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Blair Mcpherson

Blair Mcpherson



Blair McPherson was Director of Community Services at Lancashire County Council. He has worked as a Deputy Director in social services and as a senior manager in a large Housing Association. He has been a member of the Professional Executive Committee of three Primary Care Trusts and works closely with a range of organisations in the voluntary, community and not for profit sector. His management career started in Birmingham City Council where he acquired his passion for equality and diversity and his recognition of the need for high quality management. He is a regular contributor to the professional press with over 500 articles published. He is author of four books An Elephant in the Room: An Equality and Diversity Manual, UnLearning Management: Short stories on modern management , People Management in a Harsh Financial Climate and Equipping Mangers for an Uncertain Future published by


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Comments (184)

  • Comment on: A successful NHS merger is the exception, not the rule

    Blair Mcpherson's comment 26 September, 2015 7:03 pm

    Through a series of mergers and takeovers the NHS will create chains of hospitals in an attempt to tackle its deep financial problems. The proposal has prompted fears that it will lead to the rundown or closure of small local hospitals despite their popularity with local communities. Research in other areas has produced evidence that mergers and takeovers rarely deliver the expected benefits and it takes organizations on average two years to recover from the upheaval. What’s more the motives of key plays in supporting mergers can be as much to do with professional egos and self interest as efficiency and a better service to the patient.

  • Comment on: There's potential to share learning from vets

    Blair Mcpherson's comment 2 September, 2015 12:34 pm

    I have two dogs. I get a very good service from my vet including same day appointments and a night time call out if I feel it is necessary. It is also very expensive. Neither dog is insuranceable due to age or health problems, medication is expensive ,one dog being on a repeat prescrtion which requires a consultation every three months. I can afford it but many can not.

  • Comment on: Welcome to the care village combining health and housing

    Blair Mcpherson's comment 14 August, 2015 2:03 pm

    I am not sure how this differs from very sheltered housing or housing with care except in scale, instead of a scheme there is a village, instead of 40 flats there are 400. How will this reduce bed blocking and delayed hospital discharges except for people already living in the village. I very much believe that very sheltered housing is the future but as a replacement for residential care. The most effective way of reducing the risk of delayed hospital discharge is to invest more in district nursing services and increasing LA funding for domiciliary care.

  • Comment on: Five ways to keep talented NHS staff

    Blair Mcpherson's comment 13 August, 2015 12:50 pm

    Free download at

  • Comment on: Five ways to keep talented NHS staff

    Blair Mcpherson's comment 13 August, 2015 12:47 pm

    It's managers who develop talent and keep people happy so an updated workforce strategy for a shrinking public sector organisation should focus on developing the people skills of their existing managers. The strategy is about rediscovering neglect talent. Most organisations focus on spotting and developing future high flyers they neglect the majority and write off a minority as no hopers. Whilst the high flyers benefit they invariably leave. All managers at the time of their appointment were seen as competent, with appropriate skills and knowledge or else they wouldn't have been appointed. In some cases they haven't grown after the initial period in post /first 12 months, in others the job that they are expected to do is very different to the one they were originally appointed to do, some have become frustrated others cynical and some have responded to the insecurity and increased pressure by coasting. It's not hard to imagine the effect this has on the staff they manage, the development and retention of talent and the reputation of the organisation which in turn effects the ability to attract talent.

    Management development is either restricted to the few or is focused on the practical,improving budget management, understanding performance indicators, getting to grips with your responsibilities under health and safety or policy and procedures for those involved in recruiting staff. To improve managers people management skills first they must gain insight into how their behaviour affects those they work with. When senior managers gain this insight they are more likely to address deficits in their listening skills, more concerned with opening up conversations rather than closing them down and more wiling to persuade rather than impose. This in turn has an impact on middle managers who feel more engaged and valued. First line managers have a model to follow. I have experience this being achieved through executive coaching, where an independent management consultant observes a manager in a series of work situations ( team meeting, report to senior management team, annual appraisal meeting, one to one supervision,back to work interview, meeting with partner agency) and provides detailed feedback.

    Where managers people management skills have been improved staff report less management bullying, less mistrust of senior management, lower levels of absenteeism,greater confidence in line management and higher reports of feeling valued. This is an environment that effectively develops and retains talent even those who were once written off as no hopers.

    Blair Mcpherson former Director of community services, author and blogger

    For a detailed case study on introducing executive coaching for all managers in a large complex public sector organisation see Equipping managers for an uncertain future published by Russell House free to download at www.

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