Tag Archives: practice development

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].

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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].

Targets, what targets?

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

How can we make more effective use of targets as a means of developing best practice? Perhaps a more pertinent question is: ‘Can we make effective use of targets at all?’

Nothing drains passion more effectively than constant demands for information to meet apparent targets, asked without consultation or explanation, and with no meaningful returns in the form of useful feedback. Auditing everything has become an industry – but to satisfy what? The function of co-ordinating care, specifically the Care Programme Approach (CPA), has become a focus for quantitative returns that seemingly have little to do with the quality of the working relationships and everything to do with numbers and signatures. As many service users, carers and practitioners will testify, presence at a meeting and signing a form does not necessarily reflect influence, involvement or even truthful agreement with the documented outcomes. Yet, the bureaucratic process keeps requiring the numbers with no apparent reciprocal benefits for practitioners and teams.

I wouldn’t argue against the need for auditing practice; but it does appear from conversations with many practitioners that there are widely differing perceptions about priorities between the management of services and the deliverers of services. Anecdotal sources suggest that most practitioners feel they only receive feedback from audit sources when things go wrong, and that good practice is not confirmed or highlighted when it happens. If practitioners, service users and carers were asked to define the parameters of what needs to be audited, there would be some disagreements between them but the priorities would probably look a lot different from what currently occurs. Most people in the real world are concerned about relationship-building in order to support people to be more self-reliant through identifying and working with their own strengths. Audit needs to be of practice and for practice, with a focus on sustaining current good practice. But that would only put an awful lot of middle management and auditors out of a job, for their focus is ‘change’ for its own sake; as long as the merry-go-round keeps moving they will have a purpose.

See ‘The Art of Coordinating Care’ publication for a detailed framework on delivering a service user-focused, strengths-based, bureaucracy-busting approach to real practice. It has been developed as a reflection of what good practice looks like, but will challenge all practitioners to step up to the mark to deliver values-based personalised services based on working with people’s strengths. Failure to do this leads to the alternative… the more usual current situation of an over-regulated system driven by the need to satisfy the politicians and public that if anything goes wrong ‘it will never happen again’. What the current system can ensure will never happen again is the enjoyment and creativity fuelled by the passion of people who want to make a positive contribution to service users lives.

Feel free to add your own comment about any issues raised above.

“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?” [Frank Herbert].

Podcast Episode 055: Leaders & Great Groups [1]

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_1In this episode I focus on one of my favourite business books ‘Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration’ by Warren Bennis & Patricia Biederman.

I am interested in their take home lessons final chapter, drawing conclusions about great leadership and great teams from six in-depth case studies. I use three of my own favourite experiences of being a part of teams that have made significant achievements in their own local ways, both as a personal reflection and as an illustration of the 15 messages identified in the book.

Five messages are explored in this and each of the following two episodes of the show. Can great leaders exist without having great people around them, or can great groups exist without a recognised great leader? Can the intense bright light of the great teams be sustained?

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/055-leaders-great-groups-1/id867043694?i=340049505&mt=2

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams.

 

Podcast Episode 042: Suicide Risk (Interview case example)

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2This episode is an interview with Satsanga (Lawrence Borish) reflecting on a case example of Alice, who he worked with whilst on a family counselling placement in his Masters Degree Social Work training in the US back in 1968. The placement was focused on cultural awareness, and the specific referral emerged through neighbourly concern for a woman whose behaviour and appearance was deteriorating. However, on engaging Alice, Satsanga discusses how, as a young inexperienced social worker, he is suddenly presented with an expression of suicidal ideas.

How we respond to these immediate circumstances can have a heavy bearing on the future life of another person. The interview explores issues of engagement of trusting working relationships, working with instinct, exploration of genuine alternatives to suicide, genuine collaboration between a person and a worker… all of which are important components of the process of ‘positive risk-taking’. The discussion raises thoughts about how we are supported, or not, to make difficult decisions; and could a decision-making process from a bygone era remain relevant today?

For the full content of this episode click on 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/042-suicide-risk/id867043694?i=331833222&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 034: Planning your business Part 2

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Putting together a business plan is vitally important but requires some caution. We are reminded that the realities of life happen to us while we are busy making other plans.

For all the well thought out plans we still need to respond to events and circumstances. This episode explores five reasons why we should be cautious about the amount of time invested in planning, as well as the danger of becoming rigidly attached to our plans. Steve Morgan uses his own experiences through the Practice Based Evidence Consultancy in response to each of the points of caution.

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/034-planning-your-business/id867043694?i=326162015&mt=2

“There is nothing more frightful than ignorance in action.” [Goethe].