Relishing change -
building adaptability, resilience and enthusiasm for a changing world

Healthy connecting – managing demanding workplaces

March 17, 2015 @ 4:47 pm

When the workplace can make 24 hours a day demands on you how do you switch off and manage to hold onto reasonable expectations of yourself and your colleagues? Questions like this are beginning to filter into contemporary working life. Our flexible ways of working are actually making us feel more trapped than the rigidity of a 9-5 work day. Now we can work whenever we feel like it, many of us are finding it harder to carve out reasonable expectations of when we are at work and when we are not at work. How do you switch off the computer, tablet, phone and deal with the feeling you may risk missing something important?

These dilemmas have been raised both in training sessions and with peers; how to juggle the increasing demands placed by the technological changes brought into modern working life. Whether you are expected to work in close contact with people, because your office has become open plan without quite enough space for everyone, or whether you are working from home and rather isolated from a team environment; how to make meaningful contact and good relationships is a key task of surviving and thriving in a working and productive life.

In response to these questions, this course has been designed to give busy professionals a space to decide where their priorities are and how to reclaim control over their working life.

First course is booking now

Staying connected to the people who matter – family and friends as well as business contacts

Making the unmanageable manageable – what are reasonable expectations of yourself?

Developing resilience strategies – what are the core qualities of resilient people and how can these capacities be developed

Find out 18th May 2015 9.30 -4.30  here






The right way?

February 23, 2015 @ 9:23 am

Enraged by the radio after just a few minutes I switched off and listened to my thoughts. What had enraged me? Yet another politician talking about “the right way”, the “right thing to do”. Refusing to discuss the issues being raised and bull headedly keeping to their script. Is this the way to engage a disillusioned electorate? It reminds me of past leadership failures when a totalitarian viewpoint was promoted and those that differed were “wrong”. After so much focus on the first world war  and a recognition that we need to find ways to communicate internationally to prevent future wars why are we still stuck listening to politicians talking about the right way. There is no right way. There are many ways of choosing to live our lives. We need to find political leaders interested and able to discuss differing viewpoints. The solutions to the complexities of how we live require flexibility of approach, listening to unpopular and different views in order to come up with a shared longer term resolution. Politicians able to deal with FUD, fear uncertainty, doubt (Susan Cain, Quiet).

Each of us individually makes up our own mind, guided by those around us, about how we want to live our life. The more empowered we feel the greater amount of choice we feel able to exercise. Some of that empowerment rests in the physical world, money and privilege affect our life outcomes; however there is an element that rests in our internal world and how able we feel to make the most of the opportunities around us. Recognising the ways we stop ourselves taking advantage of the opportunities life presents us with can be an important first step to finding the right life for you.

If you are a woman and would like to find out more about choosing the life you want for yourself take a look here.

What I am known for!

February 2, 2015 @ 7:30 am

“You’re the trainer who insists we take a lunch break”. I was delighted to be greeted by this in the introduction to one of my recent courses. Yes I hope I am known as the trainer who insists on self care. My passion is quality of services available to those who need them and equally passionately I believe that having a workforce that values and cares about itself  is an essential ingredient for good quality services and compassionate care.

When I qualified 25 years ago that was enshrined in the practices of social work.  Sadly it’s no longer the case. There seem to be expectations that everyone works longer than their contracted hours unless you leave to continue looking after others; children and vulnerable adults. The boundaries around training and leave were kept. Other people managed your absence rather than contacting you and expecting you to respond when you were out of the office.

It seems as if the priority for action has become the system rather than those expecting a service whether that’s a child, vulnerable adult or family member. Casualties in the process also have been the children of the workforce who come very low down organisational priorities and the workforce in terms of their own personal and professional development. Recognising limits to capacity or asserting the needs of others that workers have responsibilities to are seen as weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

No wonder we’re a long way from being able to provide compassionate care to the most vulnerable in our society.

These patterns occur in many professions. Long hours and devotion to work are seen as essential criteria. Rather than living balanced and compassionate lives connected to families, friends and our communities. As we examine how the wealthy live perhaps these values are coming under scrutiny.

So I am pleased that I can unite with other Renew You trainers to buck this trend and offer women safe, nurturing spaces to develop their potential. It is a prerequisite of my Renew You course that lunch,  as well as the time to eat it in, is provided.


Gobbled up by the machine

January 12, 2015 @ 4:54 pm

Returning to work as well as the events in France this week have provided space for some thoughts to coalesce around some ideas which I will explore in the next few blog posts.

For me there is a mirroring of events on the global stage and issues arising for social care practitioners. Because of this mirroring, I suspect these issues reach beyond those working in social care and resonate for many of us as we think about the quality of our lives; our dreams and aspirations personally and for future generations.

This post explores the role of computers and modern technologies. To what extent are we gobbled up by machine or in charge and using machines to our advantage? There seem at times to be unstoppable demands and expectations by computers which require us collectively and individually to unplug ourselves from. Taking stock after your first complete week of the New Year who is in charge of the demands on your time – you or are you subject to the expectations of the machines? The computer we thought would ease our lives now rebukes many professionals with lists of unreasonable deadlines which cannot be adjusted to allow for any additional demands being made.

An interesting idea is that there is a behavioural shift occurring about how our use of technology is increasing expectations that everything is available NOW, not just in the public sector but permeating everywhere. This means that those providing services are expected to be accountable at all times. Why didn’t you answer the phone, respond to my text/email/tweet? How quickly is a response permissible and when does not responding change into transmitting a message of forgetting or ignoring the sender. How much can individuals negotiate these expectations and manage them in such a way as to be reasonable?

The resulting question therefore is how do you protect your self from unreasonable demands. Who defines what is reasonable, you, your manager or external agencies? How do you manage your staff realistically about what is achievable, what aspirational (after all we need to have a level to be challenged) and when do you tell your manager that their expectation of what you and your staff can achieve is not in fact the case.

Making new habits

January 7, 2015 @ 7:42 am

Apparently it takes 28 days to change a habit. Sounds manageable doesn’t it? What resolutions did you make last week? How are you getting on with them? Changing a habit requires an idea of what you want to achieve and things that motivate you in getting there; especially at the point when you want to revert to a familiar and comfortable way of being.

Which habits would you really like to change and what support do you need in order to succeed?

I’ve noticed on twitter the 100 days challenge:most memorably decided she was going to do a hundred gigs in as many days. Well it works because once you have done something for a hundred days you have established a new habit. It works because at the point you thought about giving up you had a finite amount of time left for your challenge.

My challenge for 2015 is to write something every day for 100 days. Perfectly reasonably my daughter said “for your blog?” No not necessarily, ” a diary then?”, again, no, not necessarily. My challenge to myself is to write. If you become a regular reader of this blog you may see some of the results, however my ambition is not to write a 100 blog posts or 100 diary entries, it is to master the challenge of writing everyday. Writing when I do not want to or have nothing to say. My ambition is to enhance my writing abilities and hone them from regular practise.

What is your 100 day challenge?

Renew You 2015

January 5, 2015 @ 6:30 pm

I love the New Year. It’s time to take stock, review my goals and decide in which direction to head. I love the spring time when the promise of new life emerges increasing expectations. I love the autumn and the dedication of another academic year when achievements can begin and learning challenges embraced. You’ve probably got the message by now; I like to reflect on my dreams and aspirations. However they need to lead to actions and a sense of progress, otherwise it’s a demoralising prospect. For me the secret is small, manageable steps, which is why having 3 periods during the year to review suits me. There also has to be realism; what is achievable and within my control and what could I achieve with support from others, how likely is it I will get that support? For others they identify a life plan or a 5 year one. We all need to decide a method uniquely suited to each of us.

Whichever is your preference Renew You courses are designed to offer women a safe, women-only space to reflect on their life plan and how they want to use the next year in working towards it, in whatever size steps suits them. In 2015 I am joining with other Renew You trainers to celebrate the period in March, which includes International Women’s Day and Mothering Sunday, offering as many women worldwide as we can reach, the opportunity for a Renew You workshop; a day to re-energise ourself. If you live in Dorset please contact me to book your place. If you are looking elsewhere a list of other venues is available here

What are you waiting for?

Recent Work

My new book Using Supervision in Schools is published. I am very pleased that this collaborative effort with Jo Rowe and colleagues in education settings is now in print and available. Training in supervision is also available through In-Trac Training and Consultancy . Please read on to find out more.

Read more

Delighted that this article, co-authored with a fellow In-Trac Associate, Bridget Rothwell, has just been published. We are keen as trainers to keep a dialogue going between practitioners and academics about how supervision continues to be useful in practice and what supports the conditions to be an effective supervisor. I continue to offer supervision training through In-Trac to supervisors working in children’s services, early years and school settings.

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