Rachel Repper led the COVID-19 response for the NHS Supply Chain. She was responsible for ensuring that hospitals had the right equipment to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. People’s lives literally depended on her decision-making. She talks about the challenges of leading in a crisis, the learning curve of working with a new and expanded team and how having a shared purpose generated focus and commitment. She’s frank about her limitations as a leader and aware that others can do things better than she can. Such an enlightened and important awareness to have when she was right at the sharp end of getting equipment out to the NHS right at the heart of the COVID-19 crisis.
The image I had talking to Rachel is that her mobile phone is like a brick, full of phone numbers of people she can call on, no matter what the crisis is. Building and using the power of your network is underestimated but Rachel recognises that she can’t solve problems alone and having that extended network literally in the palm of her hand enables her to make better decisions collaboratively. I find it a comforting thought to know that in our mobile phones we might just have the answers to all the world’s problems if we are open to reaching out to others.
How willing are you to help others?
How willing would they be to help you if you reached out to your network?
How might you develop your network in a more collaborative way? Somebody’s life might just depend on it.