The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme is demanding and, as you’d expect, we have criteria for participants. You should be:
This programme provides the skills and capabilities for leaders from all backgrounds, clinical and non-clinical, to create a more capable and compassionate healthcare system. The programme is designed to holistically develop the knowledge, skills, expertise, attitudes and behaviours to support each participant in leading teams to create tangible and positive performance improvement at the front line.
“I want to embed what I have learned and continue to grow. I also want to use the tools and resources I have experienced throughout the programme for new projects.”
Lisa Motley, Transformation Change Manager, Ipswich Hospital
“The programme has been great for me. It has inspired me to provide value based leadership, to focus on my leadership team and their potential, and challenge activities that do not add value to patient care.”
Dianne Graham, Assistant Director – Mental Health, Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Trust
Transformation Change Manager Lisa Motley has learned that some of the most difficult learning experiences can also be the most useful. When she started on the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson leadership programme in October 2013 she found the first residential quite challenging.
“I knew surprisingly little about the programme when I started and was not entirely sure what to expect,” said Lisa, who works at Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust. “It was a new programme and little was known about it in the organisation as a whole.”
“I found the first residential extremely difficult but it turned out to be the most effective in terms of thinking of your own behaviours, your interactions with other people – particularly those you do not know – and understanding first impressions from your own point of view and that of others. I had not done a degree before so this may also have impacted on my expectations.”
After a year, Lisa feels the impact has been considerable, both personally and on her approach to her work.
“I have definitely changed – my letter to myself at the start of the programme was in complete contrast to what I would write now. Before the programme my focus was on personal attributes such as being stronger, being more confident, saying ‘no’ more. Almost two years later I would describe myself as an innovative change agent.
“I want to and feel I am making a difference. It’s not so much about me as about the system and about making a difference for the patient and staff experience. It’s about what I can change or improve within my circle of influence and involving patients with change and ideas. The odd thing is the other personal attributes have improved alongside this, so perhaps they are inextricably linked.”
Lisa has reflected a lot on the course content and feels she has changed her leadership style as a result.
“I am more self-assured and confident and prepared to challenge the ‘norms’ when required. I have become a ‘boundary spanner’ and am enjoying motivating and inspiring people to do something different. I have developed more flexible leadership behaviours and built up a considerable network of contacts both inside and outside my organisation. I guess I have learned to adapt my leadership behaviours according to the situation.
“I have recently been experimenting with the ‘servant as the leader’ techniques and these have been surprisingly effective. My preferred leadership behaviours tend to lean towards ‘soft’ leadership, for example, supporting, coaching, influencing and delivering a compelling vision. However, I have learned that I can be directive depending on context, although my preferred leadership style is transformational.”
Lisa is honest about the fact that these changes have not gone unnoticed.
“Some of my previous team liked the way I had changed and a few didn’t. It sounds harsh, but this may say something about individuals, in that they did not like change, they no longer got their own way and friendship did not get in the way of leadership. The change was recognised by other people from the wider organisation too, and I was asked to take a secondment to the Transformation Team. I now see the bigger picture and I embrace change for the better.
“I think this programme has motivated me to reflect on my career and take more risks, hence my move into the Transformation Team. I have never been happier at work and am looking forward to future challenges, particularly in relation to implementing new technologies.
“I am aware that I am still a ‘work in progress’ so I want to embed what I have learned and continue to grow. I also want to use the tools and resources I have experienced throughout the programme for new projects and roles. After that I am considering training to be a LEAN practitioner or perhaps a coach.”
Lisa has some advice for anyone thinking of embarking on the EGA. She says she did not appreciate the level of self-directed learning required and found peaks and troughs in terms of time commitment. The amount of reading required and the demands of an MSc programme have also been considerable.
“Plan your time and try and get some protected study time if you can; trying to do the work involved over and above the day job is tiring and difficult,” she said.
“Network and engage with your peers on the EGA Programme. They become an invaluable resource for sharing ideas and supporting you through challenging times. Try to pace yourself and keep up with your peers, at least those on your action learning set. Take an active part in the forums as they can be great learning tools.
“Be prepared to travel for the action learning sets, use them to your advantage and plan what you want to present in advance. Remember depth not breadth and develop the golden thread for your critical assignments. It has taken me over a year to get into a routine but this may say something about my working life, my personal life and my lack of planning before signing up.
“Finally, enjoy it – the two years soon fly by.”