Developing people to deliver business performance

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Solent NHS Trust – Maximising Potential Programme (MPP)

The brief

Solent NHS Trust is a Community organisation with over 4500 employees working across two large City conurbations (Southampton and Portsmouth).  In 2011 Aspire won a contract to develop the leadership capability across Solent NHS Trust, primarily working with middle and senior managers with an aim of developing the management capability and culture to help the organisation embed its corporate values and be more commercial and service driven.

 Solent asked Aspire to design, develop and deliver their ‘Maximising Potential’ senior leadership and management development programme for senior clinical and non-clinical managers across the trust.

What we did

The leadership development programme commences with delegates completing a pre-programme 360 Degree Feedback Questionnaire mapped to the organisational competency framework and values, followed by a one to one feedback and coaching session with one of our trained coaches who identifies specific development areas for each delegate to work on throughout the programme.

Workshop 1 – Leading Self

This workshop is about developing the personal qualities of the leader.  It runs over two-days, and is designed to increase manager’s self-awareness and develop their management and leadership skills and personal effectiveness.   On the workshop we cover topics such as Emotional Intelligence (all our trainers are qualified in EQi), Values, Beliefs and Leadership Styles.  We also explore the strengths, abilities and behaviours of the leader, and what it means to be an effective leader in today’s changing NHS, and how good leadership contributes to the future of the UK healthcare market.

Throughout the workshop delegates have the opportunity to create and develop their vision for the future; where they want to take their service and the type of leader they need to be. The visions are created against the context of Solent’s organisational strategy scanning the external environment and the wider healthcare system.  By the end of the workshop delegates plan how to engage and involve their stakeholders in their vision, and this is done as post course work.    

Workshop 2 – Leading Others

This workshop focuses on shaping and developing people, teams and partnerships to achieve goals and strategic objectives.  During the workshop delegates review stakeholder relationships and develop communication and influencing strategies to improve performance and manage any conflicts of interest. 

Delegates think about and analyse their service area’s performance; how they manage the patient and customer experience, and what they can do to enhance the performance and efficiency of their service area.  They also look at performance management, planning ahead and using resources and working in partnership to best effect. 

At the end of the workshop delegates are tasked with bringing their vision to life through action.     

Workshop 3 – Leading the Service

This workshop develops clinical and business excellence through innovation, service improvement, commercial awareness and thinking, evaluation and measurement of success.

Delegates are involved in a business simulation that facilitates learning around delivering change in an increasingly competitive healthcare market and the decision making process and thinking that takes place to deliver both clinical outcomes and business performance.

At the end of the workshop delegates present their vision and commercial organisational or healthcare service improvement ideas to members of the Executive Board.  

Six months following the MPP, delegates are invited back for a session with Aspire to review what they’ve implemented since the MPP, and what the business and service impact has been.  


Aspire has delivered a number of MPP Cohorts and supported senior managers across the Trust.  There have been many examples of business and personal successes as a direct result of the MPP, and we have sighted four recent ones: -

  • Following the MPP, a Paediatric delegate set himself the target of expanding his work across the wider healthcare market, and arranged for a conference on the ‘Diabetic Foot’ in South Central with the objective of influencing key stakeholders from across the SHA to agree pathway improvements and clinical outcome measures.  The clinician involved Aspire in the conference, and is now leading a working group of interested parties to improve the patient care for Diabetics, spreading his network beyond the South Central Region.
  • A corporate manager in Finance who is responsible for pulling together tenders for new business has recently won an important tender for the business when he tried a new approach and pitch to commissioners that was suggested to him on the MPP by the Aspire Tutor.
  • As a result of our work and coaching during the MPP, delegates have had the self-belief and confidence to apply for more senior leadership positions resulting in promotions across the business. 
  • Since working in partnership and collaboration on the wider management and leadership agenda, Solent NHS Trust achieved its IIP Award with leadership and development marked as outstanding.

"We feel we work in partnership with Aspire in all areas of work, including the MPP. They are flexible, responsive, supportive and can be relied on to do a great job for Solent as an organisation and for the individual delegates.” Ceri Connor, Associate Director for Workforce Development

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