It’s always been a mystery to me why the Government hasn’t written off the credit card debt of every person with a debt, allowed them to keep their cards, and boosted the economy by enabling people to buy the things they want through re-using their credit cards. The economy might have been boosted a long time ago. Instead, whilst countries are deemed to be in danger of collapse with interest rates on their own borrowing at 7%, mere mortals are being charged, by the banks, over 14% and sometimes much higher (44%) for personal borrowings, making it impossible to pay off debts and build personal capital. Whilst there would have been a danger that mere mortals would rebuild their massive personal debts, something no one should encourage, nevertheless, the personal motivation and energy that individuals would have found by this arrangement would, no doubt, have stimulated all manner of ideas for further growth and development. Instead, we have a depressed population, and banks that no one seems able to do anything with, and the need for an injection of billions now to help weary and de-motivated people to seek out a tiny little bit of energy to forge ahead. This move is unlikely to work for more than a few people who have a blemish free credit rating. Meanwhile the bulk of the population will slide further into de- motivated existence, worrying about jobs, pensions, debt, whereas it’s the people who risk a lot who have the motivation to take risks, which is what will make us all grow and find again out mojo.
Since the Department of Health withdrew its funding for a patient satisfaction survey – the NHS part of The British Social Attitudes Survey – patient satisfaction has lowered dramatically. The DoH probably knew this was going to happen. Their withdrawal of funding for the survey means what exactly? That Ministers aren’t interested in patient satisfaction; that Ministers aren’t interested in a voice of the people they represent; that Ministers believe they are absolutely right, and ‘let me make myself absolutely clear’ , I am right – about the need for change costing an economy money the economy doesn’t have. Interestingly, in another survey, inpatient surveys have shown that over the past four years or so, inpatients have rated their care as good, very good or excellent. Why spend money changing an infrastructure now if patients are scoring such high positive responses to their actual care?
Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” -Laozi, Ancient Chinese Philosopher believed to have written the Tao Te Ching, Laozi books//
People who possess a lot of personal power, or influence, know a secret about life that others tend to overlook. It’s not a complicated secret, but it is one that has a significant impact on self-confidence and personal growth.
The secret is as ancient as the study of philosophy – it originates with man’s first inclination to understand himself.
So what is this hidden knowledge that gives you power over yourself and others?
As Laozi alludes, it is as simple as to Know Yourself.
Know your essence. The most significant qualities that truly define who you are as a person. This is not about your physical DNA; it’s about your spiritual, emotional and psychological DNA.
Know your values. The things that matter most to you in life. Your priorities; your personal commitments; your beliefs; and, your faith.
Know your strengths. The natural abilities that you possess, cultivate and develop. These are the skills that you leverage to get things done, either on your own or through influencing others. Your strengths are the tools in your personal lifebox.
Know your passions. These are more than your wants and desires; your passions are those things that you cannot live without. They are the objects of your intense desire to both pursue and obtain for increased satisfaction and the betterment of your life.
Know your tendencies. Habits can be good; and, habits can be bad. You should know all of your habits, as well as the frequency you typically act upon them. Tendencies are deliberate and purposeful actions, and they often produce predictable results. Knowing your habitual tendencies will help you to better identify areas of self-improvement.
Know your limitations. You will never be good at everything you want to achieve. It’s better to know which skills or activities are beyond your capability to perform at a level of excellence. Influence is derived from expertise, so you need to be able to narrow your focus in order to maximize your time and energy spent.
Know your goals. The things you really want to achieve in life must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time sensitive (S.M.A.R.T.). Nebulous, or vague, goals are not conducive to maximizing your personal performance, development or ability to influence others. Clarity is key when it comes to setting your goals.
Know your mission. Pull it all together – essence, values, strengths, passions, tendencies, limitations and goals – and then, give it some direction. This is your mission in life. This is the point on the horizon that you’re working toward yet never reach. It is the star by which you navigate yet never touch. It is the motivation that compels you to be constantly moving forward, striving to make the most of every opportunity presented.
Knowing yourself gives you tremendous power because it enables you to exude confidence and exert influence over others. Think about the people who positively influence your life. How do they carry themselves? How would you describe their level of self-awareness? Do they seem to ‘know themselves’ and possess a clarity of purpose? Ask them about their mission.
