Simon Bird

Simon Bird

Simon works with leaders across sectors on an organisational, team and individual level. He is interested in making hard things simpler, and helping people turn theory into reality.

Location UK


  • @ChristineMurray - let's call it an area for development rather than a weak point! Just knowing this can be helpful in next time we find ourselves there, and the voice in our head says 'just find a way out quickly!' - we can try to calm the voice for a few minutes longer!

  • @IanSmith - great observation that people can have the same vested interest, but coming from different angles. This can be a real breakthrough moment for people/teams. I'm curious - do you explicitly point this out - or does it just become evident?

  • @SteveWheeler - I like that phrase, 'working past each other'...I wonder what it would take for both parties to slow and see each other?

  • @KalinaBellis - that's a great bit of self awareness Kalina - recognising that uncertainty can make you anxious means you might be able to tolerate it longer at times

  • @LindseyMarlton - lovely definition of the very tug of war itself that exists!

  • @LindaC - I'm wondering if the personality itself is 'controlling' - or the environment makes people behave in certain ways?

  • @KalinaBellis - definitely something in here. Your comments reminded me of how good it can feel to tick a box, or 'complete' something - or turn a RAG rating green. These little 'wins' can promote the myth of certainty!

  • @IsobelSiewruk-Smith that is an interesting counterpoint...and I guess by definition it is being that the product is an outcome of things reacting to each other. At the same time, sometimes the drive to unpick and rebuild suggests rather a mechanical approach. I think perhaps emergence might be the name we can use when there are unintended...

  • @DaveParker I guess we can take survival as the minimum required! Maybe there's something about how we even think about 'the NHS'. is it even a 'thing'? Is it more a brand? An idea? A dream? I am more optimistic than you perhaps about there actually being lots of good people around in the mix

  • @GretaTurner - I don't think we know really. Your question did make me think though...when in our societies/organisations do we change leaders? And what are the processes? I think we have a whole range from 'go on - you take a turn - I did it last week' - to elections!

  • @ShaheenKauser - we are all 'simply a cog' - but don't underestimate the potential power/influence/impact you have. Just think about an expensive watch/car try to start when just one simply component is missing...

  • @BreahYoung - I share your liking of it! For me, it simply explains how things 'really' get done

  • @LindaC - sounds great - and the programme should definitely help you even frame some conversations differently, or with some complementary ideas :-)

  • @MichaelCopley now that sounds intriguing!

  • @NatalieS - keep being that voice in the wilderness! It sounds like you're taking on an important role in showing that it's safe for others to speak up too

  • @PaulKavanagh-Fields - this sounds great. What tips would you offer when it comes to approaching people you don't know, but would like their help/or want to make a connection?

  • @NatalieS - yes, there's certainly something about mindset - and also the behaviours of people to allow others to hold that mindset and act with it in mind. What kinds of boundaries needed to be tackled?

  • @KarenChummun - you're so right. We are wired to 'belong' and so it is unsurprising that so often we don't value other perspectives which aren't like ours - or that of our organisation. It's often a conscious effort that's required - slow thinking - as oppposed to reflex thinking (fast) - which often takes the shape of us good/them bad!

  • @NatalieS - thanks for sharing that - and sometimes that's all you can do - a little a time

  • @JenniferGibson - thanks for deliberately or otherwise (!) pointing out a really common paradox or tension point leaders/organisations/politics and others find themselves on from time to time - do we go all out big bang? Or incrementally? There are long lists of pros and cons for each - and of course context i.e. what it is you're actually trying to do is...

  • @NatalieS you may definitely dare say! I'd suggest they're both helpful - along with the many many other ways of looking at culture that exist. I do like the Culture Web because it's so easy to see/hear around you. Next time you go to a shop (just to take it out of health and care for the moment) - or a restaurant - or a car wash - have a look around and...

  • @PaulKavanagh-Fields - you've landed helpfully on the idea that we need to be quite nuanced when talking about 'organisational culture' - because within any organisation there will be many other pockets shaped and led by a diverse population

  • @KarenSwift - ah lovely. Reminds me also of a Leonard Cohen lyric - Forget your perfect offering.
    There is a crack, a crack, in everything.
    That’s how the light gets in

  • @MaxineWilkie - sounds great! As you've experienced, just flipping the question can really shift the mindset and conversation!

  • @AndrewBlackstock - great questions. I'm sure you're on the right track - and I wonder if you'd go further even. How about leading sessions with patients? Or asking patients and community leaders what they want education sessions on?

  • @KarenSwift that's really great to hear. I'm interested in your observations about what happened after the 'immediate crisis' when people pulled together. It's a common phenomenon and a real challenge for leaders now to prevent all those good practices becoming echoes of the past

  • @ElizabethOdedina - some really valuable insights here, thanks for sharing and being so open

  • @KatyHaines - sounds like a strength and the system needs you and these strengths. Perhaps part of an adaptive response is to ensure you have others around you who are more comfortable with ambiguity - and learning from each other?

  • @ThomasNunn - great example here of some of the dilemmas. Being provocative - I wonder what would happen if there was some role redesign so it became less 'all or nothing' - so clinicians spent some time on the phone - and some time patient facing? Riddled with complexity of course....but just wondering.... :-)

  • @LukeBlackham - it really is isn't it? And this stepping out to try new things is a thread through all this discussion around systems thinking and working

  • @GeorginaHill - did you work it out? I'd love to hear back re: what you you discovered/asked about this?

  • @JasonBrooke - I was working with an ICB recently and planning an event and I asked about which organisations from the vol sector would be there, and was told that they hadn't been invited. I honestly don't think it's malevolent - it's just such a different way of working and thinking that dominant organisations are taking a long time to realise they will...

  • @JasonBrooke - perfectly put! It's the transition between good intentions and being able/willing to try something out....with support and backing from others in key places in the system

  • @SyedaAkhtar - PHM is a great example of approaching the challenges slightly differently, and at least opening an opportunity for a conversation. I'd suggest that it can only really make a difference though when people feel able to step in and use this information and data, and are supported to do so.

  • @AndrewBlackstock - totally agree. I do think we need to exercise some caution though at 'only' looking at 'leaders'. Some of the elements in the list above are really about mindset shifts for everyone - e.g. being open to trying new things, seeing that sometimes we might ask people to talk to people from other organisations - without this being not 'part of...

  • @philippacusack - you're probably right - but can we afford to wait for that to make changes at a local level?

  • @LucyJohnson - you make excellent points here about how hard collaboration is. It is much 'easier' to take a position and hold it...there are lots of risks at a personal level sometimes or organisational, to move from the status quo. Which is why when we're facing really complex hard things to do - where the answer is far from clear, that trying small things...

  • @GeorginaHill - great questions! What would you do....?

  • @CharlieColby - thanks for this, and your experience is exactly the kind of experience that is motivating people and places to see what alternative ways there are to make this whole period less worrying for the service users - and ultimately better clinically. Hold those episodes in mind - it's really helpful to be talking about things that are not abstract...

  • @JayneMiddleman - really like your use of 'just one more question' - and not being fobbed off. In general though, asking just one more question can be so informative when it comes to systems, and learning about other people connected and involved - beyond the 'they'

  • @LyndaSibson - sounds like very necessary project process at the moment!

  • But I do think it's also used when we're just too tired to wrestle with a situation....and hence the giving up

  • @LouiseNesbeth - I'm with you...there's some kind of fatalism in it I think, a kind of giving up