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Why Values Are Important to Project Success

Business

Aug 16, 2021 - 4 minutes read

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Andrew Smith Director of Healthcare Services at Objectivity

Andrew started his career on the Financial Management Training Scheme of the NHS, at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals. He later spent 10 years at the Department of Health, where he led several national programmes, working at the interface of the NHS and the commercial sector. 

For the last few years, Andrew has focussed on Population Health projects and advised governments in the EU and Middle East, and supported health tech companies within the UK.  

Part of Population Health is about lifestyle and wellness, as such, Andrew enjoys running with his twin boys and, alongside his wife, supporting their daughter with her Rhythmic Gymnastics ambitions. 

See all Andrew's posts
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When I first had the pleasure of working with Objectivity, I was struck immediately by the energy and enthusiasm of everyone I met. A real ‘can-do’ culture at its core and an appetite for working alongside clients to really identify and solve problems. The desire to genuinely reach a “Win-Win” solution and build longer-term relationships quickly demonstrated to me that people who work at Objectivity are truly values-driven. They want to do more and do it well, and they also share a common bond through the values they believe in.

In fact, Objectivity is a values-driven organisation — the company’s core values are People, Integrity, Excellence, Agility as well as Win-Win, where clients and employees continuously grow together.

Selecting the right partners is important, because when values are shared with those we work with, it’s easier to build closer relationships and achieve success, around a common goal — with this in place, it is possible, together, to achieve much more than is possible individually.

Having worked in the Health and Care Sector for over 20 years now, mostly in the UK, but also across Europe and the Middle East, I can attest to the importance of values. I have seen how, wherever one works, there is ‘something’ about those who work in the health and care sector that drives them forward. Values are clearly important when we look at what attracts people to work in health and care systems — and, to some extent, this has been captured by the values described in the NHS Constitution.

Of course, codifying values in this way, doesn’t ‘make them happen’ — values are only real if they are demonstrated through action on a day-to-day basis and in many ways become an ‘intangible asset’ of the system. Having started my career on the Financial Management Graduate Training Scheme of the NHS, as trainees, we were privileged to spend a significant proportion of our working day shadowing both frontline staff and support teams in hospitals, in the community, and in the administrative offices. Whether we were spending time with a nurse with 30 years’ experience, a junior doctor, a hospital consultant, a lab technician, a porter, a receptionist, or even with each other as trainees, nine times out of ten, we could see that we all shared a common purpose — to support a system which does good, one that helps people — which was something to be very proud of.

It reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) story of President John F. Kennedy visiting NASA in 1962. He was meeting some of the top brass working on the Moonshot programme and was being guided through a service corridor where he noticed a janitor who was cleaning his mop. Kennedy said, "Hi, I'm Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?" and the janitor replied, "Well, Mr. President, I'm helping put a man on the moon”.

Whether the story is true or not, the point stands that when we share a common goal, when we believe in something that is bigger than us, we can achieve more. In healthcare, it is humbling to reflect that, in some way, large or small, we are contributing to a system that has, at its core, the mandate to prevent avoidable ill-health and where people need care, to be looked after and brought back to health.

Keeping this in mind is useful when difficult decisions are needed, it is helpful to frame the question in the context of the patient or the population — ultimately, those we serve. Which path would best lead to better outcomes for the patient or the population — these decisions count. In 2015, a review conducted by the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (FMLM), The King’s Fund and the Centre for Creative Leadership (CCL) showed the importance of these kinds of decisions in healthcare services. The review concluded that “there is clear evidence of the link between leadership and a range of important outcomes within health services, including patient satisfaction, patient mortality, organisational financial performance, staff well-being, engagement, turnover and absenteeism, and overall quality of care”.

Having a shared vision and clear goals for a project will help ensure that we pull together in the right direction. However, the journey towards that goal needs more than good project management and a shared vision. To really succeed, consistently and excellently, it is important to have a shared set of values that will hold the team together when the project hits the inevitable ‘bumps’ and will give that extra ounce of energy to go the extra mile. Embracing the same values ultimately ensures the unwritten bond and team goal to deliver what’s necessary for those we serve.

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Andrew Smith Director of Healthcare Services at Objectivity

Andrew started his career on the Financial Management Training Scheme of the NHS, at the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals. He later spent 10 years at the Department of Health, where he led several national programmes, working at the interface of the NHS and the commercial sector. 

For the last few years, Andrew has focussed on Population Health projects and advised governments in the EU and Middle East, and supported health tech companies within the UK.  

Part of Population Health is about lifestyle and wellness, as such, Andrew enjoys running with his twin boys and, alongside his wife, supporting their daughter with her Rhythmic Gymnastics ambitions. 

See all Andrew's posts

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