Thursday, 19 May 2022

Day 100: My Leadership Story

It is apt that on Day 100 of my 100-day Blog I am away from work on a leadership course.  I am at Windsor Castle with Windsor Leadership on their Experienced Strategic Leaders Programme.  This is only possible because of funding through my scholarship from the Florence Nightingale Foundation and Turning Point honouring the time away from work for this.

Almost six months into my new role so this is perfect timing to take time out to reflect, think about what I have learnt, the successes of the past half a year, and what my plans and objectives are for the future.

My personal mission has always been to make other people’s lives better.  Professionally I work towards improving people’s outcomes and experience at a population level.  I have been challenged so far in the leadership course to make this much more personal to the people I want to make a difference for.

A theme that has come out has been the need for leaders to connect themselves and people around them with the “why”, but also that the “who” is important.  For me this means showing my passion for the people I want to make things better for.

We have explored the seminal events and points in our lives that have shaped the leadership behaviours we exhibit today, including childhood experiences, which directly affect our current personality types and preferences.  This is extremely helpful in being more self aware of the context in which we behave and how we operate as leaders.  It also allows some insight into how and why others behave and their leadership styles.

We each had to bring a real-life strategic leadership challenge to work through with other senior leaders in a safe space.  The approach used was extremely powerful and allows exposure of vulnerability whilst maintaining psychological safety.  A ‘coaching’ style feedback approach is used to tease out and probe beneath the real issue beneath the presenting challenge.  This is not role-play so none of the embarrassment of trying to ‘act’ or ‘perform’ as with other leadership training I have been on.

This has been extremely useful so far and we’ve only had the first 24 hours of the initial 2 ½ days.  There is a follow-up day in November, six months time, to check-in as to how our leadership journey is progressing and whether we are being successful in meeting our challenges.


(PS I know I’ve gone over the 100-word limit, but this is day 100 and this has been an exceptional day!)





Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Day 99: From Harm To Hope

Spent time as a team with Dame Carol Black in our London DAWS service.  As the main influencer of Government on the 10 Year Drug Strategy we are privileged that she came to share her wisdom and hear what our on the ground challenges are 

I learnt loads about the decisions in the strategy and how hard she fought for Treasury funding awarded for the first 3 years.  Now we just have to make a difference in these early days now so that we can secure the funding for further delivery for the people we support and their wider community.




Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Day 98: Information Assurance

What for may is a very dull subject is quite interesting to me.  I love all things governance and Information Governance sits well within my wheelhouse.

Today was my first Information Assurance Group meeting; I learnt a huge amount about what we do, how we do it and what we need to work on in terms of our structures, processes, culture, and approach to Information Assurance.

What shocked me was the scale of the Information Security Threat that all similar organisations are bombarded with on a daily basis and the level of sophistication and co-ordination of this by nation states!

Monday, 16 May 2022

Day 97: Caring for our People

We have a Staff Conference in June. Today we discussed key strategic messages we want for this.  We talked about wider societal change and impact on our workforce. 

Current inflation and impending recession will have a massive impact on the people who work for us.  Impact will vary across the country and will affect different groups in diverse ways.

Our People Team also updated us on the many benefits beyond salary that we offer our workforce and how well they have been received.  Turning Point is an attractive employer; working here is even better than I could ever have imagined!

Friday, 13 May 2022

Day 96: Don't Use Your Batteries While Recharging Them

I feel more stressed ‘out of the loop’ than when I ‘check-in’ periodically during downtime.  However, I think about the impact this has on those closest to me at work and at home; and the example this sets.

If I work when at home, I am not giving my family my full attention.  If I check in during downtime, does this have a negative impact on colleagues who may feel I don’t trust them to ‘cope’ without me?

We hate to think we could be easily replaced, but resting, focussing on family, and trusting colleagues is important to effective leadership.





Thursday, 12 May 2022

Day 95: International Nurses’ Day 2022

Today’s the 202nd anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth and International Nurses’ Day.  I’m proud to be a nurse and always will be.  I highly recommend the nursing profession to anyone at any stage of their working life.

Skills and knowledge I’ve learnt over the years of being a nurse have been applicable in both the many work roles and in my personal life.  I have learnt resilience, leadership, compassion, empathy, technical skills, how to adapt to a wide range of people and situations, valuing diversity, supporting others, professionalism, and autonomy.

There aren’t many professions that will teach you all this!

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

Day 94: MS Teams is no substitute for the real thing!

