if you knew what I know…

It’s always easier to list tools and rules and pretend that’s all folks need to do a difficult, complex  job, under pressure and midst competing demands and increasing pressure to monitor performance.

Tick the box training

Its a game: boards, funders , executives, managers – organisations – love it. Its easy to say – “we gave you the training”, “we gave you the tools”.
And when  performance falls short the higher ups call in the experts to  get workers trained and tooled up again.

And when a worker, and especially unions,  can always claim – you didn’t give me/us the tools / I used the tools/ followed the rules, not my fault.

But does it really work? is it the best way to invest in learning and improving?

or is it really about liability and blame and fault.?

Workers are trained to think of  people they support as “case” objective entity  not disimilar to a cardboard box on a production line. Workers apply all the tools, rules, protocols working on their  “the case” and when the case remains on their charge for “too long” then they apply more tools to refer to other services with other tools and rules to apply.

So the judgement is, we need more tool, rules…It the same basic dynamic as a “patient” being rejected by a hospital – wlked out under musclebound escort labelled again, this time as “unresponsive to treatment” – not that the treatment didn’t work or was simply shite – of course its the patient’s fault, silly!

The “case” remains on someone’s charge, and the “case” is in reality not a file or number on a computer but a human life.

Tools and rules are useful but can take you only so far: doing dfficult work in messy human situations is more complex than that. Is it about tools or people?

pass the parcel

Our current methods train workers to regard people they support  as “case” as in “problem case”, and to apply rules, protocols, tools in order to solve, deal with or refer, discharge the case. Its mental health and social and community services organised as flow chart and  pass-the-parcel.

And this leaves many workers feeling not much more well than the diagnosed people they are paid to support.

Workers in mental health are already overburdened with rules, protocols, tools, therapies modalities, models, schmodels and vogues. What we need is for workers to be able to create space to remain human midst that and to be able to connect as fellow humans with the people they support.

we need more than more-of-the-same-old-same-old

Workers in mental health need more than more-of-the-same-old-same-old so that they can offer more-than-more-of-the-same-old-same-old to the people who need it most.

That requires of us to develop new ways of seeing , listening , being. Yes, it is harder to do , harder to learn and as a trainer, much hard to design and deliver.  For managers its harder to manage – and measure and for workers its harder to learn . But it is what we need to do more of.

we need more of something else

The results are not simply a thicker rule book, or a bigger collection of tools, but “life-changing”, “mind altering”, world “changing”.

And when as worker we find ourselves in this new place, new way of thinking, new way of understanding , new way of being,  then  anything becomes a tool.

Tools and rules or new understanding…you choose.

inspired by Seth Godin’s thought from Tue 25 Sep

“If you knew what I know…”

“you’d see it was obvious.”

This is the foundation of the rational pitch, of the fact-based marketing campaign.

Two challenges:

1. Can you teach us what you know?


2. Once we know what you know, will we actually think it’s obvious, or is this also a matter of belief or worldview?

It’s a very different thing to say, “If you believe what I believe, then this path would be obvious…” because getting someone to share your beliefs is far more difficult than getting them to know what you know.

Obvious is a good place to be if you can get there.


About recoverynetwork:Toronto

We believe people can and do recover from "mental illness" - because we are living it. We believe in the power of supporting each other: learning from and with each other. You are welcome to join us..
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