In our office we give a name to every Learning Set, this is my personal Set, it’s conveniently called the Original Set and I have been in the Set for 25 years. We last met a week ago. It is my ‘go to’ group. These are my mentors. These are the people who are my ‘challenge’ group. They are my ‘reality check’ before making major changes and business decisions. There are always seven of us, although out of the original seven members who gathered as a group for the first time 25 years ago there are three of us who remain. Two have died. Two went to work overseas and we have supplemented membership by personal invitation and the Original Set now includes Board Chairs, CEOs from Local Government and the business world.
We started as a one year funded pilot study to test the value and ROI of Learning Sets and were a group of executives on the way up – there were a couple of CEOs, Deputy CEOs, Division Heads, clinical leads and I was their facilitator. They came from the Commonwealth government and State and Territory health systems. Twelve months on as the facilitator, the piIot study completed and findings reported I was invited to join the Set as a member.
Since its beginning its members have become Secretaries of Commonwealth agencies, Director Generals of Health systems, Professors of Public Health, CEOs of their own private sector businesses, CEOs of metropolitan Local Government Councils, international leads of major consulting companies.
Yet, despite all the changes we are still a Set who come together three times a year to solve problems for each other and to explore major issues that confront systems and organisations and then go away to action the strategy developed. And, like any good Set expect to know how successful the change process was.
We might be discussing strategic organisational realignment, restructuring organisations, solving major financial or organisational change issues, resolving relationship problems between a Board Chair and their CEO, discussing the public and private sector health marketplace and its design in the future, or, new business ventures and the go/no go decisions that result.
This is a group that have seen each other through major career and life changes. A group that support each other and are a professional network that has helped each of us succeed and grow as leaders. It has been my privilege to belong and to learn and to be challenged about my leadership, my business decisions, my blind spots.
Some members have theoretically retired. I say theoretically, because they are called upon by Federal and State governments and system CEOs to conduct a review or to provide advice. All are members of Boards both as Chairs and Directors.
This is also a group partial to sharing a meal and good quality red wine! I am not sure if that has become a selection criteria for the admission of new members but it is part of the ritual and ceremony and culture of the group.
If you’re interested in joining an HGI Learning Set then click here to enquire.