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Odgers Interim & Berwick Partners Midlands Healthcare Dinner
Guest Speak Andy Street CBE – Outgoing Managing Director for John Lewis
The NHS is facing its biggest period of transformation yet as outlined in the 5 Year Forward View, Lord Carter Review and ongoing STP arrangements. The sector is expected to deliver significant change at pace against a backdrop of huge financial pressure, political change and a changing patient population. From speaking with senior leaders across the health sector, there is a growing acceptance that the NHS could benefit from a more commercial approach if they are to deliver true transformation rather than ‘transactional’ change to improve patient experience and create a more cost effective NHS. With this in mind we decided it would be valuable to lead an event that explored new paradigms of thought from one of the UK’s most successful commercial leaders.
That was the thinking behind our Midlands Healthcare Dinner, held on the evening of Wednesday 22nd June at Opus Restaurant in Birmingham and attended by senior leaders in the NHS from the local area. Odgers recognise the importance of having a regional presence especially when it comes to the health sector where challenges and priorities are very individual to the local health population. Our carefully selected speaker was Andy Street CBE, outgoing Managing Director of John Lewis and Chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership. Andy proved to be the ideal speaker for our event as not only is he one of the UK’s most admired leaders, he plays a key role in driving the economic growth in the region… and has recently granted Birmingham its very own John Lewis to the delight of the local Odgers team and many of our guests.
Andy spoke about his experience and lessons learned as a successful retail business leader and shared his knowledge on meeting the demands of an ever changing customer landscape whilst driving change and efficiencies. Andy answered questions posed by Odgers Healthcare and local health leaders, among the themes he addressed were: managing change through periods of economic challenge whilst at the same time maintaining a quality brand, building effective partnerships with multiple stakeholders, driving staff engagement, driving connectivity as a multi-site business to ensure a consistent customer experience and using technology to improve operational efficiency.
The key theme that Andy mentioned in relation to his success of driving transformation was the importance of having a common sense of purpose and the need to embed processes and behaviours so your workforce is clear about what the ultimate goal is. In his business people are key and he spoke about the importance of having great local leaders and ‘fellow travellers’ who continually communicate the common goal and purpose of the business. It is evident that Andy’s approach has not only enabled him to deliver his leadership strategies but also create an engaged and happy workforce. The subject matter proved to be extremely current given the context of the need for effective local leadership to deliver STPs across the country.
Another key theme was technology and adapting services to meet the needs of a changing customer landscape. John Lewis has heavily invested into its online marketing strategy which has been hugely successful both in terms of profitability and improving the customer experience. Again this can be applied to the health sectors transformation plans to invest in technology and redesign services (e.g. drive to increase self-care) as a means to improve patient care and to create a sustainable health system.
I am delighted to say that the event was a great success; Andy’s messages were extremely thought provoking and his commercial experiences can certainly be applied to the NHS at this time. Based on the positive feedback we received, our intention is to run further thought leadership events to provide our NHS network with a commercial perspective.