Do you glorify the grind?

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Do you glorify the grind? “How’s your day going?” Busy, right?  How did I know your were going to say that?! It’s not hard to guess, really. Countless commentators have noted the ‘epidemic’ of busyness that seems to characterise 21st century life. In fact, I sometimes wonder what previous generations used to talk about, not […]

Compassionate leadership is 3 dimensional

Compassionate leadership is 3 dimensional

Compassionate leadership is 3 dimensional Let’s broaden our perspective Anyone working in leadership in the NHS will have noticed the huge focus on compassionate leadership in recent years. It’s a concept as powerful as it is timely. The work of Michael West at the King’s Fund has been instrumental in raising awareness of the concept […]

Curiosity? Who has the time?!

Curiosity? Who has the time? We’re constantly being encouraged to practice curiosity, to grow as people and as leaders. But do you have the time? Is curiosity a luxury most of us can’t afford? Maybe it’s just me, but while I’ve always found the idea of pursuing curiosity to be appealing – even a vital […]

Presentations? Why bother?

Planning a presentation? WHY? In the last 20 years I’ve given presentations to tens of thousands of people from all over the world. Now I’m coaching other leaders in confident public speaking, I’m increasingly asking WHY. Perhaps you should too. Giving talks or presentations is a bread-and-butter part of being a leader these days. I […]

Why change management is a waste of time

Why change management is a waste of time “What a strange thing to say? I thought you were a big proponent of change management.” Yesterday was the third time in fortnight I upset someone by saying I think change management is way less than it’s cracked up to be. Here’s a bit of my reasoning… […]

Why the NHS is bad at sharing what’s good

Why the NHS is bad at sharing what’s good It was break time in a workshop for GP practice managers in the South West, and one of the attendees made a beeline for me. “I need to tell you I’m REALLY ANGRY!” she said, as she got closer and closer. I’m not a body language […]

When is a plan not a plan?

Not all plans are created equal

When is a plan not a plan? Change leadership inspires us to create plans but that’s often not enough. How well are your plans serving you? Everyone knows that making a plan for a change process is essential to success. But when was the last time you stepped back to consider how well your plans […]

Don’t just learn, do

I’ve been involved in learning and development for nearly 20 years. I love it but I’m still often dissatisfied with the impact we have. And here’s a big reason why workplace training disappoints – we’re not intentional about turning learning into action.

Unleash the potential of primary care – tips for practices

Practical tips to unleash the potential of primary care We don’t have to ‘reinvent’ primary care, just unleash more of its potential Following the release of my recent interview on the Improve Healthcare podcast about ‘unleashing the potential of primay care’, a few people have been in touch to ask me to say more about […]

Maintain energy by marking progress

Maintain energy by marking progress Leaders need to set ambitious goals for the future, but we also have to keep the team going along the journey. Maintain energy by marking progress. “Are we there yet?” Ring any bells? Parents are well-used to providing frequent reassurance to children that we ARE going to reach the destination […]

Unleashing the potential of primary care

I’ve been privileged to spend much of the past week thinking and talking about primary care and the value it brings to patients and populations. And it’s been just great, not least to be reminded of the breadth and depth of what’s good in UK general practice, as well as the reasons why I’m passionate about unleadhing more of the potential of primary care here and internationally.

Lost – when you’re a leader but don’t know it

group of people walking to pathway

Being lost can be horrible. But imagine being a lost leader, with everyone looking to you for direction and the next steps. Recently, I’ve encountered leaders who are not only lost but don’t seem even to know that they ARE leaders. Ouch!

Feeling rested doesn’t just happen

Feeling rested doesn’t just happen …so how are you proactively planning rest? When did you last review your Personal Rest Plan? Do you have one?  Most professionals have a plan for their ‘development’, often called a Personal Development Plan. We might not always deliver on its promises, but most employers recognise the importance of having […]

How do you know when to step down?

How to know when to step down If you’re loving what you do, why stop? When you’re keeping the next generation out of the room, perhaps it’s already way past time. Throughout my working life I’ve seen two phenomena playing out side-by-side, but hardly ever discussed in the right places. In one room we have […]

This week, 4 Oct 2021

What am I doing this week? 4 Oct 2021 I’ve been looking at coaching techniques, and trying out new techniques for helping people gain insights into how they tend to approach common challenges at work. It’s great to be learning from The Results Driven Group on this. I’m planning a couple of workshops next week, […]

Why younger clinicians fear becoming leaders

There’s been an awakening to the importance of investing in developing emerging leaders in recent years. I think we’ve seen it in many walks of life, and it’s been echoed in healthcare, both in the UK and internationally. But experienced leaders need to change how we come across if more people are to step up into leadership.

Next Generation GP in Norfolk

Next Generation GP launches in Norfolk and Waveney What a privilege to speak at the start of another leadership development programme for early career GPs. I’m just back from a 24 hour round trip to Norwich. Having been invited to support the launch of another Next Generation GP programme, I just couldn’t say no. These […]

Robert Varnam coaching?

It’s 2021 and time for change in my personal and work life. There are fond farewells, exciting new beginnings and a lot of connections and passions to reignite. I have stepped down as Director of Primary Care Improvement at NHS England, and will be focusing my time on training, coaching and consultancy for teams, networks and systems to innovate, improve and transform. But why the change?