Assertive Outreach: Examples of Great Teams

IMAG2227_1‘Strengths’ Assertive Outreach: A Review of Seven Practice Development Programmes.

The Practice Based Evidence consultancy made special efforts to get involved in going beyond simple training; focusing on developing teams with a positive impact on practice. It is one thing to claim to support best practice, but another thing entirely to provide evidence for such claims. Assertive Outreach teams in the UK were a particular passion from the original establishment of the consultancy in October 2001. The following article was first published in the Mental Health Review Journal (June 2008) and is reproduced with their kind permission; it is an evaluation of the support provided, from a strengths perspective, for seven such teams.

ABSTRACT

Assertive outreach is based on extensive international research and has been promoted in the UK in 1999 as a key area of the National Service Framework for Mental Health. Its primary aim is to provide a specialist service for people disengaged from traditional approaches of mental health services, but very little attention has been paid to how such services can be developed. Practice Based Evidence, a practice development consultancy, has engaged seven assertive outreach teams to focus on development first, and follow-up evaluation of the impact of reflective practice on team functioning. This has prompted a number of strengths-based recommendations for changing the way we think about developing services before we engage in research and evaluation.

PDF: ‘Strengths’ Assertive Outreach: A Review of Seven Practice Development Programmes

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Podcast Episode 088: Great Leaders & Great Managers

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2What qualities do we look for in our great leaders and great managers? Can one person embody both functions? The great leader connects people to a vision of a better future, and a great manager instils quality performance in other people to achieve the steps towards the ultimate goals.

In this episode I use a series of quotes from the business literature to examine the roles of a great leader and a great manager. It is for you the individual to reflect on how these quotes resonate with your own experiences of being led and managed, and of leading and managing. I also briefly reflect on some of my experiences across the last 30 years of being led and managed.

For the full content of this episode click on 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/088-great-leaders-great-managers/id867043694?i=358117306&mt=2

“The manager asks how and when, the leader asks what and why.” [Warren Bennis].

Podcast Episode 087: Leadership or Management?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2What is the distinction between leadership and management? Do we need to have more of one and less of the other? Ideally we need the good experiences of both.

In this episode I explore the future focus of leadership alongside the present focus of management. Using a series of quotes from the literature the contrast and the complimentary nature of both can emerge, and it is for each of us to reflect on how our own experiences resonate with the messages offered.

Leadership can not be learned from academic theory, it needs to be experienced, and for the experience to be refined through constructive feedback. Management should be about people more than it is about systems and processes. The primary functions of management have a place, but they should not be enabled to become the mainframe of the picture that people have to fit into. It is the strengths and creativity of people that contributes most to achievement, not the managerial tools and targets.

For the full content of this episode click on 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/087-leadership-or-management/id867043694?i=358117275&mt=2

“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” [Peter Drucker].

” Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their jobs done.” [Peter Drucker].

Risk and Leadership

Updated Risk Resource (2013)
Updated Risk Resource (2013)

What role does leadership play in good practice regarding how we work with risk? Leadership is often lacking, and management is all too often to the fore where considerations of risk are concerned in health and social care agencies. In this scenario fear and back-covering hold the attention, while good practice is presented as an unconvincing façade. Managers strangely play down any questions about excessive bureaucracy while still demanding all the paperwork is completed as the primary target. If something goes wrong it is the paperwork that gets sole attention, and real practice considerations are relegated to a place somewhere to the right of obscurity.

‘Good paperwork is a sign of good practice’ becomes the convenient smokescreen. This would be true if there was less management and more supportive leadership, as the need for paperwork would be put into perspective: as the essential minimum to support good practice not to hinder it. Good tools are a range of checklists and formats that have been shaped by good practice, and thus they are able to guide and prompt firstly, and capture good practice as a secondary function.

The Risk Decision-Making publication is the update of 17 years of working with individual practitioners and teams across countless organisations, both from within the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health initially and through the Practice Based Evidence consultancy since 2001. The tools and guidance are informed by what we know from the national and international research, but more significantly through the practice based evidence of hundreds of practitioners across all disciplines and service sectors. Most importantly, this publication refocuses the attention on risk as everyone’s business; so it is structured throughout to address issues from the perspective of individual’s, teams and the leadership & management of organisations. Whatever systems your leaders have bought or put into place there is still a role for guidance on best practice, so look no further.

Podcast Episode 086: The 12 Questions

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Are we really developing the strengths of our staff in the workplace? I previously outlined my own Team Strengths Assessment, but in this episode I focus on the messages emerging from the Gallup organisation strengths research.

Buckingham & Coffman published First, Break All The Rules in 1999, which included 12 questions we should continually be asking ourselves to identify if we and our employers are really focused on identifying and exploiting what we do best. The questions focus on personal strengths and support and supervision in the workplace. Do you do what you do best every day? This is the key question to focus on, but whether we do or whether we don’t depends so much on having the right conditions within the workplace geared to developing us.

Too access the full content from 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/086-the-12-questions/id867043694?i=357225170&mt=2

“Teamwork makes a dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.” [John C. Maxwell].

Podcast Episode 085: Evidence from the business world

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Do we only draw on the evidence that supports our original beliefs? The strengths approach is supported by a relatively small evidence base in the healthcare world, but if we look to the business world the quantity greatly amplifies. However, quantity should never be allowed to overshadow the quality of an evidence base.

In this episode I review the critical questions that Pfeffer & Sutton present so we do not accept evidence without analysis. They also question a fundamental tenet of the strengths approach by asking just how important ‘talent’ really is to effective outcomes.

The Gallup organisation have developed an extensive database over several decades to support the efficacy of strengths-based thinking across most industries across the world. The research identifies that successful businesses share common strengths-based approaches. The Gallup literature has also identified the key messages about what the great managers know and do. Talent is a key ingredient, but how it is managed and nurtured contributes to the difference that enables greater success.

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/085-evidence-from-business/id867043694?i=357225171&mt=2

“Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research.” [Wilson Mizner].