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Sustainability & Transformation Plans - A Lesson From Hollywood Blockbusters

The emergence of the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans [STP's] and their remit to consider a wider Health & Social Care system for their region(s) cries out for embracing supporting technology to make the whole system "tick as one" in a modern and connected world.

Operating seamlessly across complex geographic, service & organisational borders, in order to drive a consistent & jointly owned patient & citizen centred strategy that encompasses all of the Health and Social care system, is an exciting, daunting & challenging task; And, even if there was sufficient money in the system - which clearly, there has been a consistent lack of – the people challenges of change remain. We can only trust the recent Budget commitment for Social Care across the coming 3 years has the desired effect for all concerned, especially the patients and service users.

So, how do we go about joining up an entire regional system consisting of many Public Sector organisations to operate more cohesively?

Going into more detail, once the overarching strategic STP plans are agreed, how do you then engage, align & measure ALL staff inputs - and outputs - so we know the new models & ways of working are indeed sustainable, delivering results locally and holistically, and hopefully developing the system further, as required?


Well, in the world of Hollywood film making, the mantra is "If you wanna go big, think small"!

Hence the highly complex Hollywood blockbusters of today often being produced in a warehouse on green-screen technology, supported by technically brilliant people on just a handful of animation software computers. You don't actually think they built a Death Star the size of a planet in Star Wars then flew to space to film it being blown up?! Sorry to spoil the illusion, but they went small .... and achieved big results.

I actually think we can draw an overarching lesson from Hollywood's digital journey and the George Lucas' of this world when thinking about how we actually make STPs work once the strategic script is agreed.

Change in Units of One. 

Imagine if the thousands of Health & Social Care staff ultimately charged with executing the regional STP strategy - regardless of whose organisation name appeared on their payslip - were aligned to it and understood their role.  

Imagine further if those staff could interact and communicate with their manager & peers on an ongoing 'real-time' digitally supported basis to help each other deliver individual and shared objectives, values & behaviours, and access blended learning to aid their personal development as they went along.

Finally, imagine if all these staff/manager/peer interactions - learning, 121s, supervision, objective setting, appraisals, feedback, ideas generation, evidence portfolios etc - gathered as ONE data set for the local organisation and overarching STP leaders to track, interpret & support staff in their journey too.

Imagine no more. 

Through WorkPAL we have proven this can now be a reality driven by the use of contemporary, smart & intuitive digital technology designed around core Organisational Development [OD] principles that aligns and empowers staff to own their contribution to the strategic journey.... and enables them to act and respond quickly.

Our NHS and Local Government clients report surprising and significant numbers of proactive staff taking-up of WorkPAL and an almost immediate and ongoing "Glass bottomed boat" data view of the whole organisation, driving targeted holistic agenda's such as Talent, TNA/LNA, Succession Planning, Capability, Innovation, Sharing Best Practice, Strategic Golden Thread etc. 

Most importantly, WorkPAL is owned by every single member of staff in the system whom we ultimately rely on to execute the strategy.... and without the need for wholesale WorkPAL training. Every single person in the system is engaged regularly and their personalised WorkPAL account goes where they go as they develop and/or progress their career in their host organisation or move to other parts of the STP system. 

This "Power of the Crowd" approach is not new thinking; at Thirsty Horses we have simply applied that thinking & approach so we can harness the collective bench-strength of every single member of staff regardless of role and drive people to get behind the new direction the local organisation / STP is leading them towards. 

Too good to be true? 

Actually, no. Its taken us years to get where we are today so we're sure this is tried-and-tested and we also boast Independent University Academic oversight of our work as proof of the potential we bring to this new way of operating.

This not a digital fad. Its the way many leaders and social/political commentators have predicted we'll be doing things in the digital future.... and yet, WorkPAL is here now.

So, if you're involved in shaping & delivering the STP and/or OD/Workforce/People plans in your organisation and/or region - especially if you're charged with the OD/Workforce/People agenda - then GO BIG!..... and think small [change in units of one].

Why not get in touch to challenge/explore if WorkPAL can truly help you create Health & Social Care "Hollywood Blockbuster" we know you're charged with achieving.

May the [Work]force be with you!


Ray Pendleton. FCIPD
Managing Director | Thirsty Horses Ltd
(0)7826 526181


Want to learn more?

After an incredibly successful OD webinar masterclass series in 2016, we've updated and enhanced the programme for the new year following highly positive engagement and feedback from hundreds of delighted attendees.

If you enjoyed this piece and wish to further explore the topics surrounding organisational development, you can join us for some of our new (and free!) webinar sessions, which I'll be hosting personally. We've weaved in a lot of new ideas and the latest OD best practice and whether you missed our original masterclass series, wanted to re-visit it and enjoy the new content then we'd love to see you at one of our all new sessions - You can learn more about the series and book your slot below (spaces are limited):

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Topics: Management and HR