Wednesday 29 May 2013

Making Tea

I'm catching up as usual!

See Barry Dix at last week's Lights! Camera! ACTION! event in the Vale of Glamorgan here. Barry draws our attention to the indirect consequences of the "bedroom tax" (which aims to encourage those on benefits to downsize if they have a spare room) for people stuck at the other end of the housing scale - that is those living in a bedsit. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the change to benefits rules it isn't right that adults with a mental illness should remain long-term living in a single room, especially if it impacts directly on their illness as Barry points out.

Meanwhile I was up in London doing some training with the Directory of Social Change. And what did I learn? Quite a lot I think because there were some good trainers prepared to challenge turgid orthodoxy. Here's some salient and practical stuff I took away...

• Hafal needs to sort out how it can facilitate its supporters to remember us in their wills. Watch this space!

• We need to do even more to relate formal management systems like supervision and appraisal to the daily, human task of supporting staff effectively to do their job. I'm confident that Hafal is pretty good at this but you have to work hard in the teeth of some plonkers in the world of H.R. (I don't mean within Hafal) who would have us develop excessive paperwork and bureaucracy unrelated to the practicalities of the job in hand which irritate managers and staff alike.

• As I suspected it is a spectacular waste of time to try to distinguish separate meanings for words like goals, targets, performance indicators, outcomes, etc. These semantic distinctions only serve to create a mystique around corporate planning so that people who have been on one of those fatuous "management-by-Gantt-chart" courses can annoy all their colleagues. Better to use one word for all these (let's say "goal") and simply understand that there are short-term goals (like getting a cup of tea this morning so I can face my in-tray) all the way up to long-term strategic ones like achieving Hafal's mission to improve decisively the lives of people with a mental illness. It isn't difficult to see how these two goals (and lots of intermediate ones) connect up, is it? On the contrary it gives a new sense of purpose to making tea which is rather pleasing. And that is the point - to show everybody involved in the mission how lots of short-term goals can lead to achieving great big ones.

• Blogs and other social media apparently need to indulge their readers' low attention spans, intolerance of long words and complex sentence structure, etc. Bad luck - I won't be taking any notice of that one.

The Directory is based in Euston and I took the opportunity to walk all the way south back to Waterloo, capturing the four vistas of central London shown here - if you know the place well you will note that I meandered a little.