Tag Archives: leadership

Working with Strengths

Working-with-StrengthsAt a strategic level we are continually expanding the language, but essentially using new words and phrases to say the same thing… recovery, personalisation, self-directed support, person-centred planning, re-ablement/re-enablement. Nobody can seriously disagree with the premise that service users should be given a voice in order to say what they need and want, to reflect on how best to meet their wishes and aspirations, to exercise choice and feel supported in their decision-making. However, there is often a gap between what we are saying we are doing as services, and what service users are experiencing on the receiving end. The distance between strategic vision and practical reality rarely conforms to anyone’s idea of close proximity.

This is where the Strengths Approach or Working with Strengths come into their own… call it what you will, but we need some way of translating the big picture into something that is clearly understood and able to be delivered by workers with service users (and carers). We can talk about journeys all day long, but unless you can walk it unaided then we need a vehicle, a route map, a travel guide or companion… a means of travelling that journey. The Strengths Approach sets out a clear statement of values and principles to guide and support good practice; it provides fit-for-purpose tools and the necessary guidance on flexible use of such tools; and it sets out practice-based policy statements that help to tie-in the organisation – team – practitioner levels to an agreement on what we are doing to support people to experience the rhetoric of person-centred services in reality.

Check out my 2014 publication ‘Working with Strengths…’ for the full story, complete with ideas and tools to support the implementation of best practice.

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Podcast Episode 039: Team-working with Kirt Hunte

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Steve Morgan in conversation with Kirt Hunte about what contributes to good team-working. We frequently make a claim to be a team but function more as a group of individuals.

What influence does the team manager or team leader have on the identity and function of the team? Can a talented group of individuals simply come together as a great team? Does the size of the team have any affect on its ability to function as a team?

The creativity and risk-taking required for developing a new initiative is very different from the long term sustainability of an established team or service. Kirt and Steve reflect on football teams and mental health teams through their observations and experiences over many years. Reference is also made to the book entitled ‘Organizing Genius’ by Warren Bennis and Patricia Biederman describing and analysing seven case studies of great teams.

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/039-team-working-kirt-hunte/id867043694?i=328112639&mt=2

 

Podcast Episode 038: Strengths Focused Teams

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Good teamworking, as with so many things, is easily stated and claimed, but not always so easily evidenced. Bringing people together under the name of a specific ‘team’ doesn’t necessarily mean that they function as a true team.

From a strengths perspective, Steve Morgan offers a taxonomy of strengths focused teams… looking at three different levels in relation to the degree of strengths thinking and working that are incorporated into routine teamworking. He further develops the analysis of teamworking through outlining six principles of strengths-based teams… adapted from the original strengths principles focused on how we work with service users or clients.

It is recognised that in any given team there will be individuals who function at different levels in relation to strengths-based principles and practice; however, the extensive Gallup organisation research invites us to improve our overall effectiveness and value by focusing more in a strengths way of working.

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/038-strengths-focused-teams/id867043694?i=327596020&mt=2

“With an enthusiastic team you can achieve almost anything.” [Tahir Shah].

Podcast Episode 037: Making Great Teams

Risk Decision-MakingWhat makes a great team? A great leader? Talented individuals? A clear purpose? All of the above and more. This episode helps to define what we mean by ‘team’, as most of us function within a range of different types of teams… sports, management, service provision or focused task or product, all require good team-working. However, teamwork is often easier to talk about than to deliver.

In this episode Steve Morgan focuses on an influential book on his team development work, written by Warren Bennis and Patricia Biederman ‘Organising Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration’. A combination of great leadership and talented individuals are required, but the great groups studied in this seminal publication help to identify fifteen components of what contribute to the development of ‘great groups’. In connection with previous episodes, it is also important to recognise that interfering bureaucracy is entirely absent from the works of the historic great groups!

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/037-making-great-teams/id867043694?i=327154253&mt=2

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” [H E Luccock].

Podcast Episode 036: Blight of Bureaucracy Part 1

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2As western industrialised societies have drifted into a post-industrial service industries world, one thing proliferates more than the most infectious of diseases… bureaucracy! Now anything to do with paper, or its electronic offspring, reigns supreme. Managing, auditing and regulating have become effective barriers to creativity and innovation.

The new mantra is standardisation, systematisation, uniformity and safety… conformity ensures mediocrity will be the outer limits of permitted imagination. Do the children of today dream and aspire to become a bureaucrat when they grow up? Do they loose sleep over the excitement of their first suit and form to fill? Take with a large degree of caution any bureaucrat promising to reduce the plethora of bureaucracy. It is not in their interests to free up other people to exercise their talents, initiative and decision-making skills.

To access 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/036-blight-bureaucracy-part/id867043694?i=327153565&mt=2

“Bureaucracies force us to practice nonsense. And if you rehearse nonsense, you may one day find yourself the victim of it.” [Laurence Gonzales].

Podcast Episode 014: Steve Onyett Interview Part 2

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2In Part 2 of this extensive interview Steve Onyett explores his work interests and influences. With a focus on the current challenging and exciting times faced by health and social care services he discusses ideas around leadership, the role that solution focused approaches have played in his practice as well as development of others, and the ‘bonkers’ nature of the system that has emerged across the last couple of decades.

In relation to the priorities of the ‘system’ the question arises as to whether there is a place for the Sacred Fools to make a real impact? As for the next steps in his journey he explores the importance to him of becoming involved in the ‘Way of Council’ approach to personal development, and also outlines the true meaning of listening as he explores the idea of ‘listening from the heart’.

Steve embodies an excellent example of how and why we should honour both our ancestors as great influences on our own development, but also our successors through our care for the planet and the legacy we pass on to the next generation.

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/014-steve-onyett-interview/id867043694?i=315887798&mt=2