Leadership! Breaking down barriers. Engaging people. Building capacity.

There is a lot of talk about leadership. Leadership is important.

Leadership can and should be inspirational.
Twitter is inspirational. Hardly surprising that a lot of real leaders shine through on Twitter!

The fact that they ‘expose’ themselves (so to speak) on Twitter speaks volumes in itself as it takes courage to be ‘out there’ and engaging with the world.

Regular readers will know how excited I got about NHS Change Day as a great example of enabling people to take ownership. So I was chuffed to see my blog being shared again on the NHS Change Day Facebook page:

You will know that I also really admire Andrea Sutcliffe, CEO of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE). Andrea has pretty much had a blog to herself so I will say not one more word about her here!

I am still hoping to get Debbie Sorkin on Twitter as it is much easier to capture good stuff when people tweet! But leadership can’t be mentioned without paying tribute to the excellent work of Debbie and the National Skills Academy, inspiring leadership at all levels, and with (shortly) a new programme for values-led recruitment.

We all really appreciate leaders who are prepared to show vulnerability:

We recognise true engagement with patients

So some people shine as leaders. But leadership that is only top-down is no leadership at all. Not in my book.
These natural leaders of course know this and their whole style is conducive to leadership and engagement at all levels. 

But, apart from the ‘CEO stars’, who are the real leaders?

I am inspired by two young Patient Leaders.
I have previously told you about Anya de Iongh.
But now I have also ‘met’ her equally passionate friend Alison Cameron:

Interestingly, I ‘met’ Alison in a very interesting Twitter conversation where she threw a huge pebble in the pond, questioning some of the current drive to make a business out of compassion. I like people who are prepared to throw pebbles in the pond. For me, this is precisely what opens up the ‘real’ conversations.
The Whose Shoes? tools throw a lot of pebbles in ponds… 😉
Anyway, Alison had had a very dodgy experience and told us about it…

Fortunately Edana Minghella, one of our fab #dementiachallengers, told her that things do not always have to be that way and about the wonderful work that Andy Bradley is doing in this area.  And Andy had the courage to join the conversation and I believe it led to new thinking, new awareness for everyone:

There was extra poignancy here for me as I know Andy is totally committed to engendering genuine compassion and at the moment is himself at the sharp end of when services lack compassion:

And suddenly I ‘get’ Andy’s earlier tweet a little bit more…

Transferable ideas that work!

Great MBA question!”
Most people only bring 75% of their talent to work everyday.” Discuss.

Good people crushed, demoralised

So, how to tap talent – and widen the scope?
Building community capacity is key – and I’m delighted to be working in partnership with Think Local, Act Personal (@TLAP1) who are doing some brilliant work here.
And I mean communities, not just formal employees!

Did you read that last tweet? – how good is that!

I feel Alison has some important things to tell us so I invited her to write a guest blog.
I am not the only one to think so:

So much to learn from Edgar Cahn, the father of time-banking and supportive communities… and I was delighted when Alison brought him into the conversation:

“All he ever wanted was to unlock greatness in others”.
Anne Cooper (@AnnieCoops) has written powerfully about the Quiet Leader.
Edgar Cahn is someone that truly epitomises this quality.

“Hard to reach?” Really?

Breaking down barriers, innovation

Encourage people to get involved – listen – and act!

Value people. Give them the chance to fly… and then they will give 100%

Do the Maths!
It is worth getting this right! If most people giving only 75%…

So, here we have, as it has turned out,
… the secret recipe of a Whose Shoes? session:

  • Lots of people. Different perspectives. Lots of different scenarios.
  • Most people intrinsically caring and wanting to contribute.
  • Crowd-sourcing and sharing of great ideas.
  • Many leading with passion.
  • Others feeling stifled and unable to bring even 75% of their talent to work.

But, Twitter is transient. Amazing ideas are expressed but do not necessarily lead to action or positive change in the real world. In Whose Shoes? sessions, a key outcome is usually to capture the learning and use it to move forward.

I see people come alive as their ideas are listened to in Whose Shoes? workshops.
I love it when I see people connecting across groups.
Forgetting all about roles or hierarchies.
Just connecting as people – with ideas and contributions and willingness
if only someone would listen and allow them to truly engage

Did you see that offer? Yes please! I’ll accept any opportunities to get people talking to each other and making progress.
I know that Whose Shoes? is a big hit with the TLAP National Coproduction group for Making It Real.
I know that it is a hit with people with support needs who find that, particularly if combined with graphic recording, it gives them a voice. As equals.
I know that Governance International see Whose Shoes? as a genuine co-production tool.
There are lots and lots of testimonials and case studies on the website…

Force 4 Change, a fab people-led group in Leicestershire had a sparkling Whose Shoes? session … and I’m delighted to hear that Leicestershire County Council have recently signed up to Making It Real as following up and working together to address issues is all that really matters!

So, all in all, Whose Shoes? is a disruptive tool for change.
In the best possible way 🙂

Here’s to disruption. Here’s to Making It Real!

About Gill Phillips - Whose Shoes?

Passionate about personalisation in health & social care. Creator of Whose Shoes? - an imaginative approach to helping people work together to improve lives. http://nutshellcomms.co.uk
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3 Responses to Leadership! Breaking down barriers. Engaging people. Building capacity.

  1. andy bradley says:

    Was this another one that had you up through the night?! Another wonderful contribution about revealing our humanity, thank you!

    My mum taught me to ‘move in closer’ in relation to the person in front of you – I spent time as a child around a large psychiatric hospital – the kind that had a really bad name and enjoyed a fearful reputation. I spent time there playing, being around the vegetables being grown and the people growing them and celebrating at fetes and parties. I know that there was so much wrong about the place, separation, no doubt examples of neglect and abuse.

    We are all vulnerable – united by the challenges life throws at us – what Jon Kabat-Zinn calls the full catastrophe.

    The challenge is to face the full catastrophe with a quiet mind and an open heart, offering kindness to ourselves and each other, seeking first to understand rather than rushing to judgement.

    Thank you Gill for creating the conditions through the brilliance of Whose Shoes for many people to move in closer. Thank you, thank you, thank you.



    • Wow, thank you Andy. We are just back from holiday and have had the privilege of some wonderful, reflective time. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments but in particular for “getting” what I am trying to do – bringing people together and breaking down barriers. Reaching out to people and facilitating “real” conversations 🙂 Gill x


  2. Pingback: In the shoes of … Alison Cameron| Patient leader & active citizen. An inspiration… | Whose Shoes?

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