We’ve just had two weeks in the UK, the we being Kevin and I, and on return a number of people have asked me why we make the annual, sometimes bi-annual, trek to the northern hemisphere.

Primarily it’s because most clients ask us to include some international talent in their field; particularly for the most senior roles, like Director General Health NZ that we have been working on for the State Services Commission, or for highly specialised roles like the Director Radiation Oncology for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne.

It’s all very well to read a CV and chat to someone on the phone but there is nothing like getting in front of people, seeing them at their place of work, in their community, observing interactions and the regard in which they are held. That stuff really matters when you are trying to get a feel for someone and whether they would fit with the culture of a particular organisation, it’s Board and leadership team. It also really matters when you are trying to assess how they would go down in a particular community.  

We take ‘fit’ really seriously. That’s why we go.

But there’s another reason we go. We spend time with highly talented Australian and New Zealand expats who are making a serious contribution to healthcare reform, leading turnarounds for organisations currently not at their best, or taking strongly performing organisations to the next level.

They help us to better understand the environment, the challenges and innovations, and how translatable that expertise and experience is back on our shores.   In that sense we are expanding our understanding of ‘fit’ from a broader contextual perspective by people who really get it having worked in both hemispheres. Hey but let’s be honest, we are also in their ear about opportunities to come home!!

Lastly, we get to spend time with those really great people in life who are hugely knowledgeable and humble with it, neither expat nor seeking an opportunity to come our way, but generous with their time:

  • Sir David Dalton sharing encouraging cross government, cross sector, whole of community wellbeing work
  • Professor Jason Leitch offering a Scottish take on person centred care and innovations at scale in patient safety and quality improvement
  • Suzie Bailey sharing NHS Improvements latest thinking in terms of leadership development and leadership pipeline
  • Tracey Power sharing some of Maudsley Internationals mental health and wellbeing work in Qatar, with a seriously impressive emphasis wellbeing
  • Peter Lachman reflecting on the evolution and greater potential of ISQua and why we really ought to be fronting up their conference in Malaysia

It has been a great trip and this really nice reminder of all the dedicated people in health and human services just trying to do the best they can every day and caring pretty deeply while they go about it!