July 2014: Summer News

Health and Well Being

It is hardly possible to claim credit for client’s success but it is doubly fun to share their joy when things go right. So what a thrill to hear of the team at Dementia Friendly Crawley winning the National Award for Dementia Friendly Communities 2014. Never was an award so deserved. You can find out more about Dementia Friendly Crawley here.

I have enjoyed working with the Health and Well Being Team in West Sussex for quite a few years now.  Whilst job titles change frequently the team always demonstrates deep commitment to improving the lives of local communities.  We are now using Action Learning to develop positive interventions to reduce social isolation.

The team has some singular qualities: a lasting commitment to place, the ability to work across professional boundaries, and a recognition that time spent working together pays off.

Speed Mentoring

I spent a frantic two hours at the Oxford Jam earlier in the summer, as a Pro-Bono mentor with UnLtd Connect.  I met some fantastic social entrepreneurs at very different stages of their enterprises, and the challenges that they threw at me included:

  • The lift off of London hub tours
  • Leadership games design and starting afresh as an entrepreneur
  • Launching an Advocacy Academy
  • Establishing an accredited housing bond
  • Creating a sustainable handover strategy for a spiritual leader who wants to retire
  • The roll out of a limited liability partnership for a growing healthcare business and
  • A bicycle repair co- op supporting young people in need.

‘Group Soup’

I recently attended a superb event organized by the Association of Coaching in Windsor looking at the psychodynamics and neuroscience of the dynamics that affect how we feel and behave in groups.

The Facilitator, Linda Aspey, gave us some practical exercises to do as well as providing a very smart distillation of the theories she was using. One phrase Linda reminded us, from Nancy Kline, came to mind the very next day, ‘the group has not started until everyone has spoken’, but I had several very dominant figures in the room.  Mixing up the ingredients, I also thought of Susan Cain’s book ‘Quiet’, and knew that you do not create a comfortable environment by putting people on the spot.  Sure enough we came up with an approach to the session that sure enough, gave everyone a chance to express their view, without feeling excruciatingly uncomfortable or without the extroverts taking all the airtime.

Public Libraries – Digesting judicial review results

Like many others involved in supporting public libraries, I am trying to make sense of the Lincolnshire Judgement, in so far as it has lessons for other local authorities.  There will be a good debate on this topic and more at the next LGA Seminar for Elected Members at Manchester Central Library on 18th September. I will be updating my advice to Members to take account of the Judge’s ruling.

And it’s summer! Have good times.

Pink and red flowers

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