I have recently been working with a variety of NHS boards to help them to become more functional and to help them begin to understand themselves and their decision making processes. To that end, I have employed a range of psychometric tools to help them to a greater level of insight.
Psychometric tools are great to help you understand who you are and how you tick, but you know who you are – or at least should be well on the way to understanding yourself. The utility of psychometrics at board level are to give you an insight into others and how they tick; that non-executive director who you just can’t seem to click with, or the GP on the CCG board that you struggle to understand how and why they make certain decisions. By using such tools I hope to be encouraging diversity of thought. I also maintain that a board will avoid group thinking and get a better decision in the end – the issue, as always, is time.
I have been working with one board on helping them with their emotional intelligence, covering areas such as optimism, social awareness and impulsiveness. These areas threw up some interesting areas for discussion when applied to the whole board.
Adaptability: Within the board, the majority had a low level of adaptability, whilst one or two key individuals had a very high level of it. This caused frustration and friction on both sides of the table.
Empathy: As individuals people had high levels of empathy, but as a collective whole high levels of empathy were hindering making some of the tough, person centred decisions which needed to be made.
Emotional regulation: Some of the board had the capacity to highly regulate their emotions even when raging mad inside, whilst others were less adept at doing so, leading at times to conflict and a subsequent loss of confidence in each other’s abilities to make rational and logical decisions.
We hope that the Nye Bevan programme will give you the capacity to understand yourself but to also understand and appreciate the way other people work. Not that you forgive poor behaviour, but that you have the skills and abilities to question and challenge people who are different than yourself, so that you are able to engage with the whole board and make better decisions.
I have seen at board meetings people who have excellent insights, comments and valuable contributions to discussions but have their ideas discounted as they are the lone voices. As we know it is far easier to discount one voice and pretend that we haven’t heard it. As a participant on one of the early Nye Bevan programmes, you may well be – to begin with – a lone voice, trying to be heard. Our aim is that the programme will give you the skills and courage to speak out and be heard. Nye Bevan was oversubscribed by over a hundred percent, so you will not be a lone voice for long.