Forging a top team in the middle of a crisis

By Kath O'Dwyer | 08 April 2021

Onboarding a team member remotely is tough – but what about if that team is your executive leadership team, and what if it’s not one member but five out of a team of six? That is where we at St Helens MBC found ourselves this past year – and what a year. The worst pandemic in living memory and two weeks before lockdown, in March 2020, I arrived as the new chief executive.

Although I have experience as a chief executive, starting in a new council just prior to a worldwide pandemic may have been a baptism of fire. I also had to set about putting together a new top team of senior executives. Over the following months a new executive director of place services, director of children’s services, assistant chief executive and an executive director of integrated health and social care (and accountable officer for the Clinical Commissioning Group) were recruited. In total, out of a team of six, five of us were recruited, virtually on-boarded and inducted. All six of us bonded together in the space of just 12 months.

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