Podcast Episode 084: Where is the evidence?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Are we just in the business of keeping academics in jobs? Best practice is the ultimate goal for delivery of any self-respecting business, but we must be confident in the evidence that underpins our beliefs in a particular way of working. A strengths approach is no different, and making best use of our personal assets and resources needs more than just a warm feeling that it is the right thing to do.

Within the research community there are conflicting views on the efficacy of working to a strengths approach. The good news is that the critics are asking for more evidence, rather than questioning the efficacy of the approach itself. Translating evidence into practice comes with its own challenges, and my adopting of ‘Practice Based Evidence’ as a business name was largely informed by a need to strike a balance that is respectful to the messages from real time experiences.

In this episode I reflect on the strengths evidence emerging largely from strengths-based case management, with additional studies in children & families, substance misuse and corrections services. Positive outcomes are reported across a wide range of measures, and ultimately the quality of evidence has to be respected above the quantity of studies (though many on the academic side of that debate may have further questions).

For the full content of this episode click the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/084-where-is-the-evidence/id867043694?i=357225169&mt=2

“Know yourself. Don’t accept your dog’s admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful.” [Ann Landers].

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Podcast Episode 083: A Staff Strengths Framework

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2How do we help to develop and nurture our primary resource, our individual staff? The research tells us we spend too much time trying to fix their weaknesses, and not nearly enough identifying and exploiting their unique gifts and talents.

A motivated workforce is a profitable workforce, so it makes sense from the personal and business development angles to spend more time developing strengths-based resources.

In this episode I examine some of the questions and steps from strengths literature that reinforce the use of the Strengths Assessment tool outlined in the previous episode. Mike Pegg draws together a useful list of reflections on why we achieved in the past, and how we can nurture success in the future. Marcus Buckingham offers a 6-step process for helping individual’s to develop their personal strengths statements, and to exploit strengths whilst managing weaknesses.

To access the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes & Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/083-staff-strengths-framework/id867043694?i=356270234&mt=2

“The idea of recognising your strengths and using them in as versatile a way as you can is cool to me.” [Frank Ocean]

Podcast Episode 082: Staff Strengths Assessments

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2How do we develop the potential of our individual staff members? We are all individual’s with unique abilities, interests, drives and motivations; but do we really spend time identifying and nurturing these?

The Gallup organisation research suggests that the most successful leaders and businesses do, but the majority are still focused more on fixing flaws and weaknesses. A focus on developing and exploiting strengths makes good business sense, so the question is how to go about doing it.

In this episode I outline the structure and approach of the Practice Based Evidence Staff Strengths Assessment tool. Exploring values, collaborations, creativity, team working and knowledge base. This tool has been accepted as an invaluable addition (or even preferred replacement) for traditional organisational appraisal systems. If it’s staff development you genuinely want to achieve this tool will be a valuable addition to any toolkit.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes & Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/082-staff-strengths-assessments/id867043694?i=355718153&mt=2

“Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by eliminating our weaknesses.” [Marilyn dos Savant]

Podcast Episode 081: How to recover our staff

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2With all the expectations placed on providing excellent service to clients how can we truly expect staff to value others when they don’t feel valued themselves? So, the concept of a strengths assessment should apply equally to staff members as it does to their work with clients.

In this episode I explore some of the key messages from the wide-ranging Gallup organisation’s strengths research. The focus is on why we should pay more attention to developing individual potentials, and less to fixing weaknesses. I also explore those feelings we experience when we are engaged in activity that is most likely connected to our real strengths and talents.

For the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes & Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/081-how-to-recover-our-staff/id867043694?i=355718154&mt=2

“If human beings are perceived as potentials rather than problems, as possessing strengths instead of weaknesses, as unlimited rather than dull and unresponsive, then they thrive and grow to their capabilities.” [Barbara Bush]. 

Podcast Episode 080: Steve Onyett RIP

IMG_2565xx-682x1024It’s 1992, I’m submitting the manuscript for the publication of my first book. Anticipation is tinged with anxiety, an anonymous reviewer holds the power to launch or terminate my fledgling writing career. All fears immediately recede as I receive pages of positive comment and constructive critique. Many references are made to a newly published book ‘Case Management in Mental Health’ (he beat me to that title by 6 months) give away the source of the review. Steve never did anonymity very well!

Fast-forward 22 years through my publications CV and I realize my latest book would benefit from an appropriate foreword from a recognized expert. They say ‘when you want something doing ask a busy person’, that should have been coined about Steve Onyett as he agreed unequivocally and produced a pitch perfect reflection of the book. Who else could get royalty and the act of farting into a mental health textbook with such skill?

In 2009, while facilitating a team development workshop, I received two of the finest compliments I have ever received. Two senior and experienced practitioners enthusiastically told me how influential my book had been on their work. As they elaborate further it becomes clear to me they are talking about ‘Teamworking’, published by Steve in 2003. As I had been acknowledged in his book I decided to unashamedly bask in the reflected glory. Being Steve Onyett for a few minutes still ranks as one of my finest moments! He loved that anecdote when I recently revealed it to him, but couldn’t help but try to reflect any glory back to me. Steve had a particular modesty when it came to appraising his own work.

In his relationship to others the word that comes to mind for me in describing Steve would be generosity. He gave of his time, but perhaps more important was the quality of that gift. Steve had a generosity of spirit that shone through his passion to understand and help people. To describe Steve by his professional role of psychologist is to miss the point; he was a humanist who believed in the potential of others and dedicated his life to supporting and developing people. His choice of the Spanish word ‘Entero’ was apt for describing his passion for the whole person, supporting people to discover or recover their own solutions, identity and true place in the world.

His conference presentations were dynamic and engaging, and his workshops were always a passionate process of exploration and discovery. Steve understood the stupidity of some of the systems we have created, but was always prepared to work within them to create better leadership and conditions for change. He infused everything he did with a big heart, but on 28th September 2015 that heart tragically failed him. I lost my greatest guide and mentor, and the world of mental health lost one of its brightest lights. To use one of his favourite words, knowing you Steve was truly ‘groovy’… rest in peace my dear friend.

For the full content of this episode click on the links for iTunes and Soundcloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/strengths-revolution-steve/id867043694

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/080-steve-onyett-rip/id867043694?i=355718155&mt=2

This tribute was originally drafted for inclusion on the Centre for Mental Health website at the following link:

http://www.centreformentalhealth.org.uk/News/tribute-to-steve-onyett