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To followership and beyond

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Blog headlines

  • Structuring a PCN Social Prescribing Service for the post COVID world
    25 February 2021

    This week we have a blog by Nick Sharples.

  • Community-Oriented Integrated Care
    18 February 2021

    The blog this week is a short extract from a paper considering an approach primary care networks could use to move towards community-oriented integrated care.

  • Strategy Unit releases opensource model for planning vaccine centre capacity
    11 February 2021

    This week's blog is from The Strategy Unit who are sharing an opensource model to help with vaccine centre capacity planning.

  • Time to talk day
    4 February 2021

    A small conversation about mental health has the power to make a big difference.

  • Supporting Staff: the emergence of ‘long-covid’
    28 January 2021

    As we are now well into a second, or is it now the third, wave of Covid-19 it is becoming apparent that Covid is something we have not experienced before and it has unique implications for staff management. It is not just the possibility that staff may become acutely ill with the virus, but that for some they may go on to develop persistent debilitating symptoms that will affect their ability to go back to work. This article looks at the implications of long-covid for HR and service managers when looking to support health care professionals (HCPs) return to work.

  • Link of the week: Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR)
    21 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a link to the Clinically-Led workforce and Activity Redesign (CLEAR) site that is funded by Health Education England.

  • So much more than an extra pair of hands
    14 January 2021

    The introduction of the additional roles reimbursement scheme for primary care networks has started to grow capacity in general practice to address the unsustainably high workload that has put so much pressure on GPs.

  • Primary Care Networks – how did we get here?
    7 January 2021

    This week we are sharing a blog by PCC’s chairman David Colin-Thomé.

  • A year like no other
    17 December 2020

    On 5 July 1948 the NHS was born, over the last 72 years challenges and changes have been remarkable but the service has probably never been tested as much as in the last nine months. There have previously been numerous re-organisations, multiple changes to hospitals, mental health services and a shift from the family doctor towards more integrated primary care services delivered by a range of professionals. However, rapid transformation of services to embrace digital technologies, and a shift change to work differently has been forced upon all areas of the health service this year.

  • Guest blog: David Hotchin
    11 December 2020

    This week we have a guest blog that was submitted to us by David Hotchin, written by a retired friend....obviously, he's used a little poetic licence.

  • What now for commissioning?
    3 December 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What White people don’t see
    26 November 2020

    This year’s Black History Month (BHM) has, unfortunately, in its shadow another example of why campaigns like this exist.

  • Primary Care: Why don’t we talk about Racism?
    20 November 2020

    Rita Symons is an ex NHS leader who is now a leadership consultant, coach and facilitator. Her work is mainly in the NHS and she is an associate for PCC offering facilitation, coaching, strategy development and team development activities. She is a concerned but hopeful world citizen and combines work in the NHS with a board role in a non for profit organisation and an interest in writing.

  • Primary Care and the Health of the Public
    12 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • What now for primary care
    4 November 2020

    By Professor David Colin-Thomé, OBE, chair of PCC and formerly a GP for 36 years, the National Clinical Director of Primary, Dept of Health England 2001- 10 and visiting Professor Manchester and Durham Universities.

  • Boosting your resilience
    30 October 2020

    The last year has been a difficult one, who would have imagined last Christmas that we would have been in lockdown, with the NHS seriously tested by a global pandemic. So much change has happened and the resilience of people working in and with health and care services has been seriously tested. Resilience is our ability to deal with, find strengths in and/or recover from difficult situations. Its sometimes referred to as “bounceabiliy” – but bouncing in what way?

  • Link of the week: National Cholesterol Month
    23 October 2020

    Every month or week of the year seems to be an awareness week, October has more than its fair share.

  • New redeployment service offers talent pool of motivated, work-ready individuals
    15 October 2020

    People 1st International have shared some of the work they are doing to support people displaced from industries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There is an opportunity for health and care services to benefit from this workforce.

  • Link of the week
    9 October 2020

    Article published in the BMJ looking at the ability of the health service to quickly bounce back to pre-Covid levels of activity and considers if it is desirable.

  • Virtual Consultations– the patient perspective
    2 October 2020

    This week Jessie Cunnett, director of health and social care at Transverse has shared this article.

Friday, 29 March 2019

To followership and beyond

After the success of her last blog on thinkfulness, we asked Bev Heaver to share her thoughts on other aspects of the exciting world of change. Bev is head of disruptive horizon scanning and new futures curation at the Mod Institute. Here she unpacks some of the key resources that we all need to carry with us on our change journeys.


At Mod we don’t have a management hierarchy but a fluid leadership matrix which values not just leaders but also the many followers every organisation depends on to do "work".

The NHS needs to develop more follower-leaders (not to be confused with lead followers) who set the strategic direction for followership at locality, place and system level. We need a director of following on every board. They are every bit as vital as the director or strategy or the head of feedback and experience.

Don’t wait for permission to be passive and compliant. It’s everyone’s business to drift unquestioningly in the direction of everyone else. Make it part of everything you do.

Tip: Why not start your own Followership Academy (FA)? Better still, wait for someone else to start one.


I was at an amazing unconference the other day listening to an inspirational untalk about pulling power to the foreground. It made me realise how many times I’ve been guilty of backgrounding my own power recently.

Change agency is power. We have it individually or we share it collectively through superconnectors like me. When one of us gets more powerful, we all do.

Power makes a positive difference. It mobilises ideas and people. The word power looks great on slides and infographics. It literally empowers people. Just say it slowly in a low voice in front of the mirror a few times and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m still disappointed when someone asks “What can you do with it?” or “Will it help me get a pay rise?” These are old power questions in a new power world. They go straight on the park board.


We all know how to listen but how many of us actually do it? I know I don’t!

It’s not enough to “hear” or “understand”, sometimes you literally need to put yourself in someone else’s ears.

At our Through Their Ears active listening workshops we model better hearing behaviours by asking delegates to make cardboard replicas of their neighbours’ ears which they have to wear for the rest of the day. It’s a great way to discover your wells of empathy and compassion. There’s a prize for the most lifelike ears.


To make large scale change happen we need less of some things and more of others. We need to challenge old thinking and embrace new sprint-thinking, break old rules and make new paradigms, tear down structures and build self-sustaining ecosystems in their place.

The w-word must never get in our way. You should never have to ask “why” change is so important in an age of disruption. As I wrote recently in my blog, the Five Quadrants of Paradox, disruption is the new normal – and vice versa.  Disnormality is your ally. Embrace it.

Pointful travel

Change is constantly evolving, which is why we are on an endless journey of change with no beginning, middle or discernible point. Only you have the power to make it pointful.

Without the continual drive for change, the transformation we envision would disappear from our imaginations, and change agents would have no option but to stop telling their stories and describing their feelings and go back to their meaningless, transactional, activity based “jobs”.

It doesn’t bear thinking about.

New futures editor: Julian Patterson


Anonymous says:
Mar 29, 2019 08:54 AM

Brilliant, sounds like the ideal vehicle to take forward the bullies charter so close to much of NHS 'leadership'

Anonymous says:
Apr 05, 2019 12:18 PM

As Judge Judy says, put on your listening ears! Very few do ....

Will Smith
Will Smith says:
May 29, 2020 01:10 PM

Enjoyed reading the blog above, really explains everything in detail, the blog is very interesting and effective. Thank you and good luck for the upcoming blogs.

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Anonymous says:
May 29, 2020 01:20 PM


Will Smith
Will Smith says:
May 29, 2020 01:23 PM

nice blog