Then, when you get the opportunity, think about what you know about yourself. Write down your thoughts. Read them aloud daily. Modify them as needed.
Also, feel free to share some of them here in the comments. We’d all like to get to know you better too!
There is a real danger that Groupthink by Government servants, politicians and journalists will now prevent reasoned arguments being aired in Court concerning the current and future welfare and wellbeing of children at risk. There are a number of vectors that are moving in the direction of hiding what these cases are all about.
1. Cafcass is imposing a regime that reduces the amount of time available to investigate the circumstances surrounding cases – providing the opportunity for significant concealment.
2. the detail required by the Courts is now minuscule compared to the detail needed to examine arguments – providing the opportunity for significant concealment.
3. the media is adopting an attitude towards revelation of detail that is contrary to their interrogative journalism traditions – they challenge the ability of expert witnesses to disclose the evidence needed to mount a reasoned argument in Court
4. the mounting antagonism against expert witnesses is being inspired by the same people who are wanting to limit exposure in Court of the background and arguments needed to reach a reasoned and well argued case for action concerning the future of a child.
5. the quick fix society is about to gain another scalp – vulnerable children. Societies are judged on how they support the vulnerable in their society; who can reasonable people turn to now? – not the Government; not Public Servants; not serious Journalists; not the Politicians. Who?
On the 25th January 2012 Dame Carol Black launched the Institute of Healthcare Management’s Code of Conduct for Managers of Health and Social Care. In the audience were Sir Paul Williams, former chief executive of Wales, and Mike Farrar, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, along with several Trust CEOs and many others.
Dame Carol explained the significance of codes and the importance of this code in relation to its promotion of health and wellbeing. The code is an enabling code, one that has been designed to change culture and promote a positive working environment with its focus on wellbeing and performance.
We want to establish Centres for Applied Psychology around the country, mirroring, if you like, medical practices, so that applied psychologists can work together across the psychological domains to provide to business and communities psychological services that facilitate wellbeing and performance.
We have sufficient numbers of expressions of genuine interest to make this happen. The interest is coming from established independent psychologists who have, already, developed successful practices. Interest from the public sector has also been expressed.
We see these Centres as offering tried and tested services currently provided in different ways, combined with innovative services that are formed from the integration of psychological domains within the Centres – and to offer services to all kinds of communities as well as individuals within them.
The Cotswold Centre for Applied Psychology has been started – slowly and gradually. It has its first project.
I’ve been reading the latest edition of The Psychologist and marvel at the range of fascinating psychological adventures that contributors have been going on recently.
The richness of the psychological world really does need to be more accessible to the population at large.
In the discussions surrounding the establishment of a National Centre for Applied Psychology I have been struck most about the nervousness that some psychologists appear to have about elevating applied psychology in the consciousness of ordinary people. I can understand this nervousness. I have experienced it myself when knocking on doors pleading to gain entrance to the working world where I am convinced I can help a lot of people. It is nerve racking standing up in front of audiences at conferences and talking liberally about how exciting psychology is and how it can help many people avoid suffering distress.
However, I think psychologists have so much to offer that it is important to try to improve access to the services that applied psychologists can provide, even though some psychologists may feel nervous about this.
We’re launching The National Centre for Applied Psychology in 2012. The National Centre will rely on contributions from applied psychologists across the range of psychological domains. The kind of contributions will be horizon scanning, responding to national policy initiatives, stimulating psychological questions to be answered, engaging with clients and commissioners, promoting research commissioning research. We shall start slowly, testing the water, seeing how we go.
Our first challenge is describing applied psychology – to facilitate psychological wellbeing and performance in business and communities – seems pretty good to me.
This is the time of the year when lines may be drawn under the past and the optimists look forward to getting going again in the future.
So, what have we managed to do in 2011?
We’ve managed to obtain agreement for pilots of our Wellbeing and performance Agenda, that incorporates the primary prevention of psychological distress at its core. The agenda itself is in four parts, with an overriding element of adaptive leadership. Introducing the principles of adaptive leadership make the rest of the agenda that much easier to implement.
The four elements of the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda are each addressing the prevalence of psychological distress at work. We know the incidence of cases of distress is rising, due in part to the combined impact of the economic climate on individuals, and the impact on the workplace, together with the expected number of cases arising from organisations that do not adopt a prevention strategy.
