“Breakthrough” in the NRH

Breakthrough is a blended learning and action learning based programme designed to encourage managers to work together on team-based projects that are relevant to the strategic plans and future direction of their respective organisations, writes Ms. Karen Maher. 

Karen Maher
Ms. Karen Maher

The National Rehabilitation Hospital is a publicly funded voluntary hospital which provides high quality care and treatment to patients on the basis of clinical need. The hospital’s three year strategic plan for 2012 to 2015 was developed and agreed with stakeholders ready for implementation. It consists of four main pillars; developing Expert Staff At NRH, Focused Collaboration With Stakeholders, Effective Processes, and ensuring a Fit For Purpose Facility. Each pillar has a number of related projects to be delivered over the life time of the strategy.

Derek Greene, CEO wants NRH’s high standards of quality and performance to be maintained and improved upon over the coming years. To succeed there is a need for a consistent, systematic business approach to be evident to all, and managers to have ownership of the projects and ‘pillars’ pertinent to their patients, their roles and their teams. With this in mind, NRH’s senior management team were invited to attend an in-house HMI Breakthrough Programme. It soon became obvious that a substantial amount of work had already been carried out on a number of strategy related projects. However decisions were still to be made in relation to a sustained programme of activity, prioritising projects as well as balancing budget and resource planning with staffing requirements and availability.

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Working better together and developing higher level competencies enables managers to implement strategies and to manage change.

NRH recognises the fact that when organisations successfully merge strategy implementation with organisational and management development, their managers become more capable of demonstrating higher levels of performance as well as employee satisfaction. Working better together and developing higher level competencies enables managers to implement strategies and to manage change. Breakthrough has been developed with this philosophy in mind and the senior management team decided to take advantage of the facilitated programme.

Breakthrough is a blended learning and action learning based programme designed to encourage managers to work together on team-based projects that are relevant to the strategic plans and future direction of their respective organisations. There are several elements to this programme: five days tutor led training, nine e-learning modules, plus time allocated for work related research culminating in a work based strategic project and a formal presentation to senior managers.

NRH chose four transformational strategic projectsrepresenting key elements of their strategic plan for project teams to plan and implement using tried and tested business processes. These projects were:

  • The Academic Development Project
    This project linked with the work of the Academic Steering Group in NRH and aimed to establish training and research in physical and sensory rehabilitation at NRH
  • Engagement with the National Rehabilitation Medicine Programme
    The aim of this project was to position NRH in a national leadership role in relation to the provision of rehabilitation services. There was a need to maximise communication at all levels of decision making regarding the delivery of the National Policy and Strategy for the Provision of Neuro-rehabilitatiion services in Ireland.
  • Data Capture, Management and Reporting Sysems at NRH – Getting our Data to Talk
    This project was designed to help consolidate, cleanse, enrich, govern and share key business data. It is essentially the development of a NRH Report Analysis tool.
  • Sharepoint
    This project was engaged in planning the introduction of SharePoint. SharePoint is a web application software framework used to store and track electronic documents or images of paper documents. It provides the benefit of a central location for storing and collaborating on documents, which can significantly reduce emails and duplicated work in an organisation.

From an organisational, strategic planning perspective, each project group produced a project charter setting out the objectives, scope, key activities and responsibilities of their project in a concise, consistent format. They went on to develop and write an informed business case with an accompanying implementation plan which was presented to senior managers and decision makers for consideration at the end of the programme.

From a management development point of view, the leadership and management skills of each of the managers taking part was further developed by giving them the knowledge, skills and perspective necessary to demonstrate their ability to perform at higher levels within the organisation.

From NRH’s perspective, engagement and commitment for all those managers who took part was evident throughout the Breakthrough programme as their knowledge, confidence, attitudes and abilities grew – a position that all organisations aspire to achieve.

Karen Maher, Management Consultant, SHRC Limited