Tag Archives: bureaucracy

Risk: the bureaucracy v practice conundrum

WWR 2007
Working with Risk (2007)

Reflecting on questions regarding the purpose and design of risk paperwork, and the role of evidence in its construction.

Use the following link to also access a free training webinar which introduces my simple 5-step process to risk decision-making, which also form the core modules of the Positive Risk-Taking Membership Site:

https://app.webinarjam.net/register/21360/99e6026a97

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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 069: Strengths-Based Reviews

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Whether it is the occasional personal reflection or the more structured process in service delivery, we all review our progress from time to time. The purpose is to check in on the progress of our plans and actions towards the achievement of our priorities and goals, and just occasionally to check how we are managing lifes crises.

In UK mental health service the process has become known as the Care Programme Approach (CPA) since 1991. A simple set of indisputable principles were quickly transformed into practices that leave a lot to be desired. The power of a bureaucratic administrative stranglehold has never been more clearly illustrated than in the case of reviews by audited target setting. ‘Person-centred’ is a smoke and mirrors claim for something purposely designed to make services look good on a balance-sheet.

In this episode I outline how the genuine intention of person-centred review can be regained through a visionary, strengths-based and creative approach to individual reviews. It includes a series of questions we should all be constantly asking of ourselves in order to stay on the person-centred track. A Strengths Approach applies equally to people and the processes we come to wrap them up in.

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/069-strengths-based-reviews/id867043694?i=348334287&mt=2

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination.” [Carl Rogers].

Podcast Episode 065: Puncturing pomposity

Person-centred (2009)
Person-centred (2009)

Why are we so enamoured with our impenetrable jargon and gobbledegook? All professions adopt it, seemingly as a badge of membership, and as an illustration of their special exclusivity. For the outsider, having the unfortunate need of the services of a professional, the langauage is often likely to be the first insurmountable barrier.

In this episode aI briefly explore how meetings can be fun experiences. In the undignified way you might want to adopt a game of ‘bullshit bingo’. In a more dignified way, it is a chairperson’s role to give permission for the use of the more humourous examples and anecdotes, even when the overall subject matter is heavy and serious. It should be more about encouraging lateral or creative thinking, but do it in simple and accessible language.

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/065-puncturing-pomposity/id867043694?i=346798306&mt=2

“I think there needs to be a meeting to set an agenda for more meetings about meetings.” [Jonah Goldberg].

Podcast Episode 064: Control freaks need not apply

Person-centred (2009)
Person-centred (2009)

Can the chairing of meetings, the very thing we often want to avoid, actually be fun? In this episode I discuss how the overall effectiveness of meetings can be directly proportional to the effectiveness of the chairperson.

Those who operate as control freaks with an over-inflated sense of self-importance, or those who are democratic to the point of becoming all talk and no action, are equally ineffective. The concept of the ‘revolving chair’ should just be left spinning.

I outline an approach to meetings that views them akin to a 3-act play, with several practical tips for fulfilling the role. I also outline the need for preparation and skilled facilitation as a pre-requisite for an effective chairperson. What does a strengths approach to managing the ebb and flow of meetings look like?

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/064-control-freaks-need-not/id867043694?i=345038675&mt=2

“If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.” [Charles Kettering].

Podcast Episode 062: Problems with Meetings

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2How effective are all of the meetings you attend? It’s very likely that whatever business you are working in you will have to attend meetings either occasionally or frequently. They take up an inordinate amount of time, but the question is just how much time are they wasting?

In this episode I will take a formal definition of meetings, but add my twist with several reflections on how I have experienced meetings on occasions. Hot-air, self-importance, shared insecurities, ineffective time-wasting… but enough of me!

How can we attempt to make this precious time as effective and engaging as possible? I set out seven pointers that can help achieve these goals in ways that either reflect the good practice you are already doing, or will transform the experience of all who need to be attending.

For the full content of this episode click on 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/062-problems-with-meetings/id867043694?i=344569093&mt=2

“Meetings are indispensable when you don’t want to do anything.” [J.K. Galbraith].

Podcast Episode 059: Constructing Strengths Assessments

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2How do we go about constructing a strengths assessment? Whether it be reflecting on our selves or working with other people, it is a flexible process developed over time, not a function to be mandated, timed and audited by a managerial approach.

For ourselves, it happens as and when we give ourselves time for reflection. With others, it is best achieved through an informal, conversational approach where the other person feels most comfortable; or it emerges from snippets of conversations over a period of time.

The focus is to build a positive picture, that can then be applied to achieving the goals we set for ourselves, or others set for themselves. It can be prompted and supported by paper or electronic forms, but they are purely supportive tools not the end purpose.

It can be developed by and within teams, but the key is always to be engaging the fullest involvement of the specific person who is the subject of the strengths assessment. In this episode I outline the five main areas of consideration for developing the practice of constructing a strengths assessment.

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/059-constructing-strengths/id867043694?i=343344280&mt=2

“Over the years I’ve learned that a confident person doesn’t concentrate or focus on their weaknesses, they maximise their strengths.” [Joyce Meyer].