I attended the first of one of my teams today in Manchester.  It was fantastic to be face-to-face with them all for the first time almost six months into the role.  Whilst Teams has been really good at getting and staying connected with people, being face-to-face and witnessing team dynamics directly was brilliant.

Teams has allowed me to ‘meet’ with more people in less time than I would have if I had been travelling face-to-face.  I am still really looking forward to meeting many more of my colleagues face to face over the coming months and visiting services in person.

 

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

Day 93: You don’t have to be alone to be lonely!

It’s Mental Health Awareness Week, focussing this year on loneliness.  We are all different and experience life differently.  Loneliness is something that affects us all in different ways too.  How loneliness impacts us and how we cope, or don’t, also varies greatly form one person to another.

One in four adults feels lonely some or all of the time.  You may be in a close personal relationship, or live in a busy household, but you can still feel lonely.  There are many things you can do to combat loneliness but there is no one solution that will work for everyone.

Monday, 9 May 2022

Day 92: Distributed Leadership and Earned Autonomy

We had a great strategic discussion today about how we empower decision-making at the right levels so at Board level we can avoid micromanaging people.  This comes by having good relationships throughout the workforce to ensure trust and psychological safety.

People won’t make all the right decisions all the time, but that’s OK.  We trust our people, who have the right values, to make decisions for the right reasons and this will result in more successful outcomes than failures.

The failures are good for us all too, just as long as we set the right conditions to learn from them.

Friday, 6 May 2022

Day 91: Get Tested Get Treated Get Cured!

Catching blood-borne viruses like Hepatitis C is a risk of problem drug use, especially when sharing needles.  Hepatitis C predominantly infects liver cells. This can cause inflammation and significant damage to the liver and prevent it working properly.

Although always regarded as a liver disease, recent research has shown that virus affects a few other areas of the body, including the digestive system, the lymphatic system, the immune system and the brain.

We focus heavily in our substance use services on prevention and treating people who have or at risk of Hep C, to improve their overall health and outcomes.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Day 90: Slow and Steady or Fast and Furious?

We are all different and want to change at different paces, if at all!  To improve processes and outcomes, they must change, but which pace is best?

I firmly believe this depends on the nature of the change and of the people required to make the change happen.

Engage with the people directly affected by the change AND those directly involved in implementing the change.  Seek their views, see what they think will work best, get them deeply engaged in the nature of the change and the speed of implementation.  You’ll be much more successful with them than without them.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

Day 89: User-led Change

I heard from one of our service managers today about service users meeting to discuss complaint themes and present these back to the service.  This is a fantastic innovation with the people we support empowered to identify areas for improvement and to facilitate change.

This approach requires a leap of faith and trust from the service’s management team.  There needs to be a belief that there will be more benefit than cost and service users need support to be effective.

This won’t work everywhere but is a good addition to a toolkit of approaches for improvement and can be replicated.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Day 88: Rock The Boat!

Are you disruptive, do you go against the grain, or question authority?  Organisations need you!  We need people who challenge the established, those who ask “why?”, and who don’t automatically follow.

Innovation and improvement can arise from constructive challenge.  If you have a colleague who is seen as ‘disruptive’; ask yourself if they really are, or are they just not so quick to fall into Group Think?

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got (Henry Ford). We need people who think differently so we can change and behave differently to improve outcomes.




Friday, 29 April 2022

Day 87: Recognising Achievements

Today I’ve been thinking about how we reward and recognise people.  Partly, as I am hosting our local rugby club’s annual end of season awards for the Minis and Juniors this weekend! 

But mainly because we are approaching our annual Inspired By Possibility Awards.  This is an annual event where we take time to reward and recognise those colleagues and people we support for outstanding achievements over the past year.

I look forward to our event next month where to celebrate all that is good about the people who work with and for Turning Point to make people’ lives better.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Day 86: On Your Feet Britain!

It’s On Your Feet Britain Day!  My daily routine involves sitting at a desk or sitting in meetings.  Since Covid I have spent even less time moving as meetings have gone online.

Being active is essential for both physical and mental health – it also enables me to eat what I want!

I use my smartwatch to remind me to hourly to stand and take a screen break.  I don’t manage this every hour of the day, but when I do it helps me to pause, reset and gets the blood flowing in my lower body. Sometimes I even get outside!

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Day 85: Exploitation of Powers

Today we discussed an external body who are, at best, being over-zealous with their position of authority demanding we do something we may not want to do, nor are required to.

