Organisational health: a new perspective on performance improvement?

The NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement believes that “One of the biggest mindset issues is the way we think about performance and how to manage it. In recent years, we have focused much of our performance management effort on immediate payoffs by achieving short term targets. Evidence suggests that this might be a risky strategy longer term. It can stifle ambition, even incapacitate organisations, leaving them unable to achieve more than specific deadlines or targets.”

In response to the challenge of ‘changing mindsets’ around performance management, the Institute has published a ‘paper’ titled Organisational Health: a new perspective on performance improvement?

The paper begins as a synthesis of the key themes connected to organisational health in the literature and then draws inference from wider concepts to extend these core ideas. It is a research paper that requires some deep concentration and reflection to read. Yet it contains some true insights for thinking about organisational and system performance in the future.

According to Healrn Bevan, Chief of Service Transformation at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, “Whether we are leaders of provider organisations, or PCTs commissioning for quality, or SHAs overseeing the performance of the wider system, the ‘health’ challenges are fundamentally similar. We need to find ways to balance our efforts and energy between achieving short term results and building organisational health for the future.

Making our organisations ‘healthy’ is one of the most effective ways of creating organisational resilience in the coming economic climate. Part of the reason why we currently focus so strongly on managing performance is because it is such a tangible and measurable thing to do. Part of the challenge for the future is to make organisational and system health as much part of the way we think and work as the current performance perspective.”

The paper, Organisational Health: a new perspective on performance improvement?, can be freely downloaded here (requires registration and login).


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