This was a fascinating and energising session led by the team from the Elizabeth Casson Trust which obviously touched a topic close to the heart of many at conference. This was evidenced by over 150 delegates in the room.
The session was introduced by Anne Lawson Porter, a Trustee of the Trust, who outlined the work the Trust is undertaking with regard to supporting the development of leadership capability within Occupational Therapy.
Anne provided an insight into how the focus of the Trust’s work has evolved recently to include an emphasis on not only furthering occupational therapists (a focus on the individual through its individual awards) but also on ‘furthering occupational therapy’ (the profession). The Trust has recently undertaken a review of its strategy and has published 3 clear strategic intentions the second of which is as follows:
HELP DEVELOP LEADERS IN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY WITH THE CAPABILITY OF TAKING THE PROFESSION FORWARDS WITHIN THE CONTEXT IN WHICH IT NEEDS TO OPERATE
- Explore, develop and implement as appropriate partnerships between occupational therapists and relevant national organisations that promote leadership
- Explore, develop and implement scholarships, fellowships and other formal learning opportunities to enhance and support leadership and professional growth across the profession
Anne went on introduce Caroline Waters who is working with the Trust on this strategic intention. Phase one of the work involved talking with OTs from across the profession about their leadership experiences and needs. Caroline talked for a short time on some of the challenges that were identified in this phase of the work. she also described some of the needs that were identified. These are summarised in the slide below.
The second half of the workshop was spent exploring some of the Trusts current thinking about the work it can undertake in this area. This includes
- The production of branded material about the value of OT
- Specific work focused on building capability with a focus on skills
- Providing support for the future – mentoring and coaching
- Network building to overcome personal and geographical isolation
- Creating hubs and spokes of leadership expertise
One of the challenges identified with regard to this work is how to create a model that is sustainable.
The second half of the session posed two questions central to taking this work forward into implementation:
- How could phase 3 (implementation) be delivered to meet your professional leadership needs?
- How could professional leadership be sustained over time?
- would you be willing to invest in your professional leadership future by paying a fee?
- what other suggestions can you propose?
Judging by the amount of discussion in the room there were lots of ideas about this. There was a long line of people at the microphone wanting to contribute their thinking which is always great to see.
This session is being written up and will be published in OTN and so if you are interested in this work and want to find out more keep an eye out for the article. It will also explain how you can become involved. This is a really exciting piece of work relevant to every single one of us.
Written by @lynnegoodacre