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.