Friday 31 December 2021

Day 18: Highs and Lows

New Year’s Eve and I can’t avoid reflecting on a 2021 full of highs and lows; including, my Dad’s death, getting engaged, starting a new job, finalising my divorce (through the Appeals Court!), playing some rugby (in spite of the injuries!).

Through the rollercoaster that has been the last year, I’ve had steady support from friends and family, whom I love and couldn’t do without.  In particular, the three women in my life; my Mum, my fiancĂ©e and my daughter have all been so key to the things I have achieved and how I have dealt with the low points.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Day 16: It Takes A Village To Raise A Child

Recent experience of a missing child (not my own) showed me how quickly, and unquestioningly, communities will altruistically support each other.

Can you replicate this community feel in organisations or teams?  We don’t want our teams constantly in crisis; We’ve learnt through Covid that people will go above and beyond, but crises are exhausting and while some thrive on them, others don’t.

Know each other on a more personal level to feel belonging to the community of your team.  I loved our recent MS Teams Board Christmas ‘Gathering’; even just an hour of sharing our festive traditions was really engaging.

Friday 24 December 2021

Day 15: Be an umbrella, be a great Manager.

I write a lot about leadership because of its importance to being successful.  There’s a difference between a manager and a leader (it’s possible to be both).  Good leadership is vital, but organisations still need great managers to achieve their goals.

Good managers are curious, build trust, actively listen, empathise, explain why, role-model, promote change, engender psychological safety, understand their teams needs and offer protection from above.

Don’t be a push-over, this isn’t about always saying ‘yes’; you should be able to say ‘no’.  Be clear about ‘why’ not just ‘what’ the decision is and be open to being wrong.

Thursday 23 December 2021

Days 14: Leaders start with “we”…

Feedback from a previous unsuccessful job interview was that I said “we” too much, not taking credit for things ‘I’ achieved.  I was bruised by the negative feedback and disappointed not to get the job.

With the benefit of hindsight I am glad I wasn’t appointed, as I would have worked in a leadership group that didn’t value the power of the team.  I’d have been working with people who took glory for things they were accountable for, but hadn’t done themselves.

I love that in my new role ‘we’ is valued highly and collective successes of teams are recognised.

Wednesday 22 December 2021

Day 13: Workforce, workforce, workforce

One of the biggest risks to quality in a health or social care setting/service is the people working to deliver that service.  You can’t support people to achieve their outcomes and have an outstanding experience If you don’t have…

  • enough staff;
  • people in the right roles;
  • people with capacity and capability to learn and change;
  • engagement, motivation, and personal/professional development; and
  • the right culture.

To get this right is difficult to do perfectly in any service industry.  We provide services to the people we support in a challenging environment, competing for workforce and with some professions low in numbers nationally. 

Tuesday 21 December 2021

Day 12: People Experience

I’m enjoying this new role; I love the passion and enthusiasm my colleagues have for Turning Point and the people we support.  They have such a thirst for improvement and to do even better.


Leading organisations for customer service are also fantastic places to work for; this is no coincidence!  Apple, Dyson, John Lewis, First Direct et al have an intense focus on employee experience as well as their customers’.


If you give those who work for you a great experience, they will do the same for the people you serve.  Embrace the concept of Perpetual Experience by Carl Lyon.

Monday 20 December 2021

Day 11: Unwarranted Variation

Variation can be warranted or unwarranted.  One goal of quality improvement is reducing unwarranted variation.


To reduce unwarranted variation, it is important to identify what in one place/team/service leads to different outcomes.


For example, the culture of a team may affect how they handle complaints, which will impact how the complainant is treated and may lose opportunities to learn.


With a fixed process, like complaints management, eliminating process variation can still be challenging, but easier than when processes are less rigid.  With more fluid processes, the right culture and leadership are critical to ensuring that service users have good outcomes.

Friday 17 December 2021

Day 10: Kitten, Tiger Or Pearl?

When you’re dealing with something difficult or out of your normal ‘comfort zone’, give yourself permission to feel nervous and not have all the answers.  Do prepare, listen, and reflect back what you think you hear to ensure all have a common understanding.  Are you describing a kitten or a tiger? both have fur, whiskers and are cats, but are very different!

It’s possible to be uncomfortable and still be effective.  Sometimes you must make things a bit uncomfortable to progress and resolve difficult issues.  Remember, it’s an irritating grain of sand that leads an oyster to make a pearl!

Thursday 16 December 2021

Day 9: “Be a trampoline, not a sponge!”

