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Building team effectiveness in Health and Social Care Partnerships

Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership – 2018

How can you reach out to team leaders, break down barriers between services and get teams working effectively together? The Glasgow City Health and Social Care Partnership is doing just that – embedding the AOD team effectiveness approach into its OD framework. GGC’s Isla Hyslop and Mary Ann Smith share their insights.

“The Affina Team Journey takes the strain out of transformation by providing structure, process and resource to enable team effectiveness.”
Isla Hyslop, Head of OD for Health and Social Care Partnerships, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde

AOD: What kind of team interventions were you using before the Affina Team Journey?

Isla: We dealt with issues on an ad-hoc, team-by-team basis. It served us quite well but there was a lack of consistency across care groups and localities, and a strain on our limited OD resource. We wanted to truly embed best practice right across the system – to give all our teams good foundations to take the strain of constant change. That meant a coaching framework backed up with top quality online resources, rather than the previous forward-facing delivery.

AOD: So now you’ve built a team effectiveness framework based on the Affina Team Journey. How easy was that?

Isla: The Team Journey is amazing but we had to make it work for our specific needs. It took us two years to pilot, test and develop our model. Now it embodies the current evidence of the Team Journey in a way that can be consistently, flexibly and, most importantly, sustainably delivered across our health and social care teams. We really were up against it, but we were so convinced it was the right thing to do.

AOD: How are you implementing the framework?

Isla: We built an innovative model using core Affina Team Journey elements which we deliver in 3 months with 14 hours of OD contact. It’s a model that allows leaders and team members to be responsible for their own development whilst OD supports:

  • Focussing on five key elements: team purpose, operating principles, objectives, decision making, skills and knowledge
  • Coaching and mentoring for team leaders delivered by OD advisors
  • Reporting based around quarterly seasonal reviews, supported and informed by Team Journey reports and OD coaching pre-review.
  • Working alongside iMatter and the Kantor behaviour model

AOD: Do you find it difficult to persuade teams to take part?

Mary Ann: At the start we had very poor engagement. For example, in children’s services everything seemed disjointed – no shared objectives, lack of accountability and no-one ready to engage. Now we have teams queueing up to take part.

“I love that we’re achieving more without additional resource!”
Mary Ann Smith, Senior OD Advisor, NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GGC)

AOD: Do teams enjoy the sessions?

Mary Ann: The Team Journey is all about structure and processes. When you get that right, the temperature drops, there’s so much more transparency and tolerance in teams and an upturn in positive behaviours. I see it all the time. It’s about the whole team taking responsibility, not just the team leader, albeit the latter is key to success. Sometimes I bring two or more teams together. It’s helpful for them to compare elements such as objectives and team purpose, especially if there’s any conflict or misunderstanding between them.

AOD: Any surprises?

Mary Ann: My favourite part is feeding back the results of the team assessment. It’s often revealing and stimulates great discussion. The work on operating principles allows for beautiful coaching conversations around respect, listening skills and so on. It’s also been quite magical to see people engage with strategy and strategic documents!

AOD: So how is your team effectiveness framework helping the Partnership

Mary Ann: I love the fact that we’re achieving more without additional resource. It’s not a cure-all and is very much an emerging approach but all this foundation work really does have an impact. The seasonal reviews are key to sustainability. The idea is that teams build their skills and then take complete responsibility for their reviews. In that way they are self-sustaining and no longer person-dependent on OD for their learning and development! It really does support a culture of collaborative and authentic leadership and it’s why team effectiveness is now at the core of the governance structure at Glasgow City Children’s Services.

AOD: What tips would you give to other Partnerships interested in team development?

Isla: You have to figure out what problem you’re trying to solve and be determined, even if it’s painful at first. Align your work to reporting structures, create a ripple effect and get senior leader influence to make sure there’s no negotiation, i.e. this is how we do things around here. Move and adapt as you go. The biggest barrier is getting the time out – at the end of the day it’s up to leaders to make this happen. Also, when teams tell you it’s not the right time, it’s usually the perfect time!


Aligning team development to context and strategic aims
Investing in a long-term approach
Working with the whole system – including teams engaged in locality and neighbourhood service delivery
Working hard to gain team leader commitment from the start
Engaging team leaders in collective, shared team coaching
Aligning the AOD approach with other OD frameworks
Glasgow City HSCP

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