When I ask national and regional teams what their purpose is, they usually say something along the lines of “to deliver improvement in our health system”. I’m not so sure about this. The people who deliver the actual improvement are those who make the changes. What advisors, consultants, internal change groups, OD departments etc. do is to enable and support others making the change. It’s perhaps a rather arrogant stance for those wearing an “improvement” badge to think they are making the improvement.
To be an improvement leader is to sit in the mist of humility, where your personal satisfaction comes from seeing others develop, from watching them stand on the stage and share their experiences, and from knowing that the success of others is sufficient to satisfy one’s own ego.
The improvement leader is a sherpa, whose role it is to support, and when the time comes, to applaud the team’s success, quietly, from the shadows.