Course Design

Customer Service – What your team need to know

customer service

Customer Service – What your team need to know

Having just spent a brilliant day with London’s newest train operator MTR Crossrail we thought that it would be good to share some insight into excellent customer service. You may be aware that we worked really hard in the run up to London 2012 with the London Ambassadors, staff at City Hall and the service personnel who did such a great job securing the Olympic and Paralympic games. We were involved with training, coaching, consulting and monitoring performance.

Top Tips for effective customer service

Understand what the term “customer” means. Many business’ don’t.

DefinitionA customer is someone who receives something we provide, either a product or a service or information.

You will note here there is no mention of payment! Most operational employees of organisations rapidly identify where the “money” comes from, but fail to see the frequent “internal” customer and supplier chains. These chains are the ones which ensure the external customer gets great service. They also help ensure the business is there for the long term, which is great for job security..

It would be daft to say that every customer is the same, because we are all unique, different individuals. However we can identify similarities in customers that will lead to particular customer service outcomes.

Elective Customers

These are the people that recognise they have a choice for the provision of goods, services and information. They have the ability to move from supplier to supplier as a better deals or products come to the market. They are not Elective customertied in to the supplier. Organisations really fight hard to keep these customers by offering all kinds of loyalty bonus’, reward cards and incentives to attract customers back. When you genuinely have a choice would you put up with crappy products and services? Neither would we, so we go to the competition. So organisations really want to impress the Elective customers…. and do so by encouraging excellent customer service.

Captive Customers

There are a vast array of business’ that have captive customers. Look at your phone. Did you get swayed by the Captive Customershiny latest model and then sign away a 24 month contract to someone who knows it will cost you money to get out of their contract. The more complacent of these firms offer “new customer only” deals, which are far better than yours… If you are a captive and happy customer then well done to you and the supplier. The reality is that many of these business’ know you are captive and get complacent, until month 22…. when you start to become elective again and get better customer service.

Unwilling customers

Why would anyone be an unwilling customer? It doesn’t make sense! Well every time there is a bank holiday in the town we live in the refuse collection gets varied by a day or so. Every time that happens our rubbish isn’t collected, Unwilling customersso we have bins full of household waste that sits for … well… The service supplier that takes our bin has a two week cycle, week 1 rubbish, week 2 recycling. Not a service level agreement we wanted, but that’s it! So when a failure happens on August 28th the next time the bin gets taken is September 11. Can you imagine what the sardines we didn’t quite finish on the 14th of August are like now? BUT we have no choice in that supplier, and they know it, and they don’t care until their contract is up for renewal in 5 years…… so much for customer service.

Non Users

How can someone be a customer without using a product, service or information? In the UK cash is moved from Non Userbanks and shops to cash centres and then back to banks and shops. It is done by several companies, but the largest is G4S Cash Solutions Ltd. They protect their employees well with good vehicles, body armour and training, making it very difficult for “baddies” to steal from them. Fewer thefts mean that insurance premiums stay low, so when we go to insure our homes, lives etc the premiums are lower because of G4S! Even though we don’t use their products.

If it was your business…

We always try to deliver customer service that recognises our customers as elective, it keeps us focussed, ensures we pay attention to detail, makes us really listen to our customers. If you would like to find out more about the training, coaching and development work that we do please contact:

Richard by Email or twitter

Paula by Email or Twitter

or call us on 08712 349 873

ROI – Return on Investment for training events

ROI Training

ROI – Return on investment for training events, how do you KNOW you have got it?

This is the simple question that many clients really want to know the answer to. How will I be able to demonstrate to the business that my training intervention has had an effect on the employees, customers and the culture of the organisation? We have been working on a straight forward way to help with this, to really mark individuals positions at the start of an intervention and then revisit those positions at the end.

So how do PDP do that?

Firstly with some time dedicated to talking to you about your development needs, organisational culture and desired outcomes. This consulting and communication process is critical to build confidence, objective outcomes and behavioural measures. Lots of development organisations outsource their behavioural measurement to third parties. We never do. We want your needs to drive the process, not someone else’s 360 model.

Most of our partner organisations have their own behavioural competence frameworks, used for the measurement of progress, gap analysis and often appraisals. We always look to use these in a simple, digestible format. We turn your framework into pictures!  Pictures that generate discussion, highlight realities, are by definition not verbose and open to misinterpretation.

Here is an example of a 360 picture taken at the start of a series of management development workshops.

360 degree picture

 

 

 

This particular organisation has four main competence areas that its managers need to work to. Delivering Results, Setting the Direction, Leadership and Working with Others. These main heading areas are then spilt into the more detail by describing 14 key competency areas. Your business will not be exactly the same, but similar principles probably exist.

The blue line indicates the self assessment of the individual against all these areas. The red line indicates the views of five others who sit around that colleague.  In this scenario at least 1 customer was asked to contribute, because the business holds customer care as one of its strongest values.

Learning from phase 1?

Loads!

The individual;

  1. takes time to look at the competence framework and self assess
  2. gets a good picture of their performance against the frame work
  3. is informed about how other see them at work…..

 

The diagrams are sent to the individual a week before a scheduled 1 hour meeting with us. The purpose of the meeting is to build some rapport with colleagues and to explore areas where development may be required and strengths celebrated. This can be the start of really a meaningful coaching relationship, to set the focus on the training programme and its benefits.

