For Day 4, Ian Baines of the Horizons Team picked me up here in Coventry to attend the Global Paramedic Leadership Mental Health Summit, at a hotel nearby in Warwickshire. Today it is global (Canada is represented too).
We are at the conference because of #ProjectA (I mentioned this in my Day 1 blog) and to connect with ambulance services around the world to hear what's important to them. The idea is to help #ProjectA continue to engage with the ambulance services community and deliver real value in supporting paramedics in the UK and beyond.
#ProjectA is a collaborative of patients, front line, back office, supervisors and executives (everyone!) who have been engaged to define what are the most important issues to solve for in paramedicine. The Horizons team catalyzes their ability to connect with each other in order to effect change that matters.
Examples include: improving responses to people who fall, responding to people in mental health crisis and emotional distress and ambulance staff well being. They do this in new power ways, many of which are virtual.
#ProjectA has really resonated for ambulances services. It's the first time they have ever been able to engage the whole workforce and patients in designing solutions to their most pressing challenges. What I appreciate most (and I wish others around the world could have witnessed along with me) is that #ProjectA has given ambulance services a new modern and refreshed identify within the workforce. It has proven that if we go about leading change in a new way, a shared power way, people rise because they have been heard and because they see themselves in the change.
#ProjectA was one of the only initiatives in the new NHS Long Term Plan, specifically identified … I imagine it is because the leadership of the NHS recognizes this too....the way to make change is changing.
Did I just witness the emergence of #ProjectD? Did I help make it possible? Maybe...
There was a stunning presentation by Pam Brown, Head of Diversity at West Midland Ambulance Services and she said "we need to learn from #ProjectA and create #ProjectD (Diversity)". This immediately resonated with the audience. I could feel it in the room. I had a spidey sense.
Five hundred people were in the audience and I raised my hand and asked Pam "tell us more about your vision for #ProjectD", and so she did. I knew the question needed to be asked. I had that moment within myself...should I or shouldn't I take the space? I chose to take the space.
Pam had put it out in the ether and the audience needed the picture to come to life. When Pam had a chance to explain, it unveiled itself. Fast forward a few days, and #ProjectD seems to be coming to fruition... a shared purpose way to ensure ambulance services' are reflective of and hearing the voices of all its staff.
My main point is...
Not only is radical change happening as a result #ProjectA but the work is evolving the ambulance services culture. #ProjectA/D, regardless of the focus, stands for something even bigger. It stands for new ways of connecting, renewed sense of meaning and the power of numbers in accelerating change.
The truth is, this way of working.... is working. The other truth is, it is a different way of working and can not be done the way regular work is done.
A special thanks....
To the leadership of NHS Ambulance Services who have been so welcoming to me.
To Ian Baines. Ian and I met before I came to the UK over Zoom. Despite meeting previously, Ian made sure we found time to connect in person before we went to the conference. We went for coffee and got to know each other better. I learnt all about his journey prior to Horizons and what brought him and he learnt about mine.
Ian is like all the members of the team, each has an extraordinary background (heads of finance, lawyers, CEO of health systems etc..).
They wanted to work in shared purpose and be part of changing the world of health and social care so they found themselves (they were actually hand picked) joining the team. Talk about spidey senses … Helen finds these folks and invites them to join her team. Each extraordinary and unique and together bring out a way to create movement and change at scale (Scaling Up) while making every person they interact with experience connection (Scaling down). Ian, thank you for taking the time. It meant a lot.
We are off to the IHI International Forum in Glasgow where the team has five sold out sessions....looking forward to sharing more then.
People who are highly connected have twice as much power to influence change as people with formal authority. Leandro Herrero