I’m being deliberately vague about the details.  This showed me how compassionate we are to our staff who are directly affected.  The conversation centred of how we protect staff to ensure that they are supported.

We have diverted the external party a single point of contact to a more senior role to completely shield more junior staff from the impact of this, which is the right thing to do.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Day 84: Ongoing Performance Review

It’s the time of year when we do our annual ongoing performance reviews with colleagues.  This takes the form of looking back at the previous 12 months and how things have gone compared to the objectives set a year ago.

This is a positive process intended to be an opportunity to celebrate successes as well as understand and learn from the things that didn’t go to plan.  People at Turning Point have achieved a huge amount in the past 12 months, including continuing to deal with the Covid pandemic and providing services to an increasing number of people across England.

Monday, 25 April 2022

Day 83: Collective Responsibility

 An issue we discussed today raised the topic of ‘collective responsibility’.  It’s a challenging risk we face that is not resolvable by one person, team, or service.

To manage this effectively will take a broader effort by teams from across the organisation, working together to the same aim.  This will require all involved to collectively acknowledge not only the individual role they have to play, but the part of the whole they represent. 

This is not easy for all and no-one should be criticised for having difficulty with this concept.  We will work collaboratively supporting each other along the way.

Thursday, 14 April 2022

Day 82: How are things for you?

Today at Operating Board we heard from one of our service users in supported accommodation.  He joined via video link with his support worker, and we heard about his life and what he got up to daily. 

He expressed happiness with his lot but lamented the passing of his parents, speaking fondly of the time he spent living with them.  As an Operating Board we explored with him what we could do to make his life more enjoyable to support his independence.

It’s a privilege to hear directly from the people we support to root us back in our purpose.

Wednesday, 13 April 2022

Day 81: Celebrating Diversity In Life and Football!

It’s International Day of Pink, raising awareness of all forms of discrimination.  I stand with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community and all other marginalised groups in seeking to eliminate prejudice and bias. 

The people surrounding are as wonderful as they are because of their diversity of personality, thought, values, opinion, and attitude.  This is often driven by their culture, background, upbringing, and life experiences. 

Diversity comes in many forms as does discrimination.  But so does awareness and empathy.  Here’s a great example of a Bundesliga Referee allowing a short break at 65-minutes into a match for a Muslim player to break fast.




Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Day 80: People

Reaching more people, improve outcomes and reduce inequalities takes exceptional people working together.  I had a great conversation today with colleagues from our People Team about how we progress a People Strategy.  This includes focussing on recruitment, retention, leadership, and personal, professional, and organisational development.

For me, the most important element of this is leadership, at all levels.  The NHS ran a Leadership At The Point Of Care programme a few years ago.  I liked the concept behind this, which embedded leadership skills in front-line staff, recognising their leadership role with the people we support and within their own teams.

Monday, 11 April 2022

Day 79: Negotiation Skills

 Any good leader will have well-practised negotiation skills.  It is vital in any negotiation to understand the situation from the other party’s perspective.  You need to be able to appreciate what is driving them, what they want and what they may be willing to concede.

To succeed in negotiating, put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  How would they feel about an offer or request you have just made?  How are they likely to respond to this and is what you are asking for reasonable?

Also recognise when what you are expecting is unreasonable and not aligned to their values.

Friday, 8 April 2022

Day 78: Specialists Are Leaders Too!

 Are you in a role where you are a specialist and/or expert? Then you are in a leadership position.  This applies equally to nurses, social workers, doctors, pharmacists, people working in finance, HR, and other specialisms within health and social care.

When you are a person that others look to for advice, expertise, and support, they also look to you for leadership.  Nationally, as a health and social care system we under-invest in leadership development of people in specialist roles.  This results in poor leadership, which leads to bad culture, poorer outcomes and experiences for those who use our services.

Thursday, 7 April 2022

Day 77: Thinking Clearly

How do you ensure you are able to think clearly?  How do you make space and time for thought?

Writing this blog certainly helps give me some space and time for reflection and thought, but I also spend time outside every day, whatever the weather, just to think.

I meditate to help to clear my mind; I do this twice every day for just five minutes.  This really helps me in preparing for and closing down each day.  I use a simple breathing technique, supported by an app on my watch, slowly breathing just twice a minute for five minutes.

Wednesday, 6 April 2022

Day 76: Where Are You Starting From?

To “walk a mile in someone else's shoes before judging them” means you must understand their experiences, challenges, thought processes, etc.

It is all too easy to judge others for where they are right now and it is human nature to compare ones-self with others.  However, it is vital that we consider where people have started from in their journey, whatever this may be.

