AI is more frequently known as Artificial intelligence, but in the context of organisational change I am focusing this episode on Appreciative Inquiry. But, apart from the simple assumption of showing some appreciation to another person, what is it?
David Cooperrider and colleagues have claimed this to be a uniquely strengths-based approach to the leadership and management of organisational change; and also that strengths-based management may just be the management innovation of our time!
However, the concept of change does not sit easily with everyone; for one thing, it can give the impression that there is never enough time to implement some seriously good ideas before the next management initiative is passed down.
In this episode I outline the strengths credentials of Appreciative Inquiry, its 4-dimensional cycle, as well as the 5 principles and 6 essential conditions for it to occur. It may require skilled facilitation by a trained practitioner, but it also offers all of us a positive language to adopt and apply to our own thinking about the organisations we presently inhabit.
For the full content of this episode click the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):
“A well designed system filled with ordinary but well-trained people can still achieve consistently high performance; whereas a badly designed system can make a genius look like an idiot.” [Pfeffer and Sutton].
I am often mindful of the need to criticize the quality of leadership and management in health and social care services; particularly the obsession with numbers, the tick-box mentality, and the blind faith placed in targets for driving change and daily practice across services. I am surely not a lone voice in this critique, but is it valid or just a reaction against the sound of the pips squeaking?
I do believe that an absence of targets or defined outcomes, and a failure to establish high standards for provision of services only leads to inconsistencies between practitioners and teams… what is often referred to as a postcode lottery. Service users don’t deserve to be on the receiving end of either stressed out practitioners fearful of constant criticism, or laid-back practitioners doing their own thing. Audit and regulation have a place, but surely they need to be clearly joined up to practice, not existing in a vacuum somewhat disconnected from the realities within which good practice has to operate.
The ever-growing chasm between person-centred practice and business-focused managerialism does little to promote a culture of organizational collaboration that may encourage a more engaging form of audit and regulation across services. My solution would be to eliminate most of the current audit requirements imposed on practitioners and teams, particularly that which they experience as wholly time-consuming and unhelpful. So far so good, say the practitioners amongst you; please do share your thoughts, but read on before you do…
Over the last 12 years, through the Practice Based Evidence initiative, I have been developing tools designed specifically for use by practitioners and teams. These tools have flexible uses: personal reflection, individual supervision, team development and team evaluation. Used diligently they should be able to provide a host of qualitative and quantitative data, which in turn should offer useful feedback to practitioners and teams for practice development purposes.
The Risk Decision-Making publication includes examples of these tools, and a specific example of data emerging from their use in a specific organization to help identify good practice and priorities for further development.
So, the sting in this tail is that practitioners and teams need to own the processes of audit and regulation if they are to reflect and develop good practice. For those auditors and managers fearful of losing their jobs if Practice Based Evidence emerged as the norm, you could always make use of the data to tick your boxes; better still, you could prioritise your time more effectively by getting in and alongside practitioners and teams to support a quality revolution. You might then be in a stronger position to challenge and inform the thinking of the inter-galactic warlords from distant planets a.k.a. commissioners, Department of Health, Care Quality Commission.
It can be argued that over several decades the function of management has morphed from the role of supporting the essential development of a business into a role of managers running the business for their own primary gain.
Recognised management academic gurus have identified the dangers of management for management sake, and the way it can block the functioning of the frontline workers. This has been my experience throughout many structured interviews with frontline clinicians in health and social care services in the UK. Managers need to reconnect with the primary business of its business. The excellent managers contribute significantly to developing staff to identify and make best use of their strengths. Good management is a talent in its own right, but the majority of what constitutes management can frustrate and block creativity, and largely ignore the vital strengths.
To hear the full content of this episode click on the links to iTunes and Sound Cloud (or go to Stitcher Radio):
The turn of the year is the time when many people set the resolutions, that quickly become forgotten, or are a repeat of the ones set previous years. This is not the best way to make meaningful changes in your personal or business life.
Planning and goal-setting can be an invaluable component of successful change and sustaining achievements, but it requires thought and focus if it is to be followed through with any genuine intent. As an example of an excellent process for goal planning Michael Hyatt has an influential programme ‘5 days to your best year ever’, but this type of process doesn’t always have to apply to the turn of the year.
In this episode I outline a 5-stage process to setting those SMART goals, from personal belief and reflection through to specific goals, actions and the all-important need to review… keep on your own case if you want to make best use of the idea of planning and goal-setting. This episode asks you to focus goals broadly across your life, so they need to be personal as well as business oriented.