International Journal of HRD Practice, Policy and Research 2019, Vol 4 No 1: 7-24
People and Systems — Creating Networks of System Leadership and Practice
Steve Keyes, Organisational Development Lead for Leeds UK
Manraj Singh Khela, Head of Partnerships, Health Partnerships Team Leeds UK
Frances Storr, Director, Levati, Bradford UK
John Walsh, Organisational Development Lead, Leeds Community Health NHS Trust UK
Our health systems are under pressure from increasing demands within a challenging and changing landscape. There is a need for new approaches that are joined up, relational, co-created and co‑delivered. Without them there is a risk of poor experiences, a worsening of health and social outcomes and inefficient use of increasingly scarce resources. This paper reports a move towards a system leadership culture with an approach and a methodology for creating that. This requires people from different organizations with different cultures and governance to work together as if they were one organization.
This paper focuses on a major Organizational Development initiative in the city of Leeds, England to create the conditions and framework for such an approach. It reports on a methodology for creating a community of system leaders who work across the system for the benefit of the people of Leeds. A complementary aspiration of this paper was to propose a new field of theory — Dynamic System Theory — which is a derivation of Organization Development and which would benefit from further research.
One of the key achievements of this work has been an increasing distributed leadership across localities which is the key to the leadership of a complex evolving system. This has focused on people, communities and relationships, discovering common ground and connection to a bigger aim.
Key words: organization development, systems theory, system leadership, networks