 

The organisation;

  1. gets a snapshot of individuals performance at the start of the programme
  2. identifies where people are significantly at variance with their circle of colleagues
  3. often becomes aware of unknown skill shortages, which may be addressed within the development programme

The training intervention

 

Based on the outcomes of the first 360 and the associated coaching sessions the content and time frame of the training events are agreed. usually along with a coaching session “mid-Term”. At the end of the programme delegates revisit the 360 process. Take a look at the second chart, which was undertaken by the same colleague 9 months after the first 360.

360 end picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what does this tell us?

It indicates lots of things that are really important to the individual, their team and the business.

  1. the individuals view of himself is much closer to that of their peers.
  2. the competence areas are all outside of the “usually” sphere, where we would expect effective managers to be
  3. there is demonstrable growth in several of the competence areas from both the individual and their peers
  4. a 9 month intervention has developed this person at work. When the organisation looks at all the individuals we can measure the impact of the training across the business
  5. now we are in this position it is possible look forward to the next challenge, knowing where the people are
  6. a culture of coaching is becoming “normal” within the company because individuals know it works

 

 

Would you like to know more about PDP and how we can help with your training development?

Contact us by Email Richard or Paula,

by telephone on 08712 349 873

by Twitter  Richard or Paula

We would love to buy you a coffee!

 

 

Change – Make it happen using Kotter’s 8 stage model

Kotter's 8 stage model

Change – Make it happen using Kotter’s 8 stage model

In our last blog we explored the things that need to happen before you try to apply this really useful model. We looked at the importance and skills of objective setting, the application of PESTLE to clarify your thinking. Click here to see that blog.

Once you have that vision and have applied the PESTLE analysis to it, you can progress to using Kotter’s 8 stage model.

1 Create a sense of urgency

Create a sense of urgencyIdentify Market and competitive realities
Identify and discuss crisis, potential crisis and major opportunities

Often this is where leaders will miss the opportunity to “Aim for the Heart”, they rely on the application of pure logic to convince people. Leaders that connect with people’s values are much more likely to be successful. We can use crisis as an opportunity maximiser here. “We must react and react quickly”, inaction can be fatal.

 

 

 2 Build a guiding team

Change PowerAssemble a group with enough power and influence to lead the change effort
Encourage the group to work as a team and develop team work

How many business’ assemble a team of people without the passion, power or influence to make things happen. The idea is probably a sound one but other people’s power will kill it off. We really need to have people on board with both high levels of power and positive attitudes,  YOUR ALLIES.(Click here to see our blog on Influencing)

 

 3 Develop a change vision

Develop a change visionCreate a vision to help direct the change effort
Develop strategies for achieving that vision

 The vision must be:
· Imaginable: They convey a clear picture of what the future will look like.
· Desirable: They appeal to the long-term interest of employees, customers, shareholders and others who have a stake in the enterprise. They help with motivation.
· Feasible: They contain realistic and attainable goals.
· Focused: They are clear enough to provide guidance in decision making.
· Flexible: They allow individual initiative and alternative responses in light of changing conditions.
· Communicable: They are easy to communicate with confidence and can be explained quickly

 

 

4 Communicate the vision buy in

Vehicle to communicateUse every vehicle possible to communicate the new vision and strategies
Teach new behaviours by example

 communicating the vison is simple when it is;
· Simple: No techno babble or jargon.
· Vivid: A verbal picture is worth a thousand words – use metaphor, analogy and example.
· Repeatable: Ideas should be able to spread by anyone to anyone.
· Invitational: Two-way communication is always more powerful than one-way communication.

 Vision 1

We hope to reduce our lead time with products and services so that we are able to facilitate the needs of our customers, employees and suppliers making their objectives central to the vision of our business resulting in synergies for everyone.

OR…………

Vision 2

We will be faster and more accurate than anyone else – satisfying stakeholders needs.

Which one can you repeat? which one resonates? Simple! So don’t over complicate the vision.

5 Empower broad based action

Empower actionRemove obstacles to change
Change systems or structures that undermine the vision
Encourage risk taking, innovation, non-traditional ideas and actions

 You will need to deal with the lower level managers that keep on saying “if it isn’t broken don’t fix it”. They need to be very clear that we are going forward and that they need to be “on the bus.”

 

 

6 Create short term wins

 

create short term winsPlan for visible performance improvements
Create those improvements
Recognise and reward employees in the improvements

This is about deliberately creating some short term wins, about celebrating their effect. At this stage we need to be really high on planning and really low on praying!

 

 

7 Don’t let up

 

Don't Let UpUse increased credibility to change systems, structures and policy that don’t fit the vision
Hire, promote and develop “champions”
Re-invigorate the process with new projects, themes and change agents.

As the momentum is with you this is where the transformational leader uses the momentum to create even more change.

 

 

8 Make the change stick

 

Make it stickArticulate the connections between organisational success and the new behaviours
Develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession.

This is where we can identify the cultural change by reinforcing new values, by appointing people to the business who share those values. In this last stage we must make sure that the change is celebrated and communicated.

 

 

At PDP we are passionate about your business, your change and your views, please leave us some feedback about this blog via the comments box below……

Or contact us by email Richard or Paula

Or follow us on Twitter Richard or Paula

Or call us on 08712 349 873

We are here to help, lets get together over a coffee?

