Axiologik Skills Spotlight: Richard Phillips

Each month we'll be sharing insight into the roles, skill set and experience belonging to members of the team. This month, we shine a light on Programme Director at Axiologik, Richard Phillips.

1. What is your job role?

I’m a Programme Director at Axiologik, and was brought in to lead the GP Connect programme which was quite technical and a first for the NHS, so they looked to me for my programme management and leadership skills. I also have an extensive background in systems interoperability which is linking computer systems together using international standards which I’ve done for a large proportion of my career.

The client wasn’t looking for someone to consult them and to tell them what they needed to do, they required leading from the front and to build a cohesive team, to ensure they worked collectively together to focus on the one vision and approach to get the programme moving in the right direction.

2. What are your responsibilities within this role?

Programme leadership, so that’s everything from governance, reporting, finances, stakeholder management, therefore working with the senior leaders within NHS X; managing their expectations and building a relationship based on trust.

Other responsibilities included, governance control, team leadership, supplier management and financial control of the programme.

3. What do you enjoy most about your role?

When joining a programme that is challenging and particularly when people are doubting whether it is deliverable, I enjoy bringing some stability, placing the right people into the right roles, and focusing and agreeing on what we’re trying to achieve and then delivering it.

I like working in areas where leadership is needed, not particularly in an authoritative style, rather in a collective, cohesive type of approach. I’m not afraid to lead from the front, to getting everyone on board and heading in the right direction, and then seeing some outcomes. On a personal basis, this programme has meant a lot to me as it’s allowing records to be available for GPs anywhere in the country. For example, if you go on holiday to Cornwall and have an allergic reaction, the GP there will be able to see your records from home, which is a first and my team did that.

4. What skill set is required?

Supplier management, decisiveness, good strong governance and leadership skills; making sure that there is a strong framework in place and that there’s accurate reporting. Furthermore, applying a collaborative approach and good presentational skills. I’m very approachable and a good listener - people can come to me to have a conversation about their challenges and issues.

5. What would you say are your most enhanced skills?

Collaboration and client management; building strong relationships with people, for example with key stakeholders, suppliers and key people within the team. I’ve built a very good relationship with my SRO, the person who is sponsoring the programme.

6. Do you have examples of where you’ve developed these skills?

When I first arrived at GP Connect, I needed to improve the relationship between the sponsors and the programme as they didn’t fully understand the project. I learnt a lot of lessons whilst developing this relationship.

When the new SRO arrived, I took the time to explain the programme in a language that he would understand to make sure he understood the importance of it, and therefore I repositioned the programme. This was one of my biggest achievements.

Secondly, I built a good relationship with the project managers. Taking the time to get to know them, to understand what their problems and challenges were. When they realised that they weren’t the problem, I kept feeding them with what they needed in order to manage upstairs and when I faced challenges, I communicated this with the executive director.

It was utilising and influencing people around me to try and build and improve the relationships that we had in order to establish those boundaries of trust.

7. Please share a project that you’ve worked on where these skills have helped you to develop successful results for the client. Would you say the project you’ve described just now is an example of one?

Yes absolutely. I do have other examples throughout my career, though I’m pretty proud of the last 3 years of work. From just starting in a new space, in a slightly different role, I am seeing that some of the skills I have, that I refreshed and dusted off in my last role are going to be utilised again. Towards the end of this financial year, I’d like to think some of my influence and the way I work will benefit the area I’m in at the moment.

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