OD Superstar - Dawn Jarvis

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26 / 6 / 2015 Midday

Say hello to our lovely June Superstar, Dawn Jarvis, director of people and organisational development at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust since 2012. 

Dawn has worked in central Government for 21 years in eight different departments, and interestingly never health. Her previous two roles were director of people and change, and director of corporate transformation for the Department of Education, so there was always a theme about large-scale organisational change. Dawn is also a trained coach and coach supervisor currently doing a Post Graduate Diploma in coaching supervision, as well as achieving a Masters in HR management and completing the NTL organisational development programme in 2009 in Oxford.

1. How would you describe your role in the organisation? 

I am an executive director of the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (DBH), one of five plus the CEO, so I wear lots of hats. In any one day I can be taking part in decisions about services and operations, coaching or supervising coaches and devising and improvement project or large/small-scale OD intervention. I definitely occupy the space of agent for change, always a little bit on the edge, ready to challenge and support in equal measure.

2. What does OD mean to you?  

For me, it means knowing the right question to ask at the right time to get some sort of action to take place. If you take the view that there is no such thing as a neutral question, which I do, then every question has a purpose. Knowing the purpose of your question and making sure it is in service of the organisation, or the team or the individual you are working for, not in service of your own needs, is vital.

3. What OD projects are you most proud of? 

Executive appointments to values, followed by a values-based restructure at DBH, supported by leadership and management development around feelings and values. These three things together have led to better patient outcomes in the last year which means we are doing something right.

4. What would you like to learn more about? 

I am a big advocate of HR and OD working as one, though it feels that is quite alien in some parts of the NHS. I would like to understand more about how the HR business partner role can be developed into OD consultant and what other organisations are doing that as I think that is the way forward.

5. Who inspires you most?

There are so many to choose from but if I have to pick one it would be Camila Batmanghelidjh who founded Kids Company. Like all the others I would choose she hasn’t ever faltered in the face of sometimes overwhelming opposition, or worse, apathy, to make a small part of the world better. What is not inspirational about that?  

6. What’s your one 'must read' book / article / website on OD?
Be BIG by Judith H Katz and Frederick A Millar. These two write really easy-to-digest books and the message really resonates with me.

7. What would you like to achieve in 2015? 

Really crack the appraisal rates and quality at DBH and increase the engagement score in the 2015 staff survey again, and, on a personal note, keep off the weight I lost when I joined and get a slightly better time in my fifth Great North Run.

8. What would your motto be? 

Trust everyone until you have a reason not to. Expect the best and you will often get it. Always aim to do good along your journey as most often it will come back to you. 

9. What advice would you give to a budding OD professional?
The most important work you can do is learning to understand yourself. This is a life-long journey and must be repeated at regular intervals. And remember it is their work - you are just an enabler and have the privilege of standing beside them while they do the work. If you take responsibility for it, then it becomes about you, and it should never be about you.

10. What is your favourite sandwich? 

Cheese savoury! But never ever have salad on a sandwich... that is just weird.

If you have any questions about Dawn and their work, then please feel free to connect with her via Twitter, email address and LinkedIn. Find out more about Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust on its website.

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