Time for Change? PESTLE – a tool to make your change happen

PESTLE

 

Time for Change? Practical things to make change happen.

Many organisations that we are associated with are really up for change, they understand the necessity for change, the opportunity for innovation, efficiency savings, team work and even re-organisation. Frequently change fails within business for some simple, straight forward, avoidable reasons. Let’s have a look at some of these pitfalls so that you and your business might be aware and avoid them.

We really like the work done by Kotter, his 8 stage change model is really useful, but needs some preparation.  (We will refer to his work in a future blog)

There are some fundamentals that we need to address if change is going to happen and they are frequently ignored. The first, having an objective, is highlighted in the clip below.

What is the change that we need to implement and why does this need to happen?

Well you are the expert in your business! but the following is a really useful model to use so that you can start to think about the pros and cons of any change once the objective has been formed. This model uses six separate areas of reflection that can then be divided between positive outcomes and negative outcomes.

 

PESTLE – what will the future look like when your “change” is embedded? What do you need to factor  in under the following headings. We find it useful to list the benefits and drawbacks here.

Worked example – “Should a  third runway be constructed at at Heathrow Airport?”

Politcial

PoliticalThe P in political can be a large or small one! It can be about National or International issues or local, even interpersonal politics? Every work place has stakeholders and they are usually political beasties.

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Potential for increased employment, further investment in the area, Heathrow being seen as an International hub, Closer working between central government and local authorities

Drawbacks; Danger for local MPs who might get voted out if they support the plan, widespread disruption for several years, impact on “newly” affected noise pollution areas

 

Economic

EnvironmentalWhat are the Economic factors in the change?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Massive investment in area and infrastructure, huge employment opportunities, attracts the best people to work and live near the airport, huge revenues for local authorities, Hotel and restaurant expansion, skills levels of workforce raised

Drawbacks; South East housing “bubble” further exacerbated, inequality of funding to other regions, transport implications in an already busy part of the UK

Social

SocialWhat are the social implications of the change, to organisations, teams , individuals, suppliers, customers and other stakeholders?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Employment, investment in hospitals, schools and infrastructure to support workforce

Drawbacks; Increased shift working, families cannot afford housing, potential for very desirable expensive housing only, blight on communities with noise, impact on “newly” affected areas of noise and emission pollution, creation of ghost towns?

 

Technological

TechnologicalWhat Technological advances or intervention can be used? Even if the advances are currently embryonic. Are there changes in technologies that potentially make the change redundant before it starts?

Heathrow Example

Benefits; Lower engine noise and emissions mean that the impact of more flights will not have an adverse effect on the population. Better sound proofing materials exist now, more accurate monitoring and recording of the  impacts are possible

Drawbacks; As planes get quieter we could put more flights through the existing runways, as IT technologies get better we could adapt and shorten the distance between take off and landings thus NOT requiring additional runway capacity

Legal

LegalWhat are the legal implications of the change OR the legal Implications of the Status Quo?

Heathrow Example;

Benefits; Government backing

Drawbacks; costly Public consultation process, lengthy appeals process, challenge to decision could come from several areas, local residents take action against the airport and it’s contractors.

Environmental

EnvironmentalWhat is the potential environmental impact of the change from Macro to Micro. Does standing still have a potentially negative Environmental Impact?

Heathrow Example;

Benefits;Newer Aircraft are less damaging to the environment, they carry more people, are more fuel efficient, emit less CO2

Drawbacks; Increasing the number of flights increases noise, pollution from CO2, damage to wildlife, potential physical and mental harm to residents.

PESTLE

Is a really useful consultation, communication, motivation and behavioural tool. The Heathrow expansion example is a bit simplistic, but within a relatively short time you can roll out the implications for your change idea and also explore the possible dangers of in-action. We encourage clients to use this tool as an integral part of the way that they lead and manage change. Can we help you through training, coaching, consulting and increasing confidence to do the same?

Contact us via Email Richard or Paula

Follow us on Twitter Richard or Paula

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Call us direct!  08712 349 873

 

 

 

 

Transactional Analysis: Crossed and Complimentary Transactions – Psychology for Business

Transactional Analysis:Crossed and Complimentary transactions

Ego States and Transactions

Last week, I introduced Dr Eric Berne’s concept of Transactional Analysis, and the three Ego States (parent, adult and child). I examined some of the language and behaviours attributed to each of these ego states, and have had some interesting feedback from readers of the article, including one individual who realised that she behaved like “a spoilt brat at Christmas” and used the term “I want..” when talking about presents.  Her husband said that he “always” got his wife everything on her list, even when it was expensive or difficult to obtain, “otherwise she sulked and made Christmas unbearable”.  Classic Child and Parent behaviour, which both parties recognised, both knew what to expect from the other and it seemed to work for their relationship (Complimentary Transaction).

I want to briefly explore the three ego states a bit further, and as you can see from the diagram below, the Parent ego state is divided into Critical or Controlling Parent and Nurturing Parent.                                                           Transactional Analysis

Critical or Controlling Parent

Can you think of occasions when you have been in one of these modes?  What behaviours did you display?  What language did you use?  Do you often find yourself saying “I sound just like my mum!”.  If you do, are you pleased or horrified? We internalise the words, voices, body language and rules from the parent figures from our childhood and use them again in adulthood.  Are you very critical and need to control situations and those around you?  Think back to someone in your past who may have displayed these same behaviours.  Why have you adopted them and in what situations?  How do others respond to you when you behave in this way, do they give in and agree with you (Complimentary transaction) or argue back so that you have to change your stance (Crossed transaction)?

