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Changing Culture through Conversation

Organizational Development in the NHS

With 1.3 million staff delivering care to 1 million people every 36 hours, the NHS is one of the largest organizations in the world. At a time of significant change and financial challenge, the focus on ensuring compassionate cultures to deliver high-quality patient care becomes ever more important. Where do we start? How does the NHS change its culture?

In our chapter 'Changing Culture through Conversation', we outline the questions that led the NHS Organizational Development (OD) community to develop digital tools, resources and guidance to enable conversations that make a difference. The contribution of OD practitioners is vital to culture change initiatives. Practitioners from across the NHS came together to tackle this challenge in collaboration.

Working across ten different healthcare organizations, the Do OD team and a leading academic worked together to share practice, learning and create new knowledge about culture change that we could translate into tools and resources available to everyone.

Weaving theory and practice on developing high performing cultures we highlight a case study at Northumbria Healthcare Foundation Trust on how they successfully navigated culture change across their organization.

We offer reflections on culture change and our learning along the way including three principles used to underpin our approach:

  • Change happens through action.
  • Conversations spark action.
  • Good questions start great conversations.

We share tips from the lived experience of those leading culture change and offer a set of questions to prompt thinking and action, including:

  • What are the triggers for culture change?
  • What are your own beliefs about culture change?
  • What is your organizational culture change story?
  • What is the conversation you need to have?

Do OD is the expert resource on organizational development for the NHS, delivered by NHS Employers in partnership with the NHS Leadership Academy. Our work enables people to transform systems.

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