Following our current, and on going, discussion on the LinkedIn group looking at potential ideas for what roles might work well after policing, I thought it might be useful to some members to hear about one person’s route to their next career.
I chatted to Adrian Young, one of the founder members of PiPS, and we reflected on his experiences over the last two years since he left the job. Once Adrian found the right fit he went from strength to strength and proved that there is more than one great career available in the course of a working life. I asked a few questions that I hope will offer you some food for thought.
Adrian, after a long and successful career in policing would it be fair to say you left without a clear plan?
Really it wasn’t even a foggy plan!
It seems like you learnt a good deal from a short term job that was not a brilliant match for you – was it a case of establishing what you did ‘not’ want?
Yes it was with a family firm, and certainly there was a particular agenda within that. There was a challenge in looking at innovation – “but we have always done it this way” – and of course a whole new style of office politics that ,although familiar after policing, was quite tricky. I learnt a lot and I was clear that a small private firm was probably not going to fulfll me in the longer term.
I have a friend who works for the NHS and she got me thinking about seeking a position in running an NHS practice.
The more I looked the clearer I was that it would tick all the boxes for me. My management and organisational skills would be of interest to the right , forward looking, practice I thought and the more I discovered the more determined I was to try for it.
Do you think that intermediate job helped you to the right one?
Yes, of course, one learns in most situations, and one thing I especially learned in the private sector is performance management in a different way – I lost staff very quickly if they weren’t up to the job. This was to prove very useful in my current role.
I understand that you were second choice for the first role you interviewed for and then got the next one.
Yes, although none of us like the idea of rejection the first interview taught me a great deal and I was a better judge on the second panel. And, as is often the case in life, the second position turned out to be the better fit for me.
What skills do you think you particularly need for this role?
I am clear that many of the doctors are keen to just practice medicine, which makes sense, but then who will have the tricky conversations about staff performance or negotiate contracts or chase fees? I am clear that a former career in the role of police officer served me well in remaining calm under pressure and managing distressed and sometimes angry people.
Equally being an active problem solver (essential here and learnt through necessity within policing) has been invaluable. I have been lucky that my predecessor did not leave me with anything much to build on so I have been able to form things to suit me.
What sort of things?
Well I have taken on any difficult conversations with staff and even patients where appropriate. I have had to challenge and ultimately to lose under performing staff – and this has been something the doctors would not have been able to do. I have stood in with certain departments when we were pushed – I am told my relaxed manner is helpful when face to face with patients, which is easier for me of course when I am not in the role continually. I have embraced a steep learning curve by doing – again similar to policing!
Do you see this as a new career or just a job?
I definitely see this as a new career. There is huge scope to develop the practice, once the partners agree, the sky is the limit. With the right infrastructure we can bid for more contracts on health provisions – blood tests, ECG, holiday vaccinations, well anything really that a good health practice might provide.
It is all about managing budgets – which of course most of us learnt in policing – working out which services can offer the best options for our clients and how we can make them cost effective.
I am clear that in my role succession planning is essential and I am building on that week by week to ensure a stronger more resilient workforce and doing quite a bit of thinking outside the box on potential areas of growth. All in all it is great fun and so fulfilling when you know you as a team are delivering good service. Not dissimilar to policing I suppose.
Sounds like a great next career for police officers.
Yes, I think it might be a good fit for many. Once they can offer a sound management background and evidence of problem solving, negotiation and managing conflict they could find this a perfect move. Many GP practices are happy to take on experienced managers from outside the NHS, as they see that your added value to them is dealing with staff, patients, processes and compliance issues. They understand the NHS!
Where is the best place to start looking?
There is a website which is very useful at www.firstpracticemanagement.co.uk
There is a free to use part of the site that allows you to get a better view of the language and terminology – it makes sense to do some due diligence around this – there are also details of current opportunities.
I am happy to have a word with any members who are serious about pursuing this and certainly I benefited from talking to people in the know before I applied.
One last question – can we be very un-British and talk about money? I am not talking about your own pay, I would not be so rude, but I know this is a priority for some. I wonder if there is a feeling they should be on the same wage as they were in policing or it is not worthwhile. Having left as a Superintendent and knowing the current issues within the NHS I doubt it is on the same pay scale.
Yes, it is a different pay scale but of course this is a very different job – and not the least the benefit for me of working less then 15 minutes from home. I explored this aspect and was clear, and remain convinced, that unlike the public sector there is the opportunity for one to prove oneself valuable and secure pay to reflect that. At the very least when I create increased profits for the partners my worth goes up accordingly which I have agreed will be considered on a three monthly basis.
Equally if you can make a business profitable that influences your chances of another practice being willing to pay if your own isn’t. You can start to become a talent they need but of course you absolutely must prove yourself first. So, I would say, get your foot in the door, deal with the stuff they cannot ( or don’t want to) and then there is a strong chance of your pay increasing.
Thanks for you time Adrian, if anyone want sot speak to you personally can they connect with you on LinkedIn perhaps and take it form there?
Absolutely, more than happy to help
You can find Adrian at uk.linkedin.com/in/youngadrian Do let me know it this has been useful to you, perhaps we can do a few more of these interviews.
Warm regards to all
Director Police into Private Sector