 Nurturing Parent

The other aspect of the Parent ego state is the Nurturing part, and in the last article, I outlined how this came into play for me, when someone hit the back of my car, whilst I’d stopped at a red light.  After my initial shock and checking that there was no serious damage, I comforted the person who had hit me, as she was so apologetic and concerned for me (Complimentary transaction).  Part of my upbringing, was no matter what was happening to me, I had to always think about how others could be feeling and respond to them, i.e. even if you don’t like a Christmas present you’ve received you show some form of joy and gratitude, so as not to upset the other person.  You literally nurture their feelings.

The Child ego state can be divided into three sections: Rebellious Child, Adapted Child and Free or Natural Child, and these are self-explanatory.

Rebellious or Adaptive Child

Sometimes we rebelled and refused to say thank you for a Christmas present, or said it with bad grace so that it was obvious that we didn’t mean it.  Other times we may have been very dutiful and done as expected of us.  As adults now, how many of you are having a Christmas to please others rather than what you really want?  Are you happy cooking for everyone (Nurturing Parent), or would you have liked to be in a hotel somewhere putting your feet up, but are doing what others expect of you (Adaptive Child)?

Natural or Free Child

The Natural child ego state is when we behave in ways which have nothing to do with external pressures or remembered ways of behaviour and we are just ourselves.  We are spontaneous and independent of any rules about how we should behave, and what we should say, and people just have to accept us for how we are, when we’re in this ego state.

As the diagram above shows there are positive and negative aspects to each of these ego states and you can read more about them in Berne’s book ‘The Games People Play’.

 Complimentary and Crossed Transactions

Transactions are a form of communication, I might ask “Is the meeting still at 9am?” to someone in the office, and they might respond “Yes it is”.  This is a straight forward communication and if we keep this going, it would form a transaction chain.  It’s as this chain develops that we begin to see whether our transactions are complementary or crossed, and will have to make a decision as to whether to change our response in order to get a different outcome to the conversation.

 Complimentary transactions Transactional Analysis:Complimentary or crossed transactions

These are where the arrows in the diagram are parallel, and either means both parties are speaking from the same ego state as with the example above, where both were in Adult. Or where two people are happy with the status quo, such as in the husband and wife example at the beginning of this article.  The wife was in Natural Child and the husband was in indulgent Nurturing Parent mode and both were happy with each other’s standard responses, and so the lines stayed parallel.

As long as the lines of communication DO stay parallel, conversations and relationships run reasonably smoothly, even if it’s not on an Adult basis.  However, when individuals become confused about a situation, a task or a comment this is generally where crossed transactions occur.  For example if I ask you a question from my Adult ego state, such as “What’s the time please?” and expect an Adult reply, but instead receive “Have you lost your watch again!”, this shift will surprise me and I will try and move into a parallel or complimentary position, hence an answer from Controlling Parent could be  “You shouldn’t have moved it, then I would know where it is!”, or a move into Adaptive Child “I’m sorry, I left it by the sink upstairs”.

Crossed transactions                              Transactional Analysis: Crossed and Complementary transactions

The crossed transactions often happen due to people giving emotional responses to questions or situations, rather than assessing the situation and responding from the Adult ego state.  Reflect on the people who you find difficult at work, or situations at home that always start an argument, and begin to adjust your response accordingly. It’s similar to using the broken record technique when someone wants to argue with you, but this time you are choosing your words carefully so as not to inflame the situation, but to clarify your position.  If I said to a member of staff “Have you finished that report yet?” depending on my tone of voice and body language it could be seen as a Controlling parent comment, rather than an Adult question. My colleague could become defensive and say “No, you only gave it to me yesterday” (Rebellious Child).  It would then be up to me, to bring the conversation back into alignment, by not responding in the same manner, but perhaps saying “I know I only gave you the report to do yesterday, and was wondering if you needed any more information from me in order to complete it?”.

Transactional Analysis is a fascinating look at human behaviour and this article has begun to examine some of the intricacies of the three ego states.  Once you understand what drives certain aspects of your behaviour, you are then able to examine your conversations and transactions with others and adapt your response accordingly.

In the next article, we’ll look at the games people play both consciously and subconsciously.  Can you recognise the behaviour of someone who is smiling and has a light voice, but whose actual message is undermining you?  Email me with your exaperiences and I’ll include them in my next article.

 

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Do you NEED your workforce to #safeguard children?

Safeguarding

Do you NEED your workforce to #safeguard children?

Do you NEED your work force to #safeguard children, to not only to do the bare minimum? To understand that their actions can and do make a difference to the lives of others?

This challenge was put to us a while ago. We were asked to partner a large organisation with a statutory duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and a workforce that felt #safeguarding was a distraction from their daily duties.

But the “challenge” could easily have been similar with vulnerable adults, older customers or even customers from different ethnic backgrounds.

The challenge is about hearts and minds, about designing and delivering a course that inspires, motivates and changes behaviour. It is what we do here at PDP and we love it. Check  this out. Can we help your orgaisation move its culture forward?

