Yorkshire Ambulance Service

How we delivered Leadership in Action to a senior team of hundreds.

Covering nearly 6,000 square miles of cities and countryside, Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) provides life saving emergency and healthcare services to five million people across Yorkshire and the Humber.

YAS employs more than 5,700 staff who, together with more than 1,150 volunteers, provide vital 24-hour, seven-days-a-week, emergency and healthcare services.

In late 2017, andpartnership was chosen by YAS to design and deliver a Leadership in Action (LIA) programme – a bespoke programme built to reflect the organisation’s unique challenges.

Our approach

Our first request was an ‘access all areas’ pass. We sat in on team meetings and held one-to-ones with all levels of leadership – to help us gain knowledge, build trust and really get to know the culture of YAS and its current approach to leadership. We spoke to over 40 colleagues.

Taking the six core YAS values: compassion, empowerment, innovation, integrity, one team and resilience, we designed four full-day modules over the course of six months. Each module considered leadership skills, behaviours and expectations.

The tailor-made programme was designed to make feedback and long-term implementation across their organisation simple but effective. The four training days were broken up by six-week breaks between each to give participants time to spend consciously practising.

The results

“One year in, we’re still seeing real change – even though changing a culture and leadership can take years to achieve – and the response internally has been brilliant.” Head of Leadership and OD, Sarah Akhtar

LIA moved YAS away from ‘command and control’ leadership to one of resilience, empowerment and growth. It has helped leaders be brave by having difficult conversations across the business, challenging unacceptable behaviour and unproductive working practices.

We designed a bespoke online leadership diagnostic to assess participants before and after the programme. This revealed a:

  • 10% increase in compassion

  • 14% increase of empowerment

  • 10% improvement in innovation

  • 8% increase in integrity

  • 12% increase in ‘one-team mentality’

  • 10% improvement in resilience.

To date, more than 230 senior leaders have completed the programme.

Sustainability is a key consideration of andpartnership when designing any development programme. With YAS, they delivered a robust Train The Facilitator Programme and delivered this to 10 internal facilitators. They attended workshops, co-delivered and then had the opportunity to deliver ‘observed’ sessions. There are plans to increase the internal pool to 20 facilitators.

So far more than 230 YAS leaders have completed the four days. By the end of the process, that number will have risen to more than 300 and there are plans to offer the programme to future leaders with high potential.

Head of Leadership and OD, Sarah Akhtar, said: “Leadership in Action has been a great success and this has been a fantastic time to energise the Trust into action.

“Through the programme, leaders have been given time to assess their strengths and develop their leadership style, while gaining an understanding of techniques for managing self and team performance.

“We have worked closely with andpartnership to develop a programme that suits us. We’re really proud of what we are achieving with LIA and the absolute buy-in from our leaders tells us we are doing the right thing when it comes to supporting our leaders.”

Lee Morris, Associate Director at andpartnership is delighted with the success of the programme. He comments, “YAS leaders are delivering their own programmes and doing it for themselves. That’s the ideal situation that we strive to achieve. Paradoxically, if we make ourselves ‘redundant’, we know we’ve done our job properly.

“Leaders at YAS have been so impressed with the results that they’ve asked us to deliver a new fifth day to continue the progress made so far.”

If you’d like to find out more about the programmes we offer, contact us here.