We don’t know the prevalence rates for distress, but, given the rise in incidence, the prevalence rate may be either neutral or increasing, adding further costs to businesses and services as a consequence 0f the rise in psychological presenteeism.
the four elements of The Wellbeing and Performance Agenda are:
creating and sustaining a healthy organisation
adaptive leadership and effective management
Healthy organisations create the cultural environment that infects everyone with a positive attitude towards work. This nudges people to feel well at work, even if they may have good cause to feel unwell, either from ill health or from adverse events outside work. Using the word infects is important here because a culture that does infect people with a positive attitude plays directly to social proof. Where people look around and see others feeling and performing positively, they tend to follow. It’s not true for everyone – McKinsey research in this field suggests that, even in healthy organisations, some 18% of the workforce will not be elevated from a sense of antagonism towards the workplace. This is a high proportion, but it’s worth remembering that 82% will be elevated to perform at their best by influencing the cultural environment within which people work.
Adaptive leadership is about sharing the responsibility for leading the organisation amongst those who work in it. This is akin to generating a sense of ‘ownership’ which is well established as a process that heightens social engagement between the worker and the organisation. A strong social engagement leads to heightened psychological wellbeing and high level performance. Adaptive leadership expects independent judgement from all staff, and the style creates the secure envelope within which all ‘elephants in the Room’ are exposed and dealt with.
Effective management is focused on the behaviours that promote high level performance – these being the behaviours that result in commitment, trust and engagement between managers and their staff. Managers are the controllers of organisations, and are the people who reflect the culture of the organisation most of all in their dealings and style of interacting with staff. As the principal cause of distress is people, and in the workplace, managers, the role of managers in producing high performing staff is crucial, and often misunderstood.
Personal resilience is the degree of psychological immunity that individuals have against adverse events. Using personal resilience in the face of an adverse event is a matter of attitude, based on an evaluation of the event and the imagined outcome. Once more, the cultural environment for workers plays a crucial role in forming the attitude of staff towards adverse events. A culture that abandons individuals to fend for themselves in the face of adversity is unlikely to produce a level of performance that an organisation which nurtures and supports people through adversity produces.
Lifestyle@work focuses on the type of lifestyle that nurtures the workforce and keeps it healthy and feeling well. This includes attention to nutrition in food during the day; exercise; life balance issues, and the support services that produce effective support when needed – so excellent occupational health services, excellent HR services, excellent employee assistance programmes, and excellent absence management systems that understand ill health. The social aspects of work are also part of this element, together with such items as formality and informality, dress codes, and entertainment. Ergonomics is another important aspect of this element, ensuring the physical environment nurtures high level performance.
We look forward to implementation of our pilots and for the Wellbeing and Performance Agenda to cascade throughout organisations as a vehicle for transforming the working world.
Preventing Stress @ Work
2nd November is National Stress Awareness Day (NSAD) which is organised and hosted by the International Stress Management Association (ISMA). As a trustee of ISMA, Derek Mowbray is pleased to support NSAD and the work of ISMA. Do visit their website for further information.
There are two ways to prevent stress @ work:
- create and sustain a working environment that eliminates the risk of stress; and
- strengthen people’s psychological immunity against stress through stengtheing their resilience.
BOTH THESE APPROACHES TO PREVENTING STRESS @ WORK REPRESENT
A LOW COST INVESTMENT FOR A HIGH PERFORMANCE DIVIDEND.
For further information about how MAS can help your organisation with these 2 different approaches , contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’ve now completed the development of Management Standards for a Healthy Organisation which incorporates standards to promote wellbeing and performance, and the prevention of stress at work.
There are only two ways to prevent stress at work -
a) to build and sustain a working environment that eliminates the risks of stress
b) strengthen the psychological immunity of people against stressful events causing a stressful reaction.
The Management Standards address both. The standards describe the actions required to create a working environment that eliminates, or at least, attenuates, the risks of stress causing events, by focusing on the culture, rules of how the organisation is meant to work and the behaviour of managers in building and sustaining commitment, trust and engagement. These add up to a Healthy Organisation.
The Management Standards also describe the elements that help to strengthen psychological immunity against stressful events, the building and sustaining of personal resilience.
Copies of the Management Standards are available from email@example.com
Copies of The Manager’s Code are available from firstname.lastname@example.org
OrganisationHealth and The Management Advisory Service are members of The Wellbeing and Performance Group