Leadership Skills to shape the future in Western Sydney

31 Oct 2016

screen-shot-2016-10-31-at-9-41-36-amPart 2 of a 2 part interview: Kevin Hardy talks with Danny O’ Connor, Chief Executive of Western Sydney Local Health District. Danny discusses the leadership challenges and the leadership skills he looks for to shape the future in Western Sydney, and what he wants to achieve in the next five to ten years.

Kevin: What leadership challenges do the population changes in Western Sydney pose for you, because you must have put together an executive team, and you have layers of leadership. It’s not necessarily the exact same skill set that’s needed in the future. What do you look for?

Danny: The leadership challenges have exercised my mind and my energy for the last 5 years. What I look for is a leadership team that truly understands what it means to run safe and reliable services at good value for money. And I have a very powerful team that is well skilled in doing that. I’m not suggesting for one moment that our organisations are perfect in either of those respects, but they understand the agenda. What it means to support and run those organisations in that way. But further to that, I need a leadership team and I need a lot of other leaders in the organisation who understand the broader health agenda of our place in the society of Western Sydney and are prepared to reach out and comment. For example – we have a whole bunch of long term hospital endocrinologists who are highly skilled and highly prized clinicians who now spend a considerable amount of their time in the community working with and in the local General Practice for the purpose of not only further empowering those GPs and others to manage diabetes, but to push back the pre-cursers of diabetes.

Kevin: So, you are really changing the whole care model. These are exciting times and I imagine you will continue to learn through the process and make the necessary adjustments whether it’s though models of care or leadership

Kevin: Your background was originally as a psychologist. How has that helped you as a CEO?

Danny: I’m not sure. I don’t consider myself to be a well skilled or expert CEO. I do work very hard in bringing in around me a whole lot of people who are very talented. I see one of my chief objectives is to create an environment where talented people will come. Where they will understand what the overall aim of the organisation is and they will be comfortable with the values that I see as important to a well-functioning organisation. Those values being around:

Kevin: Five years down the track and you’ve achieved two or three key things and you sit there five years on – what would make you smile? What would they (2-3 achievements) be about?

Danny: A couple of things:

Kevin: So you have true partnerships. So there’s a sense of pride not just from you and your team, but also the community having a sense of pride in who they are in Western Sydney.