition and understanding of the challenges, skill and effort to get it right.

Part of my role, as Exec Chair, is to support local leadership in that process but also to act as “cultural quality assurance assessor”.  There are some elemental values to which we would aspire and these are demonstrated in how we behave to one another as well as to external stakeholders.

We accept that not everyone wants to do it the Connect way or finds the culture to their liking.  Fair enough.  Typically, 80% do and tell us they are happier and more fulfilled, productive and developing, and GPs, patients and commissioners notice the difference.