Few would disagree that 2013 has been a tough year for the NHS. By the nature of the work and demands on the service this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The overall fragile nature of the economy means that making the best use of resources while delivering quality services will need focus.
It can be tempting for organisations, not least those under a lot of pressure to just carry on doing what they always did. Finding the time to stop, take stock and plan can be difficult when there is a hugely demanding operational agenda.
On the other hand it’s during tough times that leaders and leadership teams have the real opportunity to make a huge difference. Part of good leadership is making choices. In the ideal world we would do everything. As we all know we never live in the ideal world.
So as leaders and leadership teams, what are your organisational priorities for 2014? Quality and safety are clearly going to be on that list no doubt. These are core to delivery of good NHS services and almost taken as a given.
What else might be on that list? How about productivity? Are you really doing everything at optimal efficiency levels in every part of the organisation? Probably not so there are choices to be made about what will be priority in terms of changes you make.
Innovation is likely to be another area you will be considering. Maybe you are doing many great things at an organisational level. On the other hand there may well be a whole lot more you could be doing across health economies. If you are looking at innovation you might have to create the time and space for people to give it real focus.
Morale and motivation might need attention. When under pressure themselves, leaders and leadership teams can easily lose sight of the importance of people to delivery. Perhaps you need to be working more on listening and acting on issues and concerns that people have.
The reality is that in tough and challenging times, all organisations, including the NHS need to make sure that the focus is on the priorities. Those things that are really matter and make a difference.
So what’s on your organisation’s list of priorities for 2014?
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