The Grab

To move hear#safeguardts and minds you need to be inspirational, you need to quickly resonate with the audience and convince them that they can and MUST make a difference. In a previous blog on #safeguarding, workers moral and legal responsibilities were touched on. Here those responsibilities have to be  firmly addressed.

This is where our close consultations with you and your business come to the fore; we will utilise case studies or examples and put them into a national context. Then explore the real issues that face children in the UK in 2014, what that means, and the effect that your workforce can have on improving the lot of children. The impact of this session sets the tone for the rest of the training, firmly placing the responsibility where it should be, with adults that can make a difference. Your work force.

A public sector employee told me this story in 2009.

On official business a team of workers were asked to attend a basement property in London. The accommodation was described as being a cellar, a 1 room flat. In the room was a small galley kitchen, a shower curtain and loo and two beds. The double bed was where the two adults slept, the smaller bed for the three children living there. Now this at the very least describes a poverty issue, but possibly worse.

The workers had a hostile reception, but had to undertake some checks. During the investigation one worker noticed that the carpet has some strange shiny bits on it. On closer inspection there was evidence of rat excrement on the floor, there was a rat run in the room! Additionally there were soiled nappy’s and signs that one of the children hadn’t made it to the lavatory. I said to the employee how awful that must have been, he responded that they see this stuff “all of the time”.  I tried to empathise with him by saying how terrible it must be to work in rat infestation, rat excrement and human waste, to little avail. I asked him what they did.

They completed the work and left the property. I thought he was joking. I asked about the children. He told me that he worked for a particular arm of the public sector NOT Marks and Spencers. I can’t tell you the depth of horror I felt at this, but they needed to be moved forward. So I explained the following with the personal consequences that in-action could cause.

QUESTION: What should you say to this employee to try and demonstrate to him, and everyone else around that his response is inappropriate?  He has clearly missed the point, and needs to know that in 2014 he has a duty to report what he has seen. Even though its not his core job role, his duty to #safeguard children is still duty.

Stage 1

  • YOU KNOW that #SAFEGUARDING is really important, but don’t know how to do it.
  • EXAMPLE: Your first day in a new job. You have passed the interview you know that you are qualified, keen and ready to do the job. but you haven’t a clue of what to do! You are highly aware that you don’t know enough. You can’t really be left alone

Its called – Conscious Incompetence

Stage 2

  • #SAFEGUARDING is at the front of your mind and you are always aware of children at work.
  • EXAMPLE: In almost every job someone will take you under their wing and show you the ropes, make sure that you are safe to do the job before they release you into the wild. At this stage everything is done by the book, every “i “is dotted every “t” is crossed. Your minder, mentor, coach or buddy co-pilots with you.

Its called – Conscious Competence

Stage 3

  • #SAFEGUARDING is a natural thing, you assimilate risk and make quick, but accurate and appropriate decisions
  • EXAMPLE: After a while you become really proficient at your job, you have seen loads of examples of good and poor outcomes, you can see pitfalls and avoid them, so don’t need to use all of your brain power to complete tasks because you are becoming the expert.

 Its called –Unconscious Competence

Stage 4

  • This is where colleagues get dulled by what they see.  When things are seen frequently they become NORMAL when they are not. #SAFGUARDING ceases to happen because your focus is on other things that seem to be really important at the expense of all else
  • EXAMPLE: When people have been doing a job for a while, they can become resistant to change, take the eye off the ball, operate without much thought to things that should be important. This is like picking up your phone whilst driving, people do it but they shouldn’t.

Its called – Unconscious Incompetence

And this stuff gets business’ a bad name, employees the sack and tragically more children become statistics because someone that should have done better didn’t!

Don’t allow your teams to be unconsciously incompetent.  Let us help you to design and deliver meaningful programmes that have an impact and make a difference to your business, colleagues job security and #Safeguarding #Children. Lets get the right things right.

Contact Richard or Paula to let them help out on 08712 349 873

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Follow Paula on Twitter or Richard on Twitter

Richard@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk

Paula@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk

#Safeguarding children – Your responsibility

#Safeguarding children - Your responsibility

#Safeguarding children – Your responsibility.

  • Q1. Should you have any? Well morally you should……
  • Q2.Do you have any? We don’t all share that moral imperative so some people turn a blind eye….
  • Q3.Does your place of work mean that responsibility is also a legal one? Many people that fit into Q2 also work in, or contract with, organisations that have a duty to #safeguard children. By working within that business you  have a legal duty to do the same.

 

#Safeguarding children – some facts…

 

Why is it so important that we #safeguard and promote the welfare of children? Have a look at this link, which isn’t graphic, but is informative.  (OFSTED VIDEO)

Where issues are seen to be real, are talked about, are factored into organisational behaviour we get better results.

Did you know that “20% of child deaths reviewed in England between 2010 and 2011 were from preventable causes including accidents, suicide, abuse, and neglect.” (Click to the Lancet research). #

According to the NSPCC (National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children)

“in in the 17-month period to the end of August 2008 local authorities in England notified Ofsted of 424 serious incidents involving the deaths of 282 children. This equates to 199 annually, or almost four children each week. Since publication of this report, Ofsted has clarified that 210 of these deaths, i.e. three each week, were actually attributable to abuse or neglect (Gilbert,2008).”

This was also within the time frame of Peter Connoly’s Death (Baby P).

Does that shock you? Revolt you? It is something that needs to change and is within all of our wit to change.