As I continue my induction period I spend a lot of time listening, as I learn about the organisation and people I have joined.  Sometimes I feel like a sponge just soaking up all the information.

This Linked In Post by Kenny Gibson resonated most with me; particularly the bit about being a trampoline not a sponge.  For me, this means not just listening as a passive process where you solely ‘receive’, but reflect back what you have heard, describe through your lens and if possible enhance what you’ve heard to add value to what has been shared with you.

Wednesday 15 December 2021

Day 8: Don’t avoid opening the can of worms if you want to catch the big fish!

To make meaningful change and to improve, there are normally tough conversations that need to be had.  How often do you avoid having a difficult conversation because you don’t want to ‘open a can of worms’.  These are often known (and accepted) things that don’t work in organisations.


Be compassionate in how you approach this; prepare for the conversation and drop your own assumptions about the situation.  Be willing to listen and open to have your opinions changed by what you hear.  The Centre for Creative Leadership has some helpful advice in 5 steps on how to do this effectively.

Tuesday 14 December 2021

Day 7: Making Meaningful Connections


To improve we must know where we are now and where we want to be.  To determine both, meaningfully connecting with the people we support and the people providing that support is critical.  After all, who else knows better what good (and bad) looks like!?


We are committed to learning from their experience and co-producing improvement with people.  This includes listening, understanding, connecting, and partnering with service users and those with the most knowledge of the experience of our service users. In fact, 59% of my Turning Point colleagues have lived experience of the issues facing the people we support.

Monday 13 December 2021

Day 6: Those who have least, are most grateful for the simple things.

There’s not much these groups have in common: wealthy celebrities, paid thousands to be hungry for three weeks; and children from a Kenyan orphanage.  Both groups took great delight in simple things when they had nothing.  In 2017 I was privileged to take aid to these kids.  They showed the same delight in simple things that celebrities have shown over the past three weeks for marshmallows and popcorn.

When you’re deprived of almost everything, you appreciate what you get.  We support the most vulnerable through Turning Point and recognise they deserve to be given more and to achieve their potential.


Friday 10 December 2021

Day 5: The End of Week 1

In the blink of an eye, my first week at Turning Point is coming to an end!  It has gone by in a flash; and I can’t say enough how welcome I’ve been made to feel by everyone I’ve met, spoken to and had any form of communication with.

I can really see the passion in the eyes of those I work with for the organisation we’re all part of and the people we support.  There is a genuine belief from all that we can continually do better with the services we provide, from front-line staff to fellow Board members.

Thursday 9 December 2021

Day 4: Clear Communication

I am learning that Turning Point is a unique organisation, but not alone in using jargon, acronyms and abbreviations in documents and meetings.  I wrote eight years ago about the ‘Upgoer Five’; and made a commitment to be more clear in my communications, reducing the use of jargon.


I made a pledge to call out poor use of language, abbreviation or anything that wouldn’t be clear to the intended audience.  I think I’ve been pretty good at doing this since then, and my Board colleagues at TP are as determined as I am to reduce the use of jargon too.

Wednesday 8 December 2021

Day 3: Change for Improvement

Today was my first day working from home in the new role; through the various induction conversations I had ran a single theme: change for improvement.  Turning Point aspires to be a learning organisation, open to change for the benefit of the people we serve.  Change comes more easily to some than to others.  We need to create the right conditions for change to be effective, which means engaging with people as early as possible in the process.  Take the positive meaningful things that work well and build on them to develop new ways of working that progress our goals.

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Day 2: From Harm To Hope

Yesterday the Government published a 10-year drugs plan to cut crime and save lives.  Turning Point has a significant number of Substance Misuse Services. Our drug and alcohol services include residential detox and rehab and community based treatment services. Last year we supported over 130,000 people across England


Whilst a lot of the media coverage focussed on the crime elements of the strategy; the plans for prevention strategies and investment in treatment sector is welcomed.  This will make a huge difference to many if done right.


Turning Pont’s Chief Executive’s Statement in response to the publication of the Government’s plans.

Monday 6 December 2021

Day 1: Inspired By Possibility

Great experience starting with Turning Point today: IT equipment delivered at home, set-up before I started with email address and accounts activated from day 1.


AM: time with Julie Bass, Chief Executive and Philip Newton, Corporate Director; getting to know them and the organisation.


PM: Operating Board Reflection Session talking through the concept of becoming a Learning Organisation; and Psychological Safety of our staff, i.e. how we support people to be open, talk about areas for improvement, whilst retaining accountability and delivering for people and communities.


Brilliant to meet people face-to-face and have values-based conversations about our future.


Manchester tomorrow…