Starting a Two-Way Conversation

I’m delighted to have had lots of feedback about this blog since I revived it a month ago, with people across the organisation commenting on its content and style, and, most pleasing of all, taking me up on my offer to shadow staff for two half days each month (Come Fly With Me, July 1 2011). Soon I’ll be shadowing staff in our Ophthalmology Department and taking a closer look at what their roles involve. Thanks to those who invited me along – I look forward to spending time with you soon. The invitation – to have me shadow you or to shadow me as CEO – will remain open to everyone in the organisation. Just send me an email – – I’m always open to hearing from you.

There’s one piece of feedback I’ve received that I’d particularly like to share with you all today. On Monday morning, someone posted this comment on one of my earlier blog posts about CMDHB’s top 10 wicked problems (What are your top 10? June 24, 2011). They suggested one of our top 10 wicked problems is:

“How to get staff to know how their own individual role in the organisation contributes to achieving the strategic goal, and to be energised by that because they feel their particular role is valued.”

My sincere thanks goes to whoever posted this comment – it really got me thinking. An issue that’s often brought to my attention is how we best engage with and value you – our staff. I know that feeling valued, and feeling able to add value to the organisation, is an important part of your job satisfaction. Yet despite this, I’m increasingly sensing that CMDHB doesn’t always get it right or do as well as we could.

How can we ensure staff feel valued and empowered to make a positive and valuable contribution to the organisation overall? Here’s one of our top 10 wicked problems!

I asked you to start considering our top 10 wicked problems because Ko Awatea gives us a space dedicated to thinking these through and coming up with innovative solutions for them. In time, I hope we can put this particular wicked problem to the test in Ko Awatea and design solutions that will work for us. For now, please share your ideas with me over email or leave a comment here. What do you want to see happen to improve your sense of value and your understanding about how you contribute to the bigger picture?

I should add that staff engagement is genuinely very important to me as CEO. Some of you may have heard me say that you don’t work for me, I work for you. I’m always thinking about how I can create an environment where you can all do your best. I really want staff to feel valued and able to make a contribution. I want you to feel like you can raise issues and say challenging things positively. And I want CMDHB to respond to the challenges put out by staff. Ultimately, I’m accountable to you all for making these things happen. So when it’s not working as well as it can, email me and let me know how we can do things differently. Let’s have a two-way conversation.

I hope those of you not working have a restful weekend. Despite the disappointment of seeing the Blues lose last week, I’m thrilled the Crusaders have made tomorrow night’s Super 15 final, especially after everything that’s happened in Christchurch lately. Best of luck to the boys – here’s hoping for a big win.



Author: Geraint Martin

Geraint Martin was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Counties Manukau DHB in December 2006. It is one of the largest District Health Boards in New Zealand and services a population of half a million. He has significant experience over 30 years in national policy & in managing both primary and secondary care . Previously, he was Director of Health and Social Care Strategy at the Welsh Government .He authored a radical 10 year strategy of reform, including the successful “Saving 1000 lives” Campaign.Until 2004, he was CEO at Kettering General Hospital & had held senior positions in London & Birmingham.He has worked closely with clinicians in improving clinical standards,patient safety,chronic disease management & managing acute care to reduce hospital demand.In NZ, He has promoted clinical quality and leadership as central to improving patientcare. This has led to a significant increases in productivity and access, whilst maintaining financial balance. CMH has completed in 2014 a $500 m capital redevelopment programme, the largest in New Zealand. A central part of this is the establishment of Ko Awatea,the Centre for Innovation and Research which will underpin CMH as one of the the leading health systems in Australasia.In 2008, he chaired the Ministerial Review of Emergency Care in New Zealand, and in 2013 was an member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Health Sector Performance. Geraint has an MSc in Health Policy from Birmingham University .His post-graduate work has focused on health economics and Corporate Strategy . He is adjunct Professor of Healthcare Management at AUT and Victoria University, Wellington Elected in 2006 as a Companion of the Institute of Healthcare Management, previously he was an Associate Fellow at Birmingham University.He is is Chair of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a member of the Institute of Directors, on the Board of the NZ Institute of Health Management & previously the Board of The NZ Health Quality and Safety Commission.

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