The end of one year and the beginning of the new is always a time for reflection and planning – whether we make formal resolutions or simply put the new calendar up on the kitchen wall we can’t help but think about what has been and look forward to what could be.
I always enjoy reading the weekly blogs, they celebrate achievements both big and small, remind me why what we do is important and hopefully inspire all of us to keep striving for the best outcomes for the people we support. The Great Interactions Blog has been running for so many years, it is part of the weekly pattern but as with all things, there was a beginning, a point when we started to publish these reflections. As I was pondering what to write in this first blog post of 2019 and feeling the pressure to “hit the mark” given the amazing stories that have come before, I found myself reflecting on why we decided to start sharing these stories in the first place.
MacIntyre’s values run through everything we do, they are all encompassing, and it is precisely because they provide this blue print for all things that we talk about them as our DNA. We have always invested significant time, energy and resource into staff development and promoting best practice but that in itself is not sufficient because there can still be something missing. Given that people experience our behaviours not our values, saying the right words and knowing what is set out in guidance or policy is worth very little if we fail to “walk the talk”. So how can we influence the quality of the interactions between ourselves and the people we are supporting?
When you strip everything down that is what MacIntyre is all about – hundreds of interactions taking place at any moment in time and while the setting, context and purpose may be different what is consistent is the crucial importance of that simple exchange between two or more human beings.
Given that interactions are at the heart of what MacIntyre is about we cannot simply assume that policies, guidelines and learning pathways for staff will have the desired effect – this is too important. That is how and why Great Interactions, the 10 Facilitation Skills and the MacIntyre Profile came into being. Through intense work with staff that were considered by their managers to be “naturals” and the ones who just “got it”, we were able to establish that MacIntyre staff need to be pre-disposed to work in a facilitative way, have a growth mind-set, be willing to learn, adapt and reflect.
That insight and understanding has since influenced and shaped everything about MacIntyre at both a national and a local level, the strategic decisions we make, policy directions we set and of course the individual behaviours that each and every one of us is expected to display.
We cannot be complacent and believe that we have found the answer or solved this challenge and therefore, we are constantly reviewing, refreshing and building on our approach. For example, 2019 will see us further developing our award-winning Values Based Recruitment, in the current political and economic climate it is more important than ever that we find ways to attract and retain the right people with the right values and behaviours. We are also continuing a substantial piece of work focussing on identifying and promoting leadership behaviours and skills, equipping our managers at every level to meet the challenges of delivering high-quality services in an increasingly difficult environment.
Worthy pieces of work but their true worth must be measured through the impact they have on the quality of interactions experienced by the people we support. This brings me back to the weekly blog, the telling of stories, the sharing of reflections on our own behaviour and how that led to great outcomes. No matter what else is going on, whatever decisions there are to be made or tasks to be completed once a week we all have a chance to focus back on what is important, on why we are all here doing what we do – that is why the Great Interactions Blog came into being and why it still matters all these years later.
Happy New Year – and here’s to another 52 amazing stories shared, I wonder will yours be among them.
Director of Adult Services