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Levels of work in organisational development

John Watkinson interviewed by Warren Kinston



John Watkinson

Former CEO
Hospitals in the
UK's National Health Service

Sys-Man Ltd. 


Interviewed by:
Warren Kinston

Former Consultant

THEE-Online Project



John Watkinson has used the "Levels of Work" framework over many years as a successful CEO of three large hospitals in the UK’s National Health Service. 

In this video he explains his approach as "achievement via systematic management". Levels of work¹ this approach, with its primary value being role design, matching roles to personal capability, and effective accountability.

However, it is helpful to recognize the dynamic operation of accountability in order to drive what actually needs to happen within an organization² between L5 and L3.

He found it essential to apply the framework in conjunction with other methods and tools to get the best results.

In regard to purposes and values, the work-levels framework is primarily focused on operational outcomes and accountability. However, he believes that achievement over time requires attention to growth, culture and vision.³

In his experience, the development of management takes place in stages. On entering an organization, John experiences an initial need to be pragmatic prior to applying structural values. At this point work-levels are one crucial aspect that must be complemented by a focus on professional expertise and functional organization, as well as the design of teams and meetings.

Once the organization is well-structured and appropriately staffed, further strengthening of the management culture is necessary using dialectic, rationalist and other approaches.4

As well as levels-based capability assessments, John sees a need to identify distinctive decision-styles as part of the role-matching requirement.5

He also draws attention to an additional framework that identifies different ways that people interact socially. This framework is necessary to understand and manage tricky relationships, especially those dealing with power6

1. Work-and-Responsibility/B. Organizational Work/2.1 Org Levels Overview.htm

2. Work-and-Responsibility/B. Organizational Work/2.4.6 Review Full Picture.htm

3. Tables 28 & 34 in: Purpose-and-Value/0. Intro/1.1 Download Here.htm

4. Deciding-and-Achieving/D Management Culture/4.0.2 The Spiral Trajectory.htm

5. Deciding-and-Achieving/A Get Oriented/0.1 Foundation Framework.htm

6. Interacting-for-Benefit/b. Approaches to Interaction/2.0 Overview of the 7 Mentalities.htm

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