“Breakthrough” In Ability West

Breakthrough is a new addition to the suite of accredited training programmes provided by HMI for frontline and middle managers across all types of health service organisations, writes Karen Maher.

Ability West staff who completed the Breakthrough Programme. Front row left to right - Denise Higgins, Alison Coleman, Eileen Costello Conneely, CEO Breda Crehan Roche,  Aoife Murray, Brian Hehir & Louise Kennedy. Back row left to right - David Joyner, Director of HR Adrian Harney, Richie Humphries, Theresa Hendley, Kevin Gavin and  Ian Leonard.
Ability West staff who completed the Breakthrough Programme. Front row left to right - Denise Higgins, Alison Coleman, Eileen Costello Conneely, CEO Breda Crehan Roche, Aoife Murray, Brian Hehir & Louise Kennedy. Back row left to right - David Joyner, Director of HR Adrian Harney, Richie Humphries, Theresa Hendley, Kevin Gavin and Ian Leonard.

Breakthrough is a new addition to the suite of accredited training programmes provided by HMI for frontline and middle managers across all types of health service organisations. Its unique feature is that it incorporates management development activities with current strategic projects and can make a valuable contribution to the development and implementation of an organisation’s strategic plans.  Essentially the programme is action learning based reinforced by a substantial elearning package. The whole programme is specifically designed to get managers working as teams on work-based, team-based, real life strategic projects – a win/win situation for all!

The course content covers a range of topics ranging from the strategic planning process, formulating a vision, mission and goals, crafting, implementing and evaluating a strategy to working in teams and making clear, succinct and persuasive presentations.

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Ability West recognised this as an opportunity to further develop a number of their managers to help prepare them to assume significantly greater responsibility in the future.

Ability West recognised this as an opportunity to further develop a number of their managers to help prepare them to assume significantly greater responsibility in the future. The programme was delivered over the summer and all 14 participants successfully achieved the FETAC Level 6 Strategic Planning module. From Ability West’s point of view, not only had their managers increased their strategic planning knowledge, skills and understanding, significant progress was also made on key strategic projects including the New Directions policy, the staff rostering systems in day and residential services and the use of technology to support service provision and management information systems.

Adrian Harney, HR Director for Ability West said, “This has been a very valuable training event for Ability West, from both a strategic and management development point of view. It was an interesting but challenging experience for our managers as they were aware of the importance of the contribution their projects would make to some of the key themes of our Strategic Plan.  Each group worked with a member of the senior management team who sponsored their project. We were particularly impressed with the quality of the work produced and the reports presented on the final day of the programme.”

The managers also said they found the programme “challenging but at the same time very rewarding”. Other comments they made about their experiences included,

“Having the confidence to partake in a presentation was unexpected for me but I am very glad I achieved this.”

“There is a lot of work outside the group sessions ….I felt it practical and relevant to my job. It offered me a lot of future thinking, a lot of skills in terms of working in teams…..it broadened my thinking strategically”, and “Overall it was a learning experience. Having the confidence to partake in a presentation was unexpected for me but I am very glad I achieved this.”

The elearning element of Breakthrough provides a rich variety of reference materials and background information about all aspects of strategic planning, managing staff, project management and personal development. A key feature is the online discussion forum where participants can chat about their projects with their fellow group members, contact each other about any aspect of the programme as well as having a direct line to the tutors. There are nine distinct elearning modules to complete at various stages in the programme as the content is designed to reinforce tutor led sessions and assist with preparation for further activities. Managers in Ability West found that, “Once you got into the elearning modules it was easy to navigate”, and commented that “the fact that there were questions after each section made you focus and take notes at times which I felt helped with the learning. All modules were relevant to my work.” One manager made the observation that it “was good to have elearning as the content would have been too much to cover in class”.

If your organisation is looking to develop potential future leaders, or you are considering succession planning activities or you simply want to ensure the continuous professional development of your managers, the Breakthrough Programme can be tailored to meet your specific needs and objectives. If you would like further information regarding any aspect of the programme you can email us at training@hmi.ie or call us on 01 2974070.