Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

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].

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].

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

Podcast Episode 079: How can we ‘do’ recovery?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2In recent episodes I have explored the meaning of recovery and concluded that I fully support the original intentions of its service user creators, but despair at the corporate take-over and misappropriation of a good idea. I have also explored how the ‘can do’ strengths approach lends practical reality to the conceptual language of recovery. But how does recovery happen in practice?

In this episode I explore some of the resistance that it, and most new concepts, confront alongside the challenges within a deep-rooted culture that need to change in order to provide the conditions for these good ideas to flourish. I also explore the tools that have been created to implement recovery, but argue in favour of choice if we are to inhabit the service user’s life with the trappings of bureaucracy. Finally, I identify recovery as yet another concept where family/carers express concerns at feeling like they are an afterthought in the discussion of what happens in the delivery of a service.

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

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

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/079-how-can-we-do-recovery/id867043694?i=355718152&mt=2

“Recovery is something you have to work on every single day, and it’s something that doesn’t get a day off.” [Demi Lovato].

 

Podcast Episode 078: Making sense of recovery

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Having explored the concept of recovery in the previous episode I concluded that I fully support the original service users’ intentions but despair at the corporate take-over of manifestly good ideas in order to decorate their own complex and confused way of going about things.

As a realist I have to accept that recovery has become a leading mantra headlining the development of 21st century mental health services, but I struggle with the degree of confusion expressed by so many practitioners who would rather not be asked to describe what it actually means. What does the Strengths Approach lend to this set of circumstances?

In this episode I compare the language of the principles of recovery with the practical ‘doing it’ approach offered by the strengths movement. We can sit around and talk about conceptualisations as long as we like, but at some point someone has to do something, and that is where the strengths approach comes into its own.

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

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

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/078-making-sense-of-recovery/id867043694?i=353576161&mt=2

“I know now that we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.” [Gail Caldwell].

Podcast Episode 077: What is recovery?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2‘Recovery’ can simply be described as to regain, get back or restore something which has been lost, but in health and social care services we don’t tend to go for the simple and straight forward, particularly when confused and complicated are on offer.

I fully support the concept of recovery, as it was originally identified by service users, but I despair at how easily those in power feel able to misappropriate good ideas to dress up their otherwise complex demands. Now I tend to see recovery as something designed by service users, hijacked by commissioners, managers and politicians, and crashed by practitioners.

In this episode I explore how a uniquely personal and individual concept of great merit and purpose has become subsumed into the corporate world of strategic direction, and subsequently lost in translation. The original pioneers foretold in warnings of how the concept will lose its power when it becomes systematised, but the world of bureaucracy is not known for heeding warnings, particularly if they don’t appeal to the perpetual need to homogenise the individual experience.

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/077-what-is-recovery/id867043694?i=353576160&mt=2

“You can get the monkey off your back, but the circus never leaves town.” [Anne Lamott].

Podcast Episode 076: What is solution focused therapy?

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Solution Focused Therapy has been established in the US since the early 1970’s, but didn’t make an impact in Europe until the mid to late 1980’s.

The approach is largely attributed to Steve de Shazer, and has garnered considerable favour with the attibution of ‘Brief’ in front of its title. Many clients and practitioners alike favour the specific focus on finding solutions through brief interactions and short term interventions. In my work presenting a strengths approach I have often encountered practitioners asking ‘isn’t this a bit like Brief Solution Focused Therapy?’

In this episode I examine the strengths credentials of this approach, with reference to its underlying core principles, the therapeutic roles of clients and practitioners, and its therapeutic approach underpinned by specific lines of inquiry. Discover the secrets of the ‘miracle question’.

For the full content of this episode click the links for 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/076-what-is-solution-focused/id867043694?i=352344729&mt=2

“Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it.” [Niels Bohr].