This could be about how someone appears and the actions they take, or don’t take.  Don’t be quick to judge others for where they are now; try to engage and understand where they have come from.

Tuesday, 5 April 2022

Day 75: Working With Stakeholders

How do you work with stakeholders?  Do you consider which to invest time and energy into?

Good conversation today about our Stakeholder Strategy and the key relationships we have with outside bodies.

This will help us to properly identify how we direct scarce resources to support the most important relationships in terms of power, influence, and interest.  We can also ensure the connections we make/have with these individuals/organisations result in meaningful engagement for both us and them. 

We need to make those with the highest interest in what we do feel valued and those with the greatest power/influence feel heard.

Monday, 4 April 2022

Day 74: Sharing Learning

It is said that “knowledge is power!”, yet it is so much more powerful when shared rather than kept hold of.  Had a good discussion today about research and learning on mental health, employment, wellbeing and how we can better support people.

Listening to an expert on what has been learnt about the connection between mental wellbeing and employment was brilliant.  We can blend our mental wellbeing and employment support services to deliver amazing outcomes for people; however, the funding for the two elements comes from different places.  We will have to work with commissioners to be innovative in this.




Friday, 1 April 2022

Day 73: Setting Goals

The first day of a new month, and time for reflecting on the previous four month’s in this role.  It has been a great experience; I’m working with amazing people and know there are many more inspirational colleagues whom I’ve yet to meet.

Looking forward into the coming months there’s work to be done on developing our Quality Ambition.  Leading this with colleagues and the people we support it will support of our five-year strategy; and focus on improvement with regulatory compliance as the foundation we build on.

Next week I agree my personal objectives and will blog about these.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Day 72: Managing Emotions

Difficult day emotionally yesterday and I chose not to write about it until today having reflected.  Several things collectively got on top of me.  I managed my emotions whilst talking with others and explained to my partner that she’d not done anything wrong, I was just in a strange mood.

It’s important to talk about emotions, but what about ‘managing’ them?  As a man I feel huge pressure to supress my emotions, but how much of that is self-imposed and internal rather than external? What would happen if I cried at work? If it happens, I’ll let you all know!

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Day 71: Compassionate Discomfort

Sometimes difficult decisions need to be made.  They can make us feel uncomfortable.  When we make others feel uncomfortable, it is likely they will remember what the challenge was and behave differently in future.

If we are compassionate in how we make decisions, and empathetic in situations when we know others will be uncomfortable, we can live with this discomfort and still be effective in what we are doing.

Don’t leave inappropriate behaviour unchallenged, just because it’s uncomfortable for you and/or others.  This will be remembered; do it with compassion and empathy and this will be for the right reasons!

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

Day 70: Service Visits

Having started working at Turning Point during a global pandemic has led to minor limitations to my induction experience.  Wherever possible ways around this have been found for me.  I have written before about some of the ‘virtual’ service visits that I have been part of, which were helpful.

I am getting excited at the prospect of being able to physically visit some of our services, to talk with staff and the people we support.  I want to be able to use all my senses to understand the challenges that our services face and the achievements they are proud of.

Friday, 25 March 2022

Day 69: Trauma Informed Care

I was listening to the CQC Podcast today on the Out of Sight Progress Report.  It was a great listen; particularly having a parent of, and an autistic person around whose experiences it centred.

It was difficult listening to their experiences, especially those of illegal segregation and isolation.  What really landed with me was the autistic person, Amanda, herself requesting that all care be ‘Trauma-informed’.

Amanda said that even if people haven’t suffered historic or recent abuse, it is traumatic having Autism in a world that is designed by and for people without autism.  More training needed in this area.

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Day 68: Pace of Change

How fast you make changes/improvements should be determined by the urgency with which change is needed.  It’s important those directly involved in and affected by change are involved in agreeing the change timetable.

It’s also important any change has the right measures so that it can quickly be determined whether it is working.  If it is not, fail fast and move on to the next thing.  I like the use of a PDSAR cycle for this:

  - Plan,

  - Do,

  - Study,

  - Act,

  - Rest.

 

This last stage is valuable as change fatigue can be debilitating to improvement activities.



Wednesday, 23 March 2022

Day 67: What Matters To You?

All too often targets and measures of outcomes are set centrally without any engagement, consultation nor anything resembling co-production with the people that the outcomes affect.

It is critical e ask, “what matters to you?” before we make any assumptions about what we think, as professionals, is important.

