Do OD Superstar - Sarah Ball

Sarah Ball

08 / 12 / 2015 12.06pm

Our December superstar is Sarah Ball, head of organisational development (OD) and HR at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust. Sarah has an important role shaping OD and HR strategy and ensuring HR is engaged at every level of the organisation as a critical business partner.

Although Sarah has previous experience in financial services, legal services and retail, her professional HR career has been in the NHS as head of OD for the last six years.  She also took on the lead portfolio for OD in the last year.  

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

I’m the head of organisational development and human resources. 

2. What does OD mean to you?

To me, put very simply, OD is all about improving organisational capability through our workforce. 

3. What OD projects are you most proud of?

I’m very proud of the work we've done to develop our new trust values, involving over 1,300 staff, patients and carers. While we only launched our values at the beginning of October and have only just started delivering cascade workshops to our managers and leaders, the approach we've taken has already made a significant difference and we've barely scratched the surface of the potential to positively transform our organisational culture.  

On the back of this, we’re currently developing a proposal to assess our emotional intelligence (EI) climate and to implement a programme for approximately 700 managers and leaders at all levels of the organisation to develop their EI.  We are planning for this work to contribute to research on the link between EI and leadership in the NHS and its impact on performance.  Very exciting work in terms of its potential!

4. What would you like to learn more about?

OD has only formally been in my portfolio at a professional leadership level for less than six months, so I’m like a sponge at the moment.  I want to know anything and everything!

5. Who inspires you most?

I couldn't name just one person.  People inspire me every day in different ways.

6. What’s your one 'must read' book, article or website on OD?

Like many people, I wish I had more time to ‘indulge’ in reading!  My recent beach time read on holiday, however, was “Work Rules!  Insights from inside Google that will transform how you live and lead” by Luszlo Bock, Head of People Operations for Google.  A really interesting and thought provoking read. 

7. What would you like to achieve in the coming year?

I’d like to see the impact of all the work we’re doing to improve staff and patient experience bear fruit.  We’re currently reviewing our leadership and management development offering so I’m really looking forward to getting this off the ground.

8. What would your motto be?

Never give up!

9. What advice would you give to a budding OD professional?

Make connections and take every opportunity that comes your way.  Be inquisitive!

10. What is your favourite sandwich?

A hot bacon sandwich with tomato sauce!

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