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!

Thursday 20 January 2022

Day 31: Where is ‘work’ and where is ‘home’?

Whether you regularly worked from home prior to the Covid pandemic or not, there’s always a challenge in taking time away from work to recharge your batteries when your workplace and home are the same!

‘Work-life balance’ was the buzz-phrase of the early 2010s; in the later 2010s we moved onto ‘workplace wellbeing’ and now need to shift to ‘personal wellbeing’.  Staying physically and mentally well shouldn’t be a balancing act nor should it be just about being well at work.

With lines between home and work ever blurring we all need to find how to be happy in both.

Wednesday 19 January 2022

Day 30: Make Mistakes Positively

When you make mistakes, fail fast, fail forward and, face the future.  Use your mistakes and those of others around you as learning opportunities, not ‘failures’. 

When I make a mistake, I can beat myself up about it; I sometimes struggle to respond positively to my emotional response. This can reduce my ability to learn properly from it.

In organisations providing health and social care services, as leaders we need to create the climate and culture for people to make mistakes, but in a safe environment.  Great leaders create space and provide resources for people to ‘try dangerous things carefully’. 

Tuesday 18 January 2022

Day 29: Life Skills and Housing

A significant determinant of health is where you live.  This includes the quality of housing you live in and sense of belonging and being part of a community.  The fabric of building being poor can lead to or worsen physical illnesses; and not feeling part of a community can lead to loneliness and social isolation, which itself impacts physical health.

I had a virtual service visit to our Beacon Lodge Service in Nottingham; over just 8-weeks, they do a fantastic job in in rehabilitating people who’ve been in acute mental health units to become capable of greater independence, including housing.

Monday 17 January 2022


Departing from the normal 100-words today to share a Blog that I have written about How To Cope With The Winter Blues.

Please let me know what you think and of anything particular that helps you cope with this time of year.

Friday 14 January 2022

Day 27: Insight

How do we get insight into service performance?

Einstein said:

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted”

We need to clearly define outcomes that people who we support want to achieve; and find ways of measuring this (Quantitatively or qualitatively).  Then we need to use technology to layer this data with other data we hold like incidents, complaints, feedback, benchmarking etc.

Digital tools can present information to us, from which we can then use people to develop into insight.  This isn’t dehumanising the process but using people where they have most value.

Thursday 13 January 2022

Day 26: Social Value

We had a good conversation today about Social Value and how what we do is beneficial beyond just the services we provide to the people we support.  Things like our environmental impact, how we provide preferentially to organisations doing public good, and our benefit to the economy.

When designing, marketing, and delivering services we must think beyond the processes of how we deliver services.  We need to be more conscious of the impact on society that ‘how’ we deliver services has.  Are our buildings energy efficient; how are we supporting staff wellbeing and their families; are we offering Living Wage?

Wednesday 12 January 2022

Day 25: Innovation

I had a really good conversation today with Harvey Wade from Innovate21 about improving our organisational capacity, capabilities, and culture around innovation.  There is significantly commonality between the cultures needed to foster innovation and quality improvement.

One of the things that featured in our conversation was the need to look outside your own organisation AND outside your own industry to understand who does change well, who has the right culture, how they got there and what did they learn on the way.  This external benchmarking or ‘appreciative enquiry’ is vital to being able to progress beyond your own internal limits.

Tuesday 11 January 2022

Day 24: User Engagement

There has been a huge amount written over the years on Ladder of Engagement, which takes you from sharing information all the way up to genuine co-production.  There is great opportunity now for a shift-change in how we partner with people to develop services that help them to meet their outcomes through excellent experiences.

We must be purposeful in our approach to this, saying, meaning, and resourcing our approaches to co-production with the people who have the greatest knowledge of what excellence looks like and what it means to have bad experience – they are the people who use our services.

Monday 10 January 2022

Day 23: Rehab

During a virtual service visit today, with one of our addiction rehabilitation houses, I got to speak with one of the residents.  She is close to returning to her own home after a period of about 12-weeks rehab with us.  This includes group, one 2 one and self-directed work.

She looked so healthy and well and had a big beaming smile on her face throughout our conversation.  She had nothing but praise for the service she had received and the support of staff and volunteers.  She is now going on to train as a Peer Support Worker with us too!

Friday 7 January 2022

Day 22: Health & Wellbeing

I had an amazing discussion with our Health and Wellbeing Lead today about our Quality Strategy; she was utterly inspiring with her drive and passion for working with our services to support people to achieve the best outcomes possible, and for our own staff.

We aim to make the best of every single contact we have with the people we support.  We want them to get the absolute most out of the time they spend with Turning Point colleagues.  Our diverse range of services all seek to help people to achieve better for themselves.  Here’s a great example in Birmingham.

Thursday 6 January 2022

Day 21: It’s more than just a job!

Today, I joined a ‘virtual’ visit to Turning Point Connect, a new community-based service in Nottingham offering innovative and proactive support to people with complex needs around trauma, managing crisis situations and those with a Personality Disorder.

 What was particularly striking about this service is how Peer Support Workers, with lived experience of Mental Health crisis themselves, are fully integrated as equal members of the team.  They work alongside psychologists to deliver the programme to great success.  It was brilliant to hear the pride and humility with which they spoke about their vocation (it’s more than a job to them!).

Wednesday 5 January 2022

Day 20: Authentic Leadership and Your Inner Voice

We all have an ego and an inner voice.  Great leaders know when and how to listen to it.  This Blog by Alex Lickerman from Psychology Today talks about inner voice and intuition; how it can inform better decision-making.

Today I read about Trevor Noah and his perspective on Authentic Leadership.  I reflected on the parts about listening (and not listening) to other people's feedback.  We're all affected by what we perceive others think about us.  These are just one person's opinion and we’d be foolish to think everyone likes us - do you like everyone?

Be authentic, be you!

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Day 17: Organisational Memory

To err is human; people learn from their mistakes but can still repeat them.  Organisations only learn from people’s mistakes if they find replicable ways to prevent them being repeated. 

This requires a learning culture, where people feel psychologically safe to recognise and admit errors.  Organisations need to look at how systems and processes support error prevention.  This can lead to a fear of standardisation that can hinder creativity and personalisation.

Systematisation doesn't have to mean standardisation, but a framework including design, delivery methods, performance/outcome measurement, continuous improvement processes; all based on evidence, policy, and values – pushing towards organisational vision.

Day 19: Elf and Safety

It’s never too late for a Christmas pun… is it?

One of my responsibilities in the new role is assuring the Health and Safety of premises we operate out of; to protect the welfare of the people we serve and the staff and volunteers who work with us.

I learnt today about the systems and processes we have for Health and Safety quality improvement and the audit tools that are used to support our work.

Health and Safety may not be the sexiest part of quality improvement, but it can be as important as clinical and care processes and interventions.