Hi again!

Here's my latest blog after a winter pause, but before I get started I can't help but mention that our January offer: 'Complaints and mistakes' - how to convert a complaining client to a loyal fan is now going to run through February too. A 20 minute interactive module giving a practical method for handling difficult situations. Normally only available as part of a course, this module can be purchased for just £19 + VAT. Buy it now here!

Engage, Empower, Improve!

Sometimes I stray from my core brief of communication skills, and feel inspired to share something which has, or has not, worked for me in practice.
Having learnt about storyboarding, I decided to give it a go, and see how it works in practice. I'll explain using the format we used when writing up experiments in my O-level chemistry classes (anyone else remember O-levels?):

Aim: Fresh new ideas, practice improvement, leading to highly bonded clients and staff, and of course the knock-on effect of increased profit. 

People & Equipment:  Key staff. For us that was 4 senior VNs, 3 vets, 2 admin staff (and a partridge in a pear tree).  One large board. Several file cards and a mass of post-it notes. And plenty of coffee, cakes and time. 

1. Put aside more time than you think you need - time constraints will stifle open thinking. We set aside a full morning. We thought it would take a couple of hours and ended up needing to bring in lunch. 

2. Decide on a theme. E.g. 'the client experience'.

3. Set the ground rules:
Absolutely no criticism of anyone, ever, as this stifles new ideas.
Blue sky thinking is the aim. One person's whacky and frivolous idea may be moulded into a useful item by another person.

4. Open the discussion by deciding on key areas that need looking at. e.g. condition of premises, telephone skills, waiting room systems, ethos, etc. These are written on the file cards and pinned across the top of the board. 

5. Write specific ideas and comments about each key area on the post it notes and post them under the headings. Some people will put ideas in writing that they are not confident enough to express verbally. 

Items 4 and 5 will engender much discussion and bouncing of ideas to and fro.

Result: By the end of the session, you will have enough ideas and projects to keep any practice manager happily busy for a long, long time. 

Conclusion: There is only one possible conclusion.
Engagement - all staff want to see the practice improve, they just need to see their ideas are going to be valued. And if it was their idea in the first place, they have a vested interest in making it work.
Empowerment - staff will understand they can really have an influence on practice development and on their own roles
Improvement - Of course!
And we all had fun achieving it. 


Happy Training!

Best wishes,