The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

The TurningTides Blog

Ideas and inspiration from Turning Tides

Eileen Moir is the founder of TurningTides and has a wealth of experience leading change and improvement in complex public sector services. Her career includes eleven years as an Executive Director within the NHS, encompassing five years as Director of Implementation and Improvement in Scotland’s quality improvement body. 

Getting people on board with change: Writing that connects

Getting people on board with change: Writing that connects
 Think of what you’ve had to read recently at work. What has created a sense of connection? What has left you cold? Connecting with people in the way we write is a leadership skill. Simple, direct, human language inspires trust and confidence in a way that the language of organisations rarely can. Engaging with staff in person at meetings and learning events is one thing. But how do you capture people’s attention if, for example, you’re leading large-scale change or quality improvement programmes where you also have to connect and engage through the written word? It’s an important question – but one that’s routinely overlooked. And the challenge grows when it comes to working with different cultures as in health and social care. Which words do you choose when people speak different professional languages? How do you find a tone of voice to inspire confidence and trust across multiple agencies? The...
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Being trusted across the divide: The real leadership challenge?

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To be trusted across barriers. Certainly a goal worth striving for in times of social, political and organisational change. Leadership of the highest order must surely be one that builds unity on difference. 

Trust in a divided context

Nelson Mandela died a year ago today. He devoted his life, and forfeited his freedom, to bringing unity to South Africa. His legacy was a blueprint for leading in a way that inspired trust across divisions.

Reflecting on what Nelson Mandela represented gives us a glimpse of what is needed in a leadership that transcends difference. First there was the courage to stand firm for equality, even though it often meant standing alone. Then there was the compassion and understanding which enabled him to forgive those who had acted against his efforts. 

Both political and systemic, the divisions can be traced back to 1948 when the Afrikaner National Party won the general election under the slogan “apartheid”.

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Helping change leaders find their way through complexity

 

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Whether responsible for leading it or involved in implementing it, planned change can be overwhelming and isolating regardless of your experience and competence as a leader. So it's a major focus for TurningTides. Our Executive Coaching Framework comprises three elements - individual, relational and systemic. It's the systemic element that I want to focus on in this post.

Leaders can lose their bearings in organisational complexity 

Work environments are complex these days. Organisational boundaries are less clearly defined as services integrate and centralise in pursuit of greater collaboration and efficiency. Leading change in this context can be pretty demanding. There's a lot to think about, not least of which is connecting with, and maintaining positive relationships with the people involved in the changes.

In reality 'planned change' is a bit of a misnomer. The complex adaptive nature of systems means that the environment within which organisations operate is constantly changing and the human response, both inside and outside the organisation, tends to be unpredictable.

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