Post 3 I The Transformation Essentials Series
On 3-4 May we saw an amazing thing happening – elements of a whole community coming together at the start of a campaign to save 20,000 days. To give back to our community 20,000 days at home, rather than in hospital.
Click here to watch the video taken at the event.
I am fascinated by campaigns and collaborative efforts to make system improvement. In reading the work of ‘campaigners’ outside health, I get some glimpses of why our collaborative work can be successful.
Marshal Ganz defines strategy as ‘how we turn what we have into what we need to get what we want.’ Strategic capacity, for Ganz, consists of three elements: motivation, access to relevant knowledge, and deliberations that lead to new learning. If you look at each of those elements, we see them delivered by our learning sessions – the building (and maintenance) of will and motivation. The sharing of tacit and explicit knowledge between clinical experts but also frontline staff. Group deliberations and the required PDSA cycles that actively drive deliberations and new knowledge.
Having said all of the above, I have a strong suspicion that perhaps the key element for success in campaigns is to observe a clear and inspirational aim. Here is a thought pertinent to that from Ganz:
‘Effective citizen action focuses on a few strategic objectives that turn values into action … If Dr King, the first night of the bus boycott, says, “We’re going to fight for racial justice, and American justice, and God’s justice,”go home. …There’s a necessity to choose an outcome that can harness energy, effort and power purposefully. So when, in Montgomery, we said, “We are going to boycott buses”, that made it real. We’re going to end segregation in buses in Montgomery, Alabama in two years, or one year etc. That made it real and everyone could focus on that.’
People are purpose-driven, they need to be working toward a goal.
Empower people by giving them ownership of a piece of the action.
So, you see, being strategic allows you to break stuff down so that people can actually own pieces of it. And by owning pieces of it, then they pull and you’re not pushing. That’s a huge shift. And so defining clear strategic purpose is critical.
So what do we learn? In mobilising our people we need an aim that draws on the values of our people. We need to build and maintain will, we need the right knowledge and we need to facilitate the discussions that generate the new knowledge we need.
Alongside that as leaders, we need to show how each piece, held by one of our colleagues, fits into the broader purpose and make it do the question asked of us which isn’t ‘why?’ it is ‘how?’.