Radical change the quiet way

16 March 2017

As the Council moves to the development of its next strategic plan, a question that comes to mind is around painting the context that surrounds our sector. And more than ever before our strategic context is one of radical change.

From the impact of the Higher Education Bill and the diversity in funding healthcare higher education UK-wide to Brexit and the digital revolution, change is all around us. Students will no longer be ‘followers’ of a pre-designed education for them but leaders and informed demanding customers of a system where they have more choice. Senior members of the higher education team will no longer just manage local relationships and funds but will turn into strong business negotiators with political leadership skills. Regulation in higher education and healthcare will transform with mergers, new standards and processes potentially adding rather than removing burden on universities. Brexit comes with both challenge and opportunity around how we continue international partnerships and secure sustainability in the funding of research. Patients, carers and users of healthcare services are increasingly getting into the digital era, challenging healthcare professionals and wanting a faster and more robust response to their health conditions which they can now manage themselves through technology.

So welcome to the perfect storm. The question is what does that all mean for our Council now and in the future and what approach we want to take to respond to this massive wave of change?

Inspired by Debra Meyerson’s ‘Radical Change the Quiet Way’, in this blog I am offering some reflections on how we can respond to change effectively without necessarily shouting out loud. When change comes upon us if we speak out loudly resentment builds towards us, if we remain silent resentment builds inside us. Is there a way to rock the boat without turning it into a Titanic moment?

The answer is the tempered radical. The one who works to effect significant change in moderate ways, the modest leader. Drastic action is quick and painful, evolutionary adaptation is gentle and incremental. Clearly the latter takes longer but involves extensive engagement and bringing people with you.

So when discussing strategy at our Summit in May let’s reflect on whether we want a revolution or an evolution. The ROAR approach or radical change the quiet way.


2 responses to “Radical change the quiet way”

  1. Avatar June Girvin says:

    This change has been happening in HE for some time now and any uni worth it’s salt is well into changes in its strategic thinking and operations. The question is more whether faculties involving health care are ready. For long seen as ‘outside’ of business as usual in many unis they now have to join the HE club of fee-paying, consumer oriented students. Those that aren’t ready right now will struggle. As quality of provision and league table position of the entire university becomes application currency in healthcare professions, some faculties will fail. The best will go from strength to strength. This, in my view, is a goodthing for the professions and for employers.

  2. Avatar Peter says:

    The post poses an interesting question for the whole of HE. And June’s response equally talks to the specific issues faced within many healthcare departments which have, for many years beyond their counterparts, been protected from change by stable NHS commissioning arrangements. The world is indeed about to change, for all individuals, in all sectors. And the approach taken needs to individual for the circumstances facing each organisation. For the strategic, connected, and wide constituent body of the Council, a tempered approach may be appropriate. Whilst for some schools of health radical, robust, root & branch review may be necessary to ensure sustainability in the face of this this uncertain future.

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