 

#Safeguarding Children – What can I do?safeguarding

Do you ever hear voices? I do, I have been checked out and I am OK! These voices say things to me like “what is happening there?”, “did she really say that?”, “What does that mean”, “OMG …!.”

We all have these voices and should try to turn up that volume when encountering children through our work (legal responsibility) but actually we ought to be doing this outside of work too… (moral responsibility?)

So what types of things might we encounter that would set these voices off, that might ring Alarm bells?

 

#Safeguarding – the 5 broad categories of abuse

In England and Wales there are 5 broad categories of abuse, which help us to focus on things that might be happening.

The numbers quoted here are attributed to the NSPCC (LINK)

 

Physical Abuse

  • hurting a child.
  • causing deliberate injuries.
  • 1 in14 children have been physically abused, 20% of the NSPCC helpline calls were about this last year.

 

Sexual Abuse

  • when a child is forced or coerced to take part in sexual activity, whether the abuse is physical or not. This includes grooming and online abuse.
  • 1 in three children that are sexually abused stay silent.
  • 1 in 20 children in the Uk have suffered sexual abuse.

 

Emotional

  • when a child is deliberately ignored, humiliated, isolated or scared.
  • 1 in 14 Uk children have suffered this from a parent or guardian.

 

Neglect

  • failing to meet a child’s basic needs through things like poor diet, emotional welfare, clothing, warmth and love.
  • 1 in 10 children have experienced neglect.

 

Domestic Violence

  • where children are present, when adults abuse each other, intimidate, bully or undertake acts of physical violence.
  • being present doesn’t need to mean in the room! Ever had your in-laws staying?
  • 1 in 5 children have been exposed to domestic violence.
  • 60% of serious case reviews quote domestic abuse as being a significant factor.

 The dangers of categorising abuse

WAbusee need to be able to describe what we have encountered in a logical clear way. This adds clarity to our referrals, but to attribute only one of these categories to a child is too simplistic. How can someone that is being beaten (physically abused) not also be a victim of Neglect and Emotional abuse. The categories can help us, but professionals always look at the broader picture.

I hope you found this interesting, in subsequent blogs we will look at what you can really see, hear and feel that would require you to take some action.

At PDP we consult, design and deliver programmes around safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children that are stimulating, engaging and developmental.  We recognise your business has its own specific needs and bespoke programmes accordingly.

Here is an example of direct feedback from the a customer last week

 

“I think this course was useful to everyone not just operational

staff, his personal knowledge on the subject was outstanding and his personal

experience helped to overview real scenarios as opposed to

made up scenario’s following a powerpoint.”

Let us help you and your business make a difference.

 Like us on Facebook Professional Development People and  Twitter @richardjonesPDP  or @therealme_PDP

or Email Richard@professionaldevelopmentpeople.co.uk

 

Useful other resources @nspcc @paladinservice @ceopuk

 

Bring policies and procedures to life

HR Policies and Procedures

 

Many organisations we work with have a wide range of support available to their managers. Yet still have problems with work based relationships. Their managers try to manage, but fall foul of mistakes that can easily be avoided. So how can they bring policies and procedures to life? Why should they?  Bringing policies and procedures to life allows managers to resource their staff, and workers to get on with their work without distractions.

Here is a model that we have developed at PDP.  It is getting really good results with managers in G4S a FTSE 100 company.

Bring policies and procedures to life – Consultation

  1. Hold a full and frank meeting with the client. Explore the needs and wants they have. Look at the current provision that exists to helppolicies 2 bring policies and procedures to life. Have a focused discussion on the outcomes required and the preferred method of delivering that outcome.
  2. Agree what must be in the training and what is up for negotiation. Is it about the outcome or the methodology? The outcome is to bring the policies and procedures to life. The previous methodology was to use two days of meticulously prepared powerpoint slides delivered by great HR specialists. Could it be that the outcome may be better achieved using specialist educators and engaging activities?
  3. Cool thinking and planning period.
  4. Return to the client with a proposal to address the topics raised in stages 1 and 2.
  5. Pilot the proposal with a mixed group of real managers
  6. Use the pilot data and feedback to tweak the programme
  7. Diarise the delivery
  8. Evaluate and review the programme and it’s effectiveness on managers behaviours in the business

 

The Design.

How “bringing policies and procedures to life” comes to life!

 

policies and proceduresAfter client consultation, they chose our bespoke two day training programme, replacing their previous one which had been delivered by the  in-house HR specialists. We managed to reduce the powerpoint reliance from 148 slides to NONE. We used several of the brilliant case studies generated in-house and repositioned them to have greater impact.

Housekeeping

Course beginnings, welcomes and objectives

Hearts and Minds

“The Grab” – Spheres of Influence, My responsibilities and duties, “Professional” attributes and behaviours. Behavioural Contract (see Previous Blog)

Personal values, professional values, conflicts and synergies. Understanding attitudes and behaviours (see our blog on Behaviours), the importance of Allports paradigm.

Policies and Procedures – Top Level

The Legal, Moral and Business case.

Recognising and understanding partnerships between Trades Unions and organisations. Why the unions and business share the desire for excellent work place behaviours and systems. Memoranda of Agreement.

Policies and Procedures – the vast array – taster session

Deciphering the difference between a policy and a procedure.

Exposure to a wide range of these, each delegate receives a policy and procedure to investigate and explain to the rest of the group. We deliberately chose a wide range of policies ranging from “time off for public duties” to “paternity leave”.

