We are currently working in Dumfries and Galloway on a programme that aims to support team leaders from five external home care providers and one in house provider, to develop and implement new skills to embed person-centred practices into the customer journey.
The theme for our third day together was the team. It makes sense that in order to deliver great person centred support team members need to be person centred in their relationships with each other. A person-centred team is a team that has a clear sense of purpose, knows what’s important to and how best to support team members and identifies and uses team members’ gifts and strengths. The goal of a person-centred team is not just to get along however but to be aligned and through that get results.
A Clear Sense of Purpose
If you don’t have a clear direction of travel any path will do!
Person-centred teams have a clear, compelling and shared sense of purpose that is closely aligned with the mission of their organisation.
We started by asking team leaders to think ahead & if their services were truly personalised what would they look like? What if person-centred thinking tools were embedded as typical practice & all reviews were person centred reviews, leading to outcomes people wanted to achieve? What would your service look like, what would the stories be?
We did this using an exercise called Front Page News which got our team leaders to imagine their organisation had made the front page of the newspaper in three years time. What is the headline that will make people stop & pick up the paper? What are four stories that describe what’s happening and what are people saying about their organisation? This helped them to visualise what success would look like and how the future could be.
Team leaders also referred back to the one-page strategy generated by the leadership team right at the start of this process.
Identifying success moved onto developing a team purpose. A team purpose is a statement which affirms who you are and what you stand for as a team, a statement that will be inspiring and uplifting for the team and keep the energy focussed on helping people get better lives. A clear sense of purpose is the foundation for team members knowing what they want to achieve and is more likely to lead to exceptional performance.
We asked our participants to start with timed talk. During this activity they worked in pairs giving full attention whilst one person talked uninterrupted for 3 minutes about what they thought was the purpose of their team, then to swap roles for another 3 minutes and then finally to discuss together to come up with a shared purpose statement in 3 minutes. This can be a useful tool for team leaders to encourage all team members to have equal opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas.
The act of co-producing the teams’ purpose helps its members to buy into ownership of the ensuing work and outcomes. The team purpose is a grounding element that should remain constant and team leaders can then rely on the purpose statement to refocus the team during confusing or chaotic times. When making decisions the team can check will the decision move us towards or away from our purpose.
Knowing what’s important to and how best to support its team members
Last time we met, the team leaders spent some time developing their own one-page profiles. We also asked them to start the process of developing one-page profiles with members of their team and today they quality checked these. This meant checking that the information on each one-page profile was specific, detailed and useful. To find out more on one-page profiles and getting them right, click here for a poster that explains more.
The team leaders then practised using information from their one-page profiles to put together a team one-page profile. We used a team foundation poster displaying the team purpose and information about each participant. This is a visual summary of the team’s individual one-page profiles that captures each person’s top 3 appreciations, important to and how best to support statements. The team one-page team profile records what people appreciate, like and admire about the individual team members enabling colleagues to consider the gifts and strengths of each other as they go about their everyday work and allocate roles and tasks based on these. We then capture what is important to us as a team.
The groups then developed a set of team agreements, things that everyone in the team will sign up to so as they work more effectively together.
We finished the day by working through the Stress and Support tool. This is a particularly useful tool in supervision sessions and requires each person in the team to reflect on the following questions: What makes me most stressed? How do I usually react to being stressed? What helps: What can I do? What I would like you to do.
So over the next three weeks the team leaders will be focussing on developing person centred teams by developing their team purpose together, creating a team foundation that reflects what’s important to the team as a whole and using this to develop agreements/ground rules for the team to best support each other.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Helen Keller