Roy Lilley chats to Jim Mackey

I watched this NHS Chat on Periscope. If you want to witness the whole super open frankness from Jim Mackey, you can catch it on NHS Managers You Tube channel by clicking on the coloured link…


Jim Mackey

Jim Mackey – Chief Executive at NHS Improvement.  Geordie.  Newcastle supporter (and thinks they will be relegated). Commutes. Gets peace and quiet on the train.  And was just so unbelievably straight. As ever, these are my views – and one step removed as I couldn’t physically be there.  But hey, that’s what technology is for.

Best bit?  Roy kept trying to get Jim to talk about the Junior Doctors strike.  His final answer.  “You’re very persistent aren’t you?”  Just not answering at all.  Wry giggles all around…but we really got some other strident and out there quotes.  It felt good.

Yes, he has been there and done it.  Accountant, and been chief executive of a Foundation Trust.  Now, from April 1st, NHS Improvement “brings together Monitor, NHS Development Authority, Patient Safety, the National Reporting and Learning System, the Advancing Change Team and The Intensive Support Teams”. This makes the job of Chief Exec sound onerous in the extreme. But if Jim’s answers in this chat are anything to go by, then he will cut through the crap.  His core drivers and beliefs make me feel he will make a big difference and fast.  Simplify seems to be the core message.  Here’s some tasters:

“You need firstly to create the circumstances for people to have a good chance (of succeeding).  Then have a clearer framework – people like rules. Then get behaviours right”

“Regulators?  Get it right for one, then you fall foul of another.  I just ignored them”  (I cheered when he said that).

“Need to think more as a team. We decided to ignore the 1 to8 (nursing to patient ratio) and worked with our staff on each ward to come up with the plan.  Great nursing Director made it happen”

“We need to all be working with one set of figures.”

“If the A&E crisis – 20% more this February to last – and the problem is caused because people cannot access Primary Care, then you need to fix that. You can’t pretend it’s not happening.”

(My idea for this?  Set up a GP surgery, manned by JDs – who are there 24/7, as we all know.  And let the patients come.  And cross charge each visit back to the GP surgery they are registered with.  I would think Out of Hours services would improve rather swiftly. As would not having to wait a week for an appointment…)

“You can’t fix anything if you don’t talk to each other”

“The NHS is the best in the world – especially viewed £ for £”.

He is a practical man.  Jim Mackey will make change happen.  His ideas for fixing the most complex problems is as obvious as it is difficult.  Break it down.  Measure the right things.  Talk.  And get the front line to design the absolute best ways to ensure excellent patient care.  That’s what we are there for.  That’s what Jim will make happen, as the Geordie Catalyst.

(And I think Newcastle will stay up!)

Leading Innovation, Creativity & Change

I went to a book launch at The Virgin Money lounge last week, near Piccadilly. I’ve known Peter for some time, but this is the first actual launch of a new title I had got to.  This may be his 10th or 11th  book – mostly all his own work, but one or two collaborations.

Peter Cook & Prof Adrian

Peter Cook, grilled mercifully by Professor Adrian Furnham


What did I learn?  Well, having someone of Adrian Furnham’s standing (Professor of Psychology and University College London)  does help to boost the level of intellectual swashbuckling that peppered the proceedings.  And it did mean the audience could direct their questions to the author or Adrian…but most were polite!

Another business book?  Not really.  Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise   (click to see more), really is a synthesis of theory and practice – as is Peter’s wont and style.  It is about the art of creating great ideas and converting them into profitable innovations in business.

This was one of the core ideas, for me – my own ‘light bulb’ moment.  “There are loads of ideas – too many to count, but the real success key is to do the innovation piece.  Actually making the idea work and making profit from it”,  said Peter.  Creativity is not enough then.  We have to put it into practice too.

Because Peter is also a musician (and many of his books reflect that predilection – e.g. “Sex, Leadership and Rock ‘n’ Roll!” ), we did have a discussion centred on different types of creativity.  Adrian mused on artistic versus scientific.  “Creatives are difficult sometimes”.  He was referring to the Artistic types. They need to be ‘in the flow’ (in the zone?) – to be creative. The scientist types appear more focussed, and not needed the muse so much.  We got more quotes (as you might expect from a book launch?)

Peter Cook spotting the muse decending!

Peter spotting the muse descending?


“How many Psychologists to change a light bulb? Only one – but the light bulb must want to change..” (that was Adrian again)

“If facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts” – Einstein – no, he wasn’t there, just quoted by Peter.

“Bedroom, bath and bar – good places to foster innovative ideas” – yes, for Peter, but others may need different situations and environments to help them?

“We need to move from BBI to BBE – from Brawn Based Industries to Brain Based Enterprises”  (I assume Peter needed the Bar, Bath and Bedroom to think up two new acronyms!)

Did you know there are 70 000 books with ‘Leadership’ in their title in the British Library?  And that of the Big 5 Psychological States, the two that predict everything are Conscientiousness and Neuroticism?  And that 55% of creatives are born not made?

Well, you would have done if you had attended this book launch!

Alternatively, you can get most of this, and have yourself a practical and highly useable manual if you peruse yourself a copy by clicking here – Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise

(And if you ever need a rather special photographer, these were taken by Christina Jansen – click to see more of her work)