The NHS celebrated its 66th birthday on Saturday 5 July and on the same day ‘le Grand Départ’ of the Tour de France took place in Yorkshire. The opening stage of the 2014 tour started in Leeds and finished 190km later in Harrogate.
What can the NHS learn from the Tour de France? ...well quite a lot if you stop and think. The peloton works for cyclists and I think with some imagination, and possibly without the Lycra, it can work for the NHS.
A peloton is the main pack of riders in a road cycling race. Riders at the front of the pack cut the wind drag for the riders behind, making it easier for them to cycle. Taking turns at the head of the peloton allows the whole field to travel faster and for longer than any one rider could manage alone. No rider – no matter how strong – can win without cooperating with others.
Together, the group focuses its attention on the task ahead, cycling over many miles and dealing with difficult weather conditions and terrain. This style perfectly matches the idea that leadership is a symbiotic relationship between those who choose to lead and those who decide to follow.
It represents the perfect model for the NHS to follow – it encourages competition to be the best, while everybody works together to move the whole group forward. It works for cyclists and, with some imagination, could work for the NHS.
My ambition for Team Countess is a move towards a peloton style of leadership where boundaries are widened and where people work together to pool their initiative, talents, distinct perspectives, energy and expertise.
In this environment, the outcome will always be richer and greater than the sum of their individual actions. And Team Countess is about “creating the space for people to do the best job they can… creating opportunities to do the best job they can”.