Posted by Steve Scown at 01/07/2014 15:01:51
As someone who believes firmly in leading by example, I developed my one-page profile some time ago and asked my colleagues to help me. By engaging with them in this way I had to think more deeply than I had before about what I needed from the people around me and about what was really important for me, as opposed to a long nice-to-have list.
At Dimensions we have been working towards becoming a more person-centred organisation for a number of years. As one of the leading not-for-profit providers of care and support services, we have recognised the responsibility upon us not to only provide person centred services for the people with learning disabilities and autism we support, but also to share our learning across our sector and other industries. One-page profiles have proved to be an incredibly powerful tool in helping us fulfil both of these aspirations.
My own introduction to one page profiles came as a result of our work with Helen Sanderson Associates (Making it Personal - the book) and their potential use across many aspects of our business was soon evident.
After I had completed my profile, it was posted here on our website along with profiles for our executive team and members of our board. I have been struck by the number of companies who have remarked how useful these were in helping them understand how to engage more effectively with us as individuals and as a company. Recently a team of legal advisors bidding for our contract came along to the interview with their own one page profiles as a result of seeing ours on our website.
We have, since this initial phase, begun to use them right across the business as well as embedding them as a critical tool in how we support people. In short they have become recognisable as part of 'how things are done in Dimensions'.
In our services they have enabled us to link people with similar interests. After all when being helped to bake a cake, it's a much nicer to be supported by someone who loves cooking and baking as opposed to someone like me who regularly burns toast and whose passion is rugby.
In addition to their use in services we have more recently strived to get one-page profiles embedded in our business support departments. Visitors to our offices will find a file with the profiles of people who work in that office - this has helped people break the ice when meeting someone for the first time. Attaching links to profiles on our e-mail footers has also helped remotely based staff feel more conformable phoning people they haven't met who work in our centrally based teams rather sending the usual e-mail query. Many of our business support teams have developed team profiles to help others understand ‘what makes them tick’.
As with most things that require a change in behaviour (individual or corporate) and which brings about material benefits it hasn't all been smooth sailing. Some people have had concerns re sharing personal information. I think the key here has been to help people remember they are in control of the information they share and that the aim is to help people connect more easily with them. In such busy times it's also easy to see these as a task that once it's done is done. Our learning has been that they are more effective when they are alive and are updated as we grow and develop as individuals as opposed to something you create once and file away.
I think the introduction and embedding of one page profiles has made a really positive impact upon how we work and our organisational culture (see 101 Ways to use a One Page Profile!). But, I don't think we've finished yet - looking ahead we will continue to think and develop new ways of using them. Already we're thinking of how we could embed them as a key part of our recruitment process and I can see us asking families to complete a profile so our staff can better understand what is important for them and how we can better connect.
So if you've got any ideas on how we can use them or would like to know more about our journey please feel free to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Scown is Dimensions Chief Executive. You can follow him Twitter at @sscown
Last Spring, we wrote about how we were putting in place the foundation blocks to enable the organisation move forward on our personalisation journey:
Fast forward almost a year, and we've achieved a lot. Our Personalisation Blog written over that year charts the recent journey and adventures we've been on.
In summer last year, we also introduced you to John,a family member who is involved in the journey for Emily, along with other members of her circle of support. John was excited about personalisation because our approach reflects the aspirations that he, and others, have for Emily.
Below is an update from John about what’s been happening recently. It tells the tale of his experience of ‘Planning Live’ – the event written about in our last blog.
Whilst John’s experience highlights what a positive event Planning Live can be, it is also a useful reminder that you need to know the allocation of money before you start, and that this can be a challenging process.
“The Planning Live! Event took place over one day. Emily’s supporters were us (her parents), her brother, another member of her Circle of Support and her key worker. Our starting point was an understanding of what is important to Emily and what is important for her, derived from work already done by her Circle of Support. The process then took us through a series of steps which led to defining a Perfect Week for Emily and the actions necessary to put that into practice, which clearly present a number of challenges.
The Event showed that the Planning Live! process could be fully relevant for Emily, who has complex needs, provided all those supporting her understand and are realistic about her skills and abilities. The discussion on Hopes and Dreams in particular focused strongly on the aspiration of her supporters that she should receive care and support which is both high quality and delivered consistently, independent of us as parents.
The Event did not include consideration of funding for the activities in the Perfect Week (“In My Control” Costs) because the results from the Care Fund Calculator had not yet been finalised. Further discussion will inevitably be required when the results are available. We also thought that “Core Support” Costs may be an issue if we are to establish funding which fully reflects Emily’s need for extensive staff time for meals and other personal care, for a proactive approach to health care and for very specific communication needs.
Overall, we felt that the process could provide a real opportunity to move towards a more personalised service and sits well with the objectives and actions of Emily’s Circle of Support.”
So, a year on – the foundations blocks are now being built on, and hopefully all of those processes and systems and strategies we have put in place are helping other people, like Emily, to move towards a life with more choice and control.