Creating the Next Generation of Leaders

As you may be aware, we launched the Counties Manukau Health Leadership Academy at Ko Awatea last week. Having anticipated that 20 or so people would turn up, we were totally bowled over when about 80 people filled the room. The turnout really underlined how committed our staff are to leading and to taking this great organisation forward. That’s very exciting and really speaks to what the Leadership Academy is all about.  

I’d like to first acknowledge Dr Mataroria Lyndon, a Clinical Fellow at Ko Awatea, who opened the launch with a rousing mihi. He shared a story of indigenous leadership to set the scene and inspire those present.

I also spoke at the launch and spent a few moments discussing what I think leadership is all about. In a nutshell, leadership is not about exercising power but about creating it. People often think that leading others means being in charge of an organisation and enjoying the trappings and privileges that come with the role. To me, leadership is about creating power, specifically creating opportunities for people to influence the world around them. I’ve been a CEO now for about 16 years (scary!) and people often ask me what I, as CEO, can do that no one else can. I see my role as being able to create opportunities and give people time and cover while they seize them.

That lies at the heart of the Leadership Academy. We have some fantastic leaders in our organisation, in fact there are too many to list! Suffice to say, our Executive Leadership Team, Clinical Directors and Managers are all doing a superb job leading our organisation and shaping its future.

But there will come a time when those leaders will move on. The Leadership Academy has come about because we need to ensure that there’s a new group of leaders in the organisation who are ready to step forward, pick up the baton and keep running with it. It’s important to emphasize that the Academy is about growing leadership at all levels and that leadership does not belong solely in the realms of the Board office. It should be fostered at all levels, at all times and in all places across the organisation. I’m very fond of the writing of Dr Paul Batalden, of the Dartmouth Medical College, New Hampshire. He has very wisely reflected that the quality of the work that happens in a health system is determined not by the leaders at the top but by a conglomeration of all the individual activities that people in that organisation do. I think that’s incredibly important and true. If we are to deliver high quality healthcare and embrace our organisational values, we all need to demonstrate leadership on a daily basis.

The Leadership Academy will offer a Fundamentals of Leadership Course, for all CM Health staff, and a subsequent Core Leadership Development Programme, which is a more intensive leadership development opportunity for 20 – 25 individuals. Whether you aspire to be in the next generation of leaders or are an existing manager looking for ‘refresher’ training, I’d really encourage you to consider the Fundamentals course. We’ve confirmed some superb instructors for this, including well-known psychologist Nigel Latta as well as faces we’ve already seen at Ko Awatea – Pat Snedden and Sir Ray Avery. Bringing such well respected New Zealanders onboard is hugely exciting, not just because of the calibre of teaching they will offer but also because it demonstrates that support for our new initiative extends far beyond CM Health.

I believe that the Leadership Academy is one of the most exciting things we will be doing this year. Even when faced with today’s significant challenges, it’s vitally important that the organisation consistently thinks about how we can create tomorrow, and I can’t wait to start laying that foundation.

On a different note, thank you to Dellis for her lovely email following last week’s post. I always enjoy reading feedback from staff and welcome your responses, either as comments on this blog or emails to

I also want to send my huge congratulations to General Surgery, where patients are now waiting no more than five months for their operation and in some cases spend even less time on a waiting list. Last week I spoke about the importance of hitting targets as the result of good quality, not the other way around. This achievement is the perfect example – our clinicians and managers have taken a lead and focused on delivering excellent, high quality service first and foremost, and as a result we are exceeding the national target. Well done to all who have contributed to this result.



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.

One thought on “Creating the Next Generation of Leaders”

  1. Very nice post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you folks have any ideea where to hire some professional writers? Thank you 🙂

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