Policies and procedures – Specific Issues

The Master Class. Delegates placed into three groups and given the biggest issues for managers in the organisation. (As I am sure you understand those are confidential to our client!).  Groups self select their chosen area, depending on the manager’s perceived need. Teams spend a chunk of time discussing the policy, exploring the procedure and then presenting it back to the group as a whole. The presentations MUST be jargon free, showing charts, key times, rationale, potential pit falls and appeal details.

Case studies – Learning into practice

Suspension of a colleague – Who can, why they might, when they should.self-confidence

Three scenarios from the last year. What would you do? debrief in plenary

The Equalities Act 2010

Protected Characteristics – what they are.

How people are disadvantaged – Direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, discrimination by association, discrimination by perception, harassment, harassment by a third party, victimisation. Clearing the mist and explaining these in pertinent accessible ways.

Harassment at work

Case studies using the above, from real situations. As a manager what must you do? Individual work with group plenary.

Transition

So What? Trainer led discussion to identify specific actions from each delegate, time scales and willingness.

Closing Remarks.

The delegates loved the course.
It is starting to become the “must” attend event, waiting lists are growing and more events are diarised.
Contact Richard or Paula via the website if this approach is interesting to you and your business.

Staggering reduction in numbers for the unemployed!

Staggering unemployment results!

Getting the long term unemployed back to work

Government statistics yesterday told us that there were less than 2 million people unemployed. These are staggering unemployment results!  Is this just luck or a planned approach?  We worked with @protrainuk, last year on a pilot project as part of David Cameron’s agenda to try and get as many long term unemployed people back into work as possible.  Our project involved a combination of activities to raise their self-esteem and confidence, as well as enhance their core skills and the opportunity to gain a range of qualifications.   A tall order, especially when some of the participants could have fallen into the category outlined by Lord Freud as having “disabilities “, and so perhaps “could be paid as little as £2 an hour”

In relation to Lord Freud’s comment, the initial thing I noticed about working with this group, was the difference between who I thought I’d get on the course and who actually turned up.  My vision was coloured by the media who often portray this group of people as aggressive scroungers with violent dogs and unruly children. The type who you would see in the pubs all day, and who didn’t want to get a job unless it paid a minimum of £17,000 a year!

Unemployed or unemployable?

Don’t get me wrong, I did meet one or two people like that on this project, but the overwhelming majority were people who could have been you or I, who had experienced bad luck in work or their personal lives or suffered from mental health issues, from phobias, depression to full mental health breakdowns. On more than one occasion, I thought there but for the grace of God go I!  Would we be classed as having a disability and so be worth less in the job market?  In almost all cases, people WANTED to work, and would take any job, and had or were involved in voluntary work as well.Staggering unemployment results!

My role

For some individuals, our role was to challenge them, and say what they must do,  if they really wanted a job.  By offering constructive support most individuals in my groups rose to the challenge, and often began to think about what they could be and wanted to do.   We often were amazed during the mock interviews at seeing the change in people.  They were suited and booted and looked ready to tackle the world, and for these people being interviewed was as nerve racking as it got!  A significant number of my groups suffered from some form of panic attacks on the morning, but very few didn’t turn up, but went through the process, and tried their best to present themselves in as good a light as possible.
Myself and the other tutors ensured we built relationships with our groups, because we were going to be with them for a number of weeks and also to  be able to praise and support individuals when they felt they just couldn’t do it. Imagine what guts it took for them to enter a classroom environment with a load of other strangers in the first place. One man said to me, “You don’t know how many medical drugs I need to take just to be able to step foot outside of my front door”. Another told me “I have to fight with myself to come here everyday. My fear can be overwhelming”.  Some of these were the people that Lord Freud could have been referring to, and I must say, I felt passionate and proud of my involvement in this project, and honoured to meet some of these people, who had overcome so much anxiety and adversity to even get to my classroom door.  This took guts to do and probably was harder to overcome than the potential loss of some of their benefit, as was a sanction at the time, under the ‘Help to Work: New unemployment rules in force’.

The focus of the work we did with this group of clients, was no different to any we do with corporate training or personal coaching.  It still focused on developing individual’s self-esteem and self-confidence, and encouraging them to take risks in a learning environment. They developed key communication skills, both written and verbal, and also had the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications.  The only difference being, very few people thought this group would actually succeed in achieving these things.  They did!

What’s your view on how to help people return to work after a period of unemployment?  Contact Paula  @therealme_PDP

5 steps to running a successful parents’ support group

successful parents' support group

5 steps to running a successful parents’ support group

Reading an article regarding increasing parental involvement made me reflect on the value of setting up and running a successful parent’s support group, as early in the school year as possible.   As staff,  you will quickly become aware of those children who are engaging in  negative behaviours, and will begin trying to change that behaviour through rewards and sanctions, as well as talking 5 steps to running a successful parent's support groupto their parents about your concerns and trying to get them on board.

Some children are new to school life and are struggling to adapt to the formal nature of the setting and cry each time they are left or have regular tantrums throughout their time with you.  Some parents themselves are finding it difficult to leave their little ones,  cry at handover time, and are difficult to get out of the classroom.    I can look back on memories of cajoling parents into leaving their children, then moving onto guiding them to the classroom door, then physically shutting the door, whilst they yell around the frame “remember mummy loves you….the teacher will call me if you need me……I might just wait in the office for half an hour to check that they settle”.  These parents can be their child’s very reason for not settling!

