Follow that leader (Part 2) by Matt Holland

Experience of Edward Jenner Foundations Programme

Just some background

This is a reflection on the Second part of the Three part Edward Jenner Foundations Programme.  Part One is Launch and Part Three is Advanced.  Launch & Foundations are free.  Advanced carries a fee.  The reflection on Launch can be found in a previous blog entry here.

Launch is launch … but Foundations is down to business

If you read about Launch it’s a fairly gentle taster for what is to come.   Foundations has a pleasingly challenging content and demands more from you as an eLearner.  The piece of information I always want to know is how long does it take to complete?  They recommend 30 days to complete the course.  I took a bit longer.  I estimate I spent between 20 to 25 hours.  You might find the bite sized chunks design either helps or hinders you.  I tended to dip in and so spent some time re-orientating myself on each visit.  Longer concentrated visits might get it done sooner.

It’s all about context

The target learning community  for Foundations is NHS staff working as potential or new leaders. The course focuses on people who have patient contact.  Care is taken, however, to include those who work one step back from the front line, supporting and enabling front line care.  People without frontline care responsibilities, such as library managers can feel included.

The underpinning idea is leadership that delivers patient centred care.  Some of Foundations is spent preparing the ground for this.  Foundations encouraging learners to reflect on patient centred care, what it is and how to deliver it.  The ideas of Don Berwick and the Francis Report form the backdrop to this.

Foundations is seeking to embed a particular view of healthcare leadership based on past failures.  I personally found this useful.  It gave me some important background to ideas that I was aware of but hadn’t really focused on.  So the short version is that this isn’t A.N. Other leadership course.  It has a specific context and message.

You’re going to need some skills

Seems obvious, but you are going to need some skills to be a leader.  Foundations picks up on a core set of skills that any new leader might need. If you are wondering these are: Emotional Intelligence, Influencing Skills, Listening  Skills and Giving Feedback. To keep it brief the approach is direct even simplistic.  Foundations signposts what a mastery of these skills might look like.  If you think you need more help in any of these areas my guess is that is a longer term personal continuing development project.

NHS Leadership Model

The NHS Leadership model can be found on the NHS Leadership Academy website.  It is included as one section of Foundations.  The good thing about the course is that it gives some insight into how the NHS Leadership Model was developed and how it can be deployed as a learning tool.  Part of the programme is to review the model and complete the self assessment questionnaire.  If you have completed the PKSB for Health you will be familiar with the format.  You rate nine dimensions/behaviours on their importance to your job/role and then rate your mastery of each dimension/behaviour.  These are fully explained in the model.  The bigger the gap between the two the more likely that dimension is flagged for improvement.  Really good is the report you get with some very effective graphics presenting your answers.  I have to work on Influencing for Results (aka Impact) and Connecting out Service!

Adaptive Leadership Model

Foundations uses the Adaptive Leadership Model to hang the final section of the course on. It’s based on the work of Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky.  It looks at leadership outside formal structures, leadership in times of change, leadership without authority and leadership that challenges the status quo.  This is the simplified version but the general direction fits well with the change as normal experience that many of us live with at work.  The Adaptive Leadership model was new to me and another good learning point.


We are all be eLearners now and familiar with the eLearning format.  This package uses video, discussion groups and a learning journal  as core components.  Some segments encourage off-line learning.  For example holding a workshop with colleagues to discuss drivers for change.  Of passing interest was the architecture that formed the backdrop of the video presentations. Was that the roof of Manchester’s Victoria Station in the background?  The sartorial choices of the presenters were as interesting, and yes, I did have trouble concentrating in lectures.

It’s not over … till it’s over  …

The final leg of the learning journey is to write a 1000 word piece of work on the difference completing the course has made to you called Your Leadership Difference.  This looks at the implementation, reflection and impact made by your learning.  It’s based on a six question proforma. This gets you from the 96% for completing the online element of the course to 100% completion and a certificate.  Points really do mean prizes.  You may not want to do this part of the course or you may find the lure of a certificate too much.

Worth doing?

I would say yes.  You can power through the bits you already know.  A good refresher and a useful starting point for future leaders.
Matt Holland
NWAS LKS, supported by HCLU North.

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