The Client

The client was a tertiary hospital in the Middle East who provide world-class healthcare for women and children. Their vision was to be a brilliant hospital, offering the best care in the world to their patients, both locally and internationally.


The Senior Leadership team wanted to create a culture which was acceptable to a wide range of people regardless of their gender, education, racial or cultural background or nursing practice so they were looking for some objective and external input to enable them to bring this about quickly and efficiently.

The Assignment

The Senior Leadership team’s request was to have some safe retreat time together to learn and grow and to understand each other better so that they could then enable their own teams to learn, grow and perform.


They had a passionate commitment to supporting their managers and clinical leaders through this period of transition and to have them succeed as individuals. They had already worked exceptionally hard to build trust within their teams so that they could have the tough conversations when needed.


What they were not looking for was a “one-size fits all” approach but a way to draw on everyone’s unique skills and experiences so each individual could lead as their best selves. They wanted to learn tools, strategies and thinking patterns that the entire team could use every day. Ultimately, they wanted to turn individual excellence into team excellence.

The Challenge

The majority of people were facing huge life changes: a new country, culture, technology, colleagues, systems, processes, equipment and more. There was uncertainty and potential risk on many levels including the demand to think on their feet, handle complexity and sometimes chaos, and to make decisions quickly where there were no simple or technical solutions.


The managers and clinical nurse leaders set the tone for all the work that happened on the frontline service delivery. They had to be role models for standards, attitude and technical skills, as well as the peacekeepers, pace setters, coaches, trouble-shooters and ambassadors. For many, there was a feeling of overwhelm with resulting behaviours in the territory of fight, flight, freeze and flock. Self-sabotage was rampant across the board.

The Outcome

Collaborating with Tilla Brook PCC, Denise Chilton spent one week delivering a Leadership Team Development Retreat for the Senior Leadership Team. They began by having conversations and building relationships.


Together they spoke with the Senior Leaders to agree key measures of success and then with the Managers and Clinical Nurse Leaders to discover what the key themes for the retreat week needed to be. Tilla and Denise designed and facilitated four retreat days built around the identified themes.


After the retreat, Denise and Tilla sent fortnightly bulletins containing top tips, skill builders, inspiration, mini videos, coaching questions and resource input. This helped to maintain momentum and offer small reminders that someone on the outside cared for them and their progress.

The Feedback

There was a lot of positive feedback and the overwhelming consensus was that the retreat was highly beneficial. Shortly after the retreat, the team faced a crisis when heavy rain flooded the area around the hospital. Tilla and Denise received the following email from the Executive Director of Nursing:


“The retreat really gave the nurses the recharge they needed – they handled everything, communicated with each other, supported each other – worked as an absolutely high performing team. I could have stayed home. The impact the two of you have had on the team is significant. Thank you”.

The retreat really gave the nurses the recharge they needed. The impact on the team is significant - Executive Director of Nursing

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