Other children are familiar with school and the routines and are flexing their muscles.  Still others,  may have regularly displayed episodes of choosing to engage in negative behaviour, whilst some may have  an undiagnosed condition such as ADHD or Aspergers or other aspects of the autistic spectrum.

 

How do you engage parents in discussing their child’s inappropriate behaviour?

successful parent's support group

This is a tricky one, as often the parents you want to speak to are the very ones who ignore you!  More often than not, their own experiences of being at school are extremely negative and they want to avoid being in the building, meeting a teacher and discussing school work at all costs.  Their own academic skills may be poor and so they don’t want to show themselves up by displaying their lack of knowledge.  Add to this already long list of why these parents don’t want to engage with school, the fact that you are complaining about their child’s behaviour, and you can understand why they might blow up at your suggestion that they try that bit harder to help the school!

I have a background in SEN, especially focusing on social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and worked both in schools and as part of a local authority behaviour support team. We spent many hours looking at the best ways to work with parents, ranging from formal meetings at school and the accompanying paperwork tying them into trying things at home, which inevitably failed, to having a cup of tea with them in a place they felt comfortable and discussing how to move forward together.  This took time and steps were slow, as we were working on a 1:1 basis.  I found one of the best ways was forming a support group with parents.  I deliberately use the term with, rather than for parents, as they have to feel both parties are on the same side, in order for real changes to be made.

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

5 steps to running a successful parent’s support group

STEP 1 – Choose carefully the mix of parents who will be in the group.

Will you ‘invite’ parents to join the group, or will they choose to sign up with no suggestion from the school?

From my experience, you will find a number of parents willing to come to a parent’s support group, but will they be the right ones?  The ones who avoid coming to school, don’t return letters etc, will not put their names forward for this.

I’ve tended to ‘invite’ personally those who I want to attend and also mention it to those parents who appear anxious about their children or keen to help, but I have no real concerns over.  This mix ensures that I would not be talking at a group of parents, but that some would ask and answer questions as well. This reinforced the idea that we were actively seeking parental expertise to help change their children’s behaviour.  Also it doesn’t look like a “failing parents group”, as one mum suggested I was asking her to attend.

 

STEP 2 – Think carefully about the time of day, length and purpose of tsuccessful parent's support grouphe sessions.

These things can make or break a successful parent’s support group.  Parents will always come up with a reason to not attend boring school stuff, that they think has no relevance to them, and also where they will be told that they aren’t parenting their kids right.

The groups I’ve been involved with, trialled times and dates, and found that generally running the session straight after drop off or before pick up were the best times.  We also choose a day towards the end of the week, as often behaviour was getting worse at home as well as at school, and parents were more receptive to behaviour management ideas that they might try out of pure desperation!

The first session was only 30 minutes long, as we wanted it to be as painless as possible, and parents to feel pleasantly surprised when it appeared to be over quickly.  The next session was 45 minutes and then the others were 60 minutes long.  We tended to run them for half a term, and so recruitment began the half term before, in order to get maximum numbers attending the sessions.

 

STEP 3 – What’s in it for them?

A creche facility was offered for siblings, which initially  was in the same room as our parent’s support group.  This was for two reasons, firstly, to alleviate parental anxiety over what the younger ones were up to and who was looking after them.  We needed to build up trust.  Secondly, it was free childcare and gave them a break!  Thirdly, it meant if parents found the format to imposing, they could pretend to play/oversee their children, whilst still be in the room listening and hopefully contributing.  Fourthly, parents couldn’t cancel, because they had no one to look after their child.

We ensured we offered refreshments for both parents and the toddlers, including cakes for the parents rather than biscuits, as they  thought this was a treat.

Lastly, we arranged for their school based children to be brought to the meeting room, as then our support group sessions didn’t have tparent group wordso be cut short, with parents slowly drifting out.  This strategy also allowed parents to talk to one another after the more formal input and us to have ‘light touch’ 1:1’s with certain parents.

 

STEP 4 – Choose staff whom the parents like and respect and provide the necessary time for them to fulfil this role properly

My role  with schools was devising the programme for the parent support group project and then acting as the facilitator for each session with a member of school staff.  Choose carefully who that person will be.  The parents have to know this person and have some form of respect or positive opinion about them to start with, as well as feel they are quite high up the school pecking order.  The choices have often been the SENCO or Deputy Head.  These people have been released from some of their duties to allow them to focus on these children, including meeting parents informally throughout the week and checking on the progress of the children in the classroom/playground.

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

STEP 5 – Gaining trust and building relationships

This is key if you want to work more intimately with parents.  This can be an uphill battle, due to the feelings parents may have about their own school experiences.  How do school staff begin to break down those barriers and build relationships with parents?  The success of your parent’s support group will depend on this.

In our first session,  we stuck to the 30 minute time slot and  asked parents for their experiences of school.  We ensured we had quotes from other parents that we could use, to demonstrate we  understood and had listened to and more importantly ‘heard’ how some parents may feel negatively about their school experiences.

Once we started, the parents offered their stories and we had a great deal of laughter and also some shocked gasps.  There was emotion in the room, but not highly charged, so it was easy to handle, if you were a skