Tag Archives: Values

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

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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 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 054: Focus on Leadership

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2Is good leadership the antidote to a poor management culture? It is too simplistic a premise, as what is really needed for supporting the implementation of best practice is good leadership coupled with good management.

The two do not produce good results if working in opposition! It is one thing to have a good vision of where a business or service should be aiming to go, but the what & why questions of leadership need to be complemented by the how & when questions of management. In this episode a number of quotes from recognised management and leadership gurus are explored; and seven characteristics of good leadership are identified.

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/054-focus-on-leadership/id867043694?i=340049504&mt=2

“Hell, there are no rules here ~ we’re trying to accomplish something.” [Thomas A Edison].

Podcast Episode 051: World Class institutions

TheStrengthsRevolution_albumart_2-2In this episode a couple of recent newspaper articles reflect on the malaise of the management culture in two UK world class institutions… the NHS and BBC.

Damning reports into the culture of management in the NHS are being withheld until after the imminent general election, where the description of the sturcture is described as ‘totally shocking’ and ‘not fit for purpose’. Could this be the very structure that was re-structured against previous manifesto promises by the Tory led government initiative?

Meanwhile, over at the BBC it would appear that investigative journalists who blow the whistle on previous BBC celebs for child abuse scandals, are themselves demoted and sidelined, while the bullies are promoted! Great institutions are created from lofty principles and values, but it would appear that by a process of evolution the management function gradually grows into a misguided sense of its own self-importance.

Bureaucracy becomes top heavy, unmanageable, and filled with overpaid people who have little understanding or connection with the true heart of the enterprise. There is no simple solution to a malignacy decades in the incubation; but we must continue to respect our world class institutions for their founding principles and uphold their core values as theur main purpose.

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/051-world-class-institutions/id867043694?i=338033889&mt=2

“Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.” [Honore de Balzac].

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].