12 / 8 / 2014 3.52pm
August's OD Superstar is the fabulous Barbara Kozlowska, Head of Organisational Development with the West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust where she has been for five years. Barbara has worked in the field of OD for over 20 years, first becoming interested when she was the lead for a hotel group to become an Investor in People (IiP), which at the time, was a high profile OD tool. She went on to become a member of the IiP Shropshire Panel, which reviewed and awarded applications from a wide variety of organisations.
Barbara found that facilitating organisational, team and individual development was hugely rewarding, and also that it was something that she was effective and creative in delivering. She really shaped her facilitation style whilst in the post of Training Manager with a consultancy and training provider, and was responsible for OD for the national team of consultants as well as being a senior consultant and facilitator, building financially viable programmes.
Barbara realises she is at her best when developing people, in teams, groups, organisations, and also individuals through coaching and mentoring. She volunteers as a mentor for the Aspire Foundation which was created to support aspirant women leaders in the not-for-profit sector. Outside work, Barbara lives for music, travel and photography – her best trips are when all three happen together.
1. How would you describe your role in the organisation?
I lead a team which delivers all non-clinical and university programmes. My role is that of internal consultant, delivering what the organisation needs, whilst modelling an OD approach.
2. What does OD mean to you?
OD is about moving an organisation to where it aspires to be through our people and systems, in a way that demonstrates and models an OD approach.
3. What OD projects are you most proud of?
Two stand out for me. We work with three universities who deliver our paramedic programmes. We have built an effective, supportive consortium where all three universities work together for a consistent, quality-driven approach, whilst maintaining their organisational personality and commercial viability. Also, our Engaging Leaders Programme has been hugely effective in impacting on our organisational culture and leadership effectiveness. Last year I won the Health Education West Midlands (HEWM) Leadership Champion Award, and we are now working in partnership with HEWM and Yorkshire Ambulance Service in delivering this programme.
4. What would you like to learn more about?
Organisational psychology and neuroscience. The research in these fields is huge – I want to put time aside to really do a deep dive.
5. Who inspires you most?
Anyone who is prepared to be challenged, and who is willing to change his/her way of doing things as a result of development and feedback, and who then goes on to inspire others. I have met lots of people like that who have participated on Engaging Leaders.
6. What’s your one 'must read' book / article / website on OD?
“Good to Great” Jim Collins (2001). Still current, still full of common sense and inspiration.
7. What would you like to achieve in 2014?
I’m currently working on developing a measure for organisational culture – to achieve this, and maybe have some software associated with it would be great.
8. What would your motto be?
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be." Jim Stockdale
9. What advice would you give to a budding OD professional?
Learn how to be a consultant, how to ask the right questions, and how to demonstrate effectiveness in organisational terms.
10. What is your favourite sandwich?
Hot, spicy and Spanish.
If you have any questions about Barbara and their work, then please feel free to connect with her on
LinkedIn: Barbara Kozlowska