It’s also important to treat patient stories and qualitative information as ‘data’.  This should not be dismissed as unscientific but should be given the value it deserves and used to drive improvement.

Central support for consistency of measurement, but locally derived standards that are meaningful to the people they affect is essential.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

Day 66: Performance Vs Outcomes

Organisations use many metrics to judge how well they are operating.  I get frustrated when performance, quality and outcome measures are seen as different things.  As far as I am concerned, if something you’re measuring is not for the purpose of improving outcomes, why are you measuring it?

Efficiency and productivity measures are important, as they can help with improvement leading to release of resources and/or reduction of costs to achieve outcomes.  Outcome measures are the ultimate demonstration of quality.  However, these outcomes need to be set with the person they are the outcomes for and must matter to them!

Monday, 21 March 2022

Day 65: Predicting The Need For Support

Today I spent time working on a project;

Improving how we provide support is the object.

We aim to use information, intelligence, and data,

To predict when a service will need help sooner or later.

 

It’s important we provide help when it is needed;

If we’re too late, people’s health and wellbeing may be impeded.

To foresee services before they struggle is not an easy ask,

Our teams will develop tools up to the task.

 

This will be a new approach we will do with the help of AI;

Success will depend on human intelligence of the team and I.

 

(Today’s post is written in recognition of World Poetry Day!)

Friday, 18 March 2022

Day 64: Basic Human Needs for Engagement

We all need connection, there’s a lot of evidence that loneliness has a significant negative impact on life expectancy and has been cited to be as bad as smoking for your long-term health!

Our human need for engagement includes building relationships so that we have trust.  This causes us to feel a belonging with others, to have hope and to be able to share that hope with those we trust and who trust us.

This also leads to a sense of worth and enables us to feel competent, which in turn leads to us feeling valued and needed by others.

Thursday, 17 March 2022

Day 63: Risk of Burnout

The risk of burnout is not due just to stress.  It is the accumulation of stress without adequate capacity and capability to deal with it.  Stress is not a bad thing, but if this builds up without an outlet then it can be bad for you.

I am very lucky that I enjoy physical activity and being outdoors, both of which bring great stress relief to me.  One of the challenges of isolating due to Covid is that along with being unwell I have not been able to get outside and exercise as much as I would have liked to.



Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Day 62: Managing Complexity

We provide care for people with needs that are extremely complex to meet.  It is important that we don’t describe these individuals as complex just because we, as a provider, may have some challenges in how we meet their needs.

This includes people with multiple diagnoses of mental illness, learning disability and/or difficulties arising from substance use.  The complexity of meeting needs is, in part, driven by how the health and social care system is set-up, with some finding coming from the NHS and some from Local Authorities.  This arises from the distinction between a ‘health’ and a ‘care’ need

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Day 61: If they don’t know, how do we tell them?

This article by The Health Foundation makes for a fascinating read about the differences between public perception and belief about health inequalities versus reality. 

What I found particularly interesting, but unsurprising, is how much the public’s view of what affects their health and the power they have personally to change it differs so much from what the evidence says influences this.

To be effective in informing the public, we need to make our narrative personal and relatable to them.  We need to accommodate the range of educational, cultural, and generational differences that exist.  Much more work needs to be done.

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Day 60: Testing Times

I tested positive for Covid on my Tuesday pre-work LFD Test.  I feel a terrible guilt for being ill; is this the nurse in me, middle-child syndrome, knowing there are many much worse off, or parental ‘inner voice’ telling me to just get on with it?!

I assure you I cannot just get on with it and if I tried; I would be doing a disservice to my employer and colleagues.  I also know the macrophages fighting the infection in my body send out cytokines. These cytokines can affect the parts of your brain that deal with emotions and reasoning.

Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Day 59: National No Smoking Day

It’s not easy quitting smoking!  It can take between eight and 30 attempts before the average smoker gives up.  We have a responsibility working in health and social care to take every opportunity to support people who smoke to quit. 

I am the Executive Sponsor of ‘Smokefree at TP’, our internal campaign to help the people we support and those who work for us to lead healthier lives through reducing and/or stopping smoking.  This is a co-ordinated set of actions aimed at providing the tools to our people to help others.

What can you do to help us be Smokefree?

Tuesday, 8 March 2022

Day 58: International Women’s Day #BreakTheBias

#BreakTheBias isn’t anti-men, it’s pro-women, just like #BlackLivesMatter isn’t anti-white.  With male privilege comes the responsibility to actively advocate for women.

I count myself extremely lucky to have had so many wonderful women make such an impact on my life.  These include my inspirational mother, sister, and fiancĂ©e.  

Professionally in my entire career I have only had a male line manager two years (both of whom were also good influences if you’re reading this Matt and Colin!).  I have learnt hugely from the compassion, calmness, direction, and way in which my female role models have shaped me as a person


Monday, 7 March 2022

Day 57: Responding to Feedback

Whether the feedback is about you personally, or a service you’re responsible for, it can prompt an emotional response.  Health and social care organisations have well established complaints and feedback processes to try to be objective about what may have gone wrong and what needs to be done to resolve it.

However, in doing so, it is important to remember that although organisations can minimise the emotion in an investigation and response, this remains for the complainant.  It’s important to acknowledge the feelings of the person who has taken time to provide feedback and understand this in how your respond.

Friday, 4 March 2022

Day 56: Improving Access to Psychological Therapies

We provide Talking Therapies Services called IAPT in two parts of England.  One service is a fully integrated ‘wellbeing’ service, catering for mental and physical health and wellbeing.

I learnt more today about how we provide these services, seek to improve them and the impact that pandemic has had.  This has caused people to have a greater need for support, to engage with services at a later stage and has increased the difficulty in recruiting staff.

I am still in awe every day of the wonderful jobs my colleagues are doing to serve the people we support, despite these challenges!

Thursday, 3 March 2022

Day 55: Standardisation

To ensure consistent approaches to the safety of the people we support, services need to apply consistent policy and procedures in a standardised way.  This is a challenge with such a geographically spread organisation and personalising to meet local needs.

Evidence-based repeatable processes that are used consistently in a common way can still allow the provision of personalised services and care.  This allows for the use of checklists, audit, and other quality tools to be able to monitor concordance with processes and identify areas for improvement.  Standardisation of process is not the enemy of personalisation; it can be its friend.

Wednesday, 2 March 2022

Day 54: Grow Your Own

In discussion today about how we meet the challenges of recruiting to some of our harder to fill posts.  These include clinical roles that support the front-line delivery of our services.  With an organisation outside of the NHS it is difficult to access funding to support the training, development and backfill costs of trainees.

If we seek to ‘grow our own’ talent, then we must make a compelling offer to them as both a learner and what the employment prospective is post-qualification.  This applies to nursing, psychology, medical specialties, and other roles too.  This will help with recruitment and retention.

Tuesday, 1 March 2022

Day 53: Ambition

I have an ambition for Turning Point regarding Quality Improvement.  Developing a new approach to Quality Improvement is a Mountain that takes years to climb, not a hill ascended in a day.  We are in the mere foothills now, but everyone have spoken within the organisation is supportive of the journey we need to take.

Our strategic direction is to continuously improve what we do leading to better outcomes and experiences for the people we support whilst reducing health inequalities and improving wellbeing.  This is not easy; if it were everyone would be doing it and we wouldn’t be needed!

Monday, 28 February 2022

Day 52: Back In The Swing Of Things

Back to work after a wonderful week in Thailand.  Brilliant to spend the day catching up with colleagues and Chairing our monthly quality and risk meeting.  Great conversations about how we can improve aspects of how we do things and innovate to make quality better.

One conversation was about the role of research within the organisation and how we can best use this for improvement.  Added value of demonstrating our capabilities is helpful, but our primary aim for research is to improve outcomes and experiences for the people we support and people who work with us to make this happen.

Thursday, 17 February 2022

Day 51: Give The Gift Of Time

It’s Random Acts Of Kindness Day, but that doesn’t mean your acts of kindness have to be too random!  Plan to be kind in advance, as well as taking spontaneous opportunities as they arise.

One of the most valuable acts of kindness you can offer is your time.  It is only yours to give, no-one else can offer this.  It can not be reciprocated or retrieved.  Once given, it will be kept by the recipient for ever.

Plan to give your time to others.  Be altruistic, expecting nothing in return and don’t shout about ta you’ve done for the glory.



Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Day 50: Half Time

I can’t offer a Superbowl-like Half-Time Show, but can reflect on my first 50 days in this role…

In under 3 months I feel I am making a genuine contribution to this organisation and what it aspires to achieve.  I feel real affinity for how we do things and how we want to improve.

Of course there are many things that aren’t how I would like them to be and many relationships that still need a huge amount of investment and trust to build on them.  I feel I’ve made a good start and am getting some excellent constructive feedback.

Tuesday, 15 February 2022

Day 49: Talent Management

Interesting discussion today about talent management and where we want to be on the exclusive/inclusive spectrum.  It may seem obvious we should be inclusive, but the problem is when everyone is special, then no-one is.  However, one of Turning Point’s values is “We believe that everyone has the potential to grow, learn and make choices”.

We want to support all our people to achieve their potential.  We also want to identify current and future talent and support the nurturing of this for the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.  These are not mutually exclusive; we can do both.


Monday, 14 February 2022

Day 48: More Hours In The Day, Or More Days In The Week?

If you could, would you choose more hours each day or more days each week?  With more hours in the day, would you spend them working? How much do your answers reflect the pressure you feel to do your job or the enjoyment/fulfilment you get from it?

This may help you think about whether you currently have the right work-life balance and/or how much you enjoy your life outside of work.  I know I am lucky, but I love my life at home and at work and feel that at the moment I have the right balance between the two.




Friday, 11 February 2022

Day 47: Integration

The Government published its White Paper on Integration this week.  This intends to ensure that local needs are met in collaboration and decisions are made collectively by partners as close citizens’ needs as possible.  This requires significant co-operation and equal partnerships for those involved.

I sincerely hope that providers in social care are recognised as equally as our healthcare colleagues within and outside the NHS.  The White Paper refers to ALL partners being involved and achieving digital maturity, but omits to describe in any sensible detail how the workforce challenge will be met and the significant vacancies and skill-deficit filled.

Thursday, 10 February 2022

Day 46: One Step At A Time

At our Board meeting today we heard from one of the people we support in our services.  Their story was extremely powerful in demonstrating the hugely positive impact of what we provide to support their progress from a long-institutional stay.

They felt extremely empowered, engaged in their own care, positive about what was to come and making plans.  What struck me most was how they described the way they saw their future in a measured and composed way; being sensible to think about what was next but taking each day as it comes and not wanting to rush their recovery.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022

Day 45: Female Role Models

Over the past few days I’ve had some conversations with people about the importance of positive female role models.  Having a career in nursing has blessed me with quite a few female role models who have had a massive influence on me.

I am fortunate in this current role that there are amazing women who model behaviours and values that I share and aspire to.  Some are in senior roles, whilst others aren’t but still have a big influence on me and how I think.  I need to make more effort to tell them how important they are without patronising.

Tuesday, 8 February 2022

Day 44: Podcasting

Discussed the development of my podcast idea today.  I will be interviewing people about their views and ambition of quality for us.  I want to use this, amongst other tools, as part of our approach to stimulating debate across the organisation about what our collective ambition for quality is.

This will be part of my co-production approach to develop our quality ambition with the people we support, the people who work for us and other valued partners, such as our regulators and commissioners.

I have agreement from my first interviewee and am now working on the logistics.  Watch this space!

Monday, 7 February 2022

Day 43: How Do We Challenge The Unchallengeable?

I recall writing a previous blog post about stopping accepting the unacceptable.  This is along a similar vein regarding discrimination within the workplace (not that it’s OK anywhere else!).  As we strive to be more equitable, to reduce gaps between people identifying with different groups, we seek to be more diverse.

We need to ensure that in doing so we are inclusive of all, not exclusive to the minority.  People from minority groups can hold prejudice, and those who have been wronged in the past can do wrong to others, sometimes without even realising it.  Be inclusive, be kind, always.

Friday, 4 February 2022

Day 42: Psychology

So much of what we do at Turning Point is underpinned by evidence-based psychological interventions.  It is vital that how we work with the people we support to achieve their potential is rooted in good quality, evidence-based, therapies and services.

We have a central team of Psychologists as well as many spread throughout our services.  One of the fantastic things that I heard about on one of my recent virtual service visits is the way our Psychologists work hand in glove with Peer Support Workers.  This ensures that the people we support get a combination of evidence-based and experience-based therapy.


Thursday, 3 February 2022

Day 41: International Optimists Day

Today is International Optimist Day.  I class myself as an optimist.  I strive to always see the positive in a situation and the best in people.  The advantage of this means I don’t catastrophise when things go wrong, I don’t jump to the worst-case scenario.

The disadvantage of being an optimist is the risk of missing the potential worst case happening and not being prepared physically or emotionally for this.

For me, the best combination is being an optimist AND being self-aware about this so that you can consciously plan for the worst, whilst believing that something better will happen.

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

Day 40: Partnerships For Mutual Benefit

What is a partnership? To me, this means that all ‘partners’ get something mutually beneficial out of the arrangement.  However, formal, or informal this relationship, to be called a partnership, the benefit to all must be equal or equitable.

It two parties are to enter a partnership, honesty and transparency at the outset are critical about what each wants to get.  There will inevitably have to be compromise as it is extremely rare for everyone to get everything that they want.

Successful partnerships regularly review whether partners are continuing to get what they want in an equitable way from it.

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Day 39: Quality Support System

How do you know when things are going to go wrong? This is difficult, but if you have the right data and you use it in the right way, it is entirely possible to predict service failure before it happens.

I am developing a framework, which will use Machine Learning (a branch of Artificial Intelligence) to predict when things will go wrong with a service.

My aim is to be able to provide enhanced support to the service before the impact of things going wrong starts to have a detrimental effect on outcomes for users of the service and staff.

Monday, 31 January 2022

Day 38: Record Keeping For Improvement

I was complimented today on notes I took of a meeting.  You may think minute-taking is a waste of time, but good leaders take notes!  These were for the reflection meeting I wrote about on Day 33.

I noted what people said and concurrently collated a list of priority areas for action and learning, which I put into themes.  At the same time, I worked in partnership with a colleague to facilitate the session to be a safe, effective space for sharing.  A high-quality summary of actions from this kind of conversation is vital to using the outputs for improvement.

Friday, 28 January 2022

Day 37: Life is more than work

Since a knee injury last November, I returned to training with Milton Keynes Rugby Club this week.  I have been active and fit throughout my adult life; both physically and psychologically missing exercise when I haven’t been able to train.

I didn’t realise quite how much I missed training until getting back to it.  Being back with my team-mates felt amazing; training hard, having a laugh, and the sense of satisfaction from pushing myself physically.

Lots of parallels with teams in organisations – through Covid, we’ve missed a lot of the camaraderie and personal contact that brings the enjoyment and fulfilment.




Thursday, 27 January 2022

Day 36: Speak Up About Safety Issues & Workload

Today I read the write-up of this study in the BMJ of people working in a busy hospital surgical departments in Ghana.  Whilst this may appear extremely different to a setting that you work in, the principles are totally applicable to many areas, particularly health and social care services in the UK:

1.      People don’t want to speak up for fear of being asked to do even more.

2.      People don’t have time to raise issues and people are too busy to hear them, or act upon them.

3.      Supporting ‘hearer’ courage may be as important as speaking up in the first place!

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Day 35: Yes, and…

When people share ideas do you think of reasons why they shouldn’t happen, or problems that may occur? 

How do you feel when you share ideas and obstacles are immediately put in your way?

“Yes, and” is powerful and opens rather than closing conversations.

Leaders don’t say “no, but have you thought of…”.

    they say: “Yes, and if we do that it will help us to…”;

    they say “Yes, and if we do X as well, we’ll make things even better”; and

    they say “Yes, I understand where you’re coming from and we can do that, but not right now”.

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Day 34: Authenticity and Integrity

To lead well, act with authenticity and integrity.  Humans are clever and will spot a fraud quickly; it’s hard keeping the mask on for prolonged periods; be yourself.

To act with integrity means using emotional intelligence to tune into your and others’ emotions.  Make the right agreements to serve you, them, and your organisation best.  Take responsibility for your own experiences and inspire others to do the same.

You control your actions, but you can’t control the outcomes.  Communicate well; listen actively speaking with authority about what you know but understand that others will have their version of the truth.



Monday, 24 January 2022

Day 33: Reflection

Time reflecting today and thinking about how we shift culture.  This included considering how we deal with the anxiety of those things we can and can’t control. 

This made me think that we do waste a huge amount of emotional energy and can feel immense anxiety about things we have absolutely no control over.  We need to become more comfortable with the discomfort of the things we can’t control and to focus on those things that we do have at least some control over.

This can only happen with practise and support from colleagues around us in a learning environment.




Friday, 21 January 2022

Day 32: Are You Enough?

How often do you catastrophise, assume the worst, or lack belief and confidence in yourself?  When this happens, flip it; tell yourself you can, you are capable; and the best-case scenario will happen.  How does this feel?

Is this self-doubt, imposter syndrome or a fear of the unknown.  Be careful in assuming it is one of these three; Ruchika Tulshyan and Jodi-Ann Burey write that we should stop telling women and people of colour that they have imposter syndrome, as it could be systematic bias.  I also witness women apologising for having ideas or thoughts in meetings.  You are enough!