Standing on the shoulders of giants

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here but I felt this needed to be written.

In the past few weeks I’ve made a difficult decision, I’ve handed in my notice and I’m moving to a new job in a new organisation…

Since August of 2019 I’ve been on an amazing journey. Two job changes, a new virus to add into the mix of challenges to manage, being part of two merging organisations with multiple new builds to be constructed and a team evolving into something quite fantastic …it has been a busy 3 years! If you’ve read any of my other blogs though, you’ll know I don’t shy away from “busy and challenged”. If I’m honest with myself it is probably something I seek out.

The last 12 months I’ve spent reflecting on what I want, making sure that what I’m doing is right. My family could see I was not happy and set me July 4th as a deadline to make a decision. Not a good time as it was going to be right before the summer holidays and there was a lot going on in work. However, December to July seemed a good time span to see if the changes I made had the impact I needed and so the limit was set.I worked closely with my manager, developed a flexible working pattern, refreshed team actions recruited into new posts and those made vacant by others.

We changed a great deal but I still felt I needed to be me and my role was not fitting on my shoulders any more. During this time I joined the Mary Seacole leadership programme and this taught me a lot. It taught me that to be a leader of authenticity I needed to do this as me. I needed to show who I am and how I feel, for those around me to believe in me and follow the directions we set.

So, with this role at this point in time just not lighting my fires, I needed to make a change as to lead a team into what feels like a major new phase for the NHS, those fires need to be burning bright.

I knew to be fair to my team and the role, I needed to make a change. I’m still enormously passionate about delivering a great job, identifying ways to improve myself and make a difference but I knew I needed to do it in a different speciality.

As the time came close to make a decision, a job came through the NHS Jobs email system. The closing date was the day I planned to leave for holiday; the interview was the day we returned. It looked a great job, I could see links from my current job and previous jobs within a specialism I was interested in and a service that looked like it was really going to grow. I had to let it go, I’d promised my family a break and planning for an interview for 2 weeks was not part of the holiday plans! I went away thinking it’s not the job for me.

Finding something different had its limitations. I have a son working as an apprentice, keeping local for him to make the most of his opportunities was important. I have a wife with a thriving local business; I really couldn’t be selfish and take that from her and then my youngest son, blossoming into a young man in a fantastic specialist school after years of floundering. So, as much as moving to Devon to be nearer to my sister or back up north to be near my parents were attractive options, it had to be Dorset based.

It also needed to have the promise of being part of a great team in a great organisation.  

It had to be in Healthcare, in the NHS and ideally make the most of the last 15 years of working within IPC, Health Protection and Public Health.

Over the past 18 months I’ve had the fortune and pleasure to have a line manager who stretches me, is kind and challenging and takes as much time to support me, as a person, as he does to work with me to drive our strategic IPC aims. I’ve been supported out of the true horror of Winter 20/21 into what has felt like the business as usual/ prolonged unprecedented pressure the NHS is currently within. I have the ability to talk openly, honestly (I mean really honestly) and I have a listening, non-judgemental ear.

I know working with him has allowed me to see further, I know his influence and others I respect and want to follow as leaders have contributed to this decision. That has always been the way for me, standing on the shoulders of giants has shown me the way forwards – when you work with someone who is fantastic, it makes you want be that way too…

So a new position needed to be with people I could see would challenge and support me.

Three months passed and in early October I saw the advert for the same post from July come through in my emails, I needed to know more and so I spent time finding out about the people and talking to the leads. It sounded as good as I thought it was and I went from being interested, to knowing I had to have that job.

So, what’s next? Well I’ve been lucky enough to gain a position as the Clinical Services Manager for the Vaccine Delivery Programme in Dorset. I’m really looking forward to this. I’ve met some of the people I’ll be working with and I’m really looking forward to joining them and the change of role.  

So, If you are interested in leading a fantastic team in a growing University Hospital with the opportunity to work with some amazing, dynamic people…watch this space. I won’t say any more yet but the proposed changes we are making will hopefully create a fantastic future for the right person to step into the space I leave.