Aspire to lead graduates reflections (cohort 3)
Our words have power….our words have a profound effect on others. Words can cause pain, words can cut, words can cause real wounds ……words can tear you down. Talking insensitively can leave other people feeling insecure or somehow diminished. Sarcastic jokes or comments, quotes and aphorisms that point out another’s deficiency, even certain gestures and facial expressions, can all serve as weapons…..to destroy others.
On the other hand kind words can build us up, they can release life…they can bring healing into our heart and mind…..they can bring healing and restoration into our relationships. They can alleviate loneliness, build self confidence, uplift and encourage. Kind and caring words spoken with sensitivity can strengthen the bond between us and help us to show love and respect towards one another.
It all depends on our attitude towards each other…. ultimately our attitude will shape our words!
By tuning into the needs of the people to whom one speaks, a person can generate immeasurable good into this world.
The local ASPIRE to lead programme was the catalyst for this blog to share with colleagues across Dumfries and Galloway our learning about noticing and notching up language. The focus of this programme has encouraged us to reflect on the language we use on a regular basis the top 2 being “deal with” and “so” and reflect on how respectful this sounds and lands with people. We would like to share with you some of the resources from University of the West of Scotland by Professor Belinda Dewar – A Way with Words.
We invite you to reflect on your own “way with words” and use the poster to explore what you tend to say and what you could say to explore how changing our words can help inspire, motivate and bring about positive provocations.
The seven C’s of Caring Conversations
A tool that we learnt at Aspire to Lead which helped us all to master our words in a
way that will always bring us closer to others, will always help others to
improve their self image, allow them to express who they really are and what they
really want. An integral part of developing and exploring our language to better fit a
positive culture is using the 7C’s of conversation.
Communication is key; how often do we hear this? The Senses framework is a useful tool to enhance communication and good relationships whether it is personally or professionally.
When having a conversation check to make sure all aspects of the Senses are being met. Be curious with each aspect of the Senses Framework and discover together what is helpful for goals and individual needs to be met.
If you are having a difficult conversation, which aspect of the senses framework is not being met for each of you?
We would like to share our reflections and what helped to empower patients and colleagues to express their ideas to co-create services
Appreciative language and the 7C’s helped me build confidence to be curious and consider others perspectives more – staff and patients. I learnt to ask more open questions with people, and to feel more comfortable with pauses before jumping in with solutions myself. As a result, people who came to the falls classes were empowered to ask for and suggest change. My ASPIRE project started with co-creating the content of the falls classes. Since then we have used appreciative inquiry to redesign the Rehabilitation Day Unit into the Community Link Unit, and my colleagues are now taking this into the community on their own. For me this is really what ASPIRE is all about – it starts with a small drop of water and the ripples go further than you’d think.
During the Project which I did with Aspire to Lead I have used 7 C’s to receive feedback from our patients about how they felt during the recent changes and developments at our Macula Service. Using the 7 C’s has helped us to really find out what matters to them the most.
Based on the information we received from our patients we managed then to further shape our services in a way that made them happier and more satisfied than before.
During my Aspire to lead journey, I used image cards at the beginning and end of a Dafne Pump week long course to capture expectations and experiences of the course. These sessions were always part of the course curriculum and delivered using verbal only methods. I changed this session by inviting participants and facilitators to choose an image that described how they felt about starting the course and how they felt after completion. It is worth noting that people are invited to only share what they feel comfortable with. The sharing generated was much more detailed and allowed emotional connection within the group. All of which influenced discussions and interactions throughout the week and at follow up appointments.
Since completing the Aspire to Lead programme we would like to share how changing our language and using appreciative inquiry has lead to successful projects and career progression
Since ASPIRE, I have been able to use appreciative language to be courageous about how I feel in the moment. I have been able to communicate my goals in my career, and my needs as a person at home in a clearer way. I am now in a Trainee Improvement Advisor, undertaking the Scottish Improvement Leaders (ScIL) course. ASPIRE gave me the tools to compromise and collaborate with people in situations I previously would not have had the self confidence to try.
Aspire to lead has provided me with many valuable tools that I use daily in my professional and personal life. Using these skills I have been able to be more courageous. I have recently started a secondment with the patient safety and improvement team out with my clinical speciality. During this time I have been involved in several improvement projects all of which I have continued to notch up my skills from Aspire by working collaboratively with others and also celebrating achievements. Probably the biggest challenge for me which I am still working on from the 7 C’s is sharing with people ‘how did that make me feel’, rather than what I think about the situation
Since Aspire I have become more conscious of my language and using the different Aspire tools have made a significant difference both in my personal and professional life. It has enabled me to be more courageous and become the STL for Ophthalmology. It has helped me to connect emotionally to team members and consider other perspectives while agreeing on different working arrangements. Following Aspire I have also completed the SIS Course at QI Hub and designed and led a major Service Development Project. Using appreciative inquiry has helped me to collaborate with all the major stakeholders. Using the 7 C’s of Caring Conversations has also helped me to enable the team to work together harmoniously towards achieving the aim of the project, which is ultimately to make our patients happier by seeing them closer to their home address in the West of D&G. Finally I got accepted unto and started in September 2018 Cohort 11 of the Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship! I am excited about this amazing opportunity and I am curious about the work of other fellows. I feel the next step for me is to encourage the team(s) I am working with to celebrate more our successes and achievements!
Give it a go……. Consider notching up your language at your next handover, meeting or general conversation with colleagues, family and patients.
A ctivate knowledge
S killful Communication
P otential to Grow Leadership Skills
I nnovate and improve
R esults that Make a Difference
E nergise self and Others
For further information on resources mentioned throughout the blog please see link below:
Useful link for Language matters in diabetes:
Thank you to Alice Wilson, Deputy Nurse Director who was the inspiration behind the Aspire to lead programme and our programme facilitators Belinda Dewar and Fiona Cook from University of the West of Scotland, Karen Hills and Bill Irving from NHS Dumfries and Galloway.
Sheena MacDonald is a Specialist Dietitian and Trainee Improvement Advisor at the Diabetes Centre
Emma Reid is a Specialist Physiotherapist and Trainee Improvement Advisor
Susanna Boytha is a Consultant Ophthalmologist
All of the authors work at NHS Dumfries and Galloway