Equipping leaders in healthcare to use a mindset of innovation to ride the wave of complexity

3 mins read

Based on my 25 years’ experience, I thought surely there had to be a way to navigate change while keeping business as usual (BAU) going. 

What I’ve found is that we must start opening the minds of our leaders to the art of ‘possibility.’ When we move into the realm of possibility, it will lead us to ways of thinking and behaving that break current conventions.

Innovation is for all leaders and even more so for those in healthcare. 

The definition by economist, Theodore Levitt, described creativity and innovation in the most succinct way: “Creativity is thinking up new things; innovation is doing new things.” And, in that light, we think of leadership as holding open the space for both creativity and innovation.

Mindset Of Innovation

Innovation is more than creating new things- it is also a mindset to look at things differently and challenge old ways of performing tasks. Increased financial constraints mean that leaders need to look creatively to achieve outcomes. The COVID-19 pandemic gave us many success stories on this front. With no extra staff, local health districts were able to vaccinate entire communities, regardless of how remote. In the midst of crises, professionals were able to change traditional ways of working and adopt faster and smarter ways to take on more. 

In addition to thinking differently within themselves, healthcare leaders must also start thinking differently about their teams. Do different patterns of work need to be considered? Should there be different working rhythms? This is taking us from the business continuity mode to focusing on long-term growth and organisational health. 

One approach is to set up some tasks so that staff can focus on one task at a time. Not for all aspects of the role. But having time to immerse in a worthwhile task is not only good for patient outcomes but helps to build resilience. In essence, it is all about working innovatively within the constraints.

Learning and Reflecting on The Past

I started my career looking at large complex changes across multiple countries. Throughout this period, I found that the role of leadership became more pronounced as complexity increased, and with this came a greater need for leaders to reflect on what was happening around them. In working with leaders, it is clear that their role to initiate and sustain change is crucial. At the same time, innovation is now one of the key skills for leaders as they look toward future-proofing their own careers. Make time and space for innovation as part of any leadership role.

More about Lyndal Hughes, Managing Director, Q5 Australia

Lyndal leads Q5 in Australia, an organisation transformation consultancy that builds organisational health for the working world. With over 25 years of experience in implementing effective transformation and leadership strategies for blue-chip companies and government departments in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.  As a former London-based Accenture Executive, Lyndal offers rigour and insight to all the projects she works on.  She has been the Head of Culture and Changes for Woolworths Food Group and the founder of the highly regarded change consultancy Treacle. 

This consultancy was rolled into Q5 in 2021, bringing with it deep expertise in working with leaders to shape and implement integrated change programs that align with strategy.  Lyndal delivers measurable differences in workplace behaviours, well-being, organisational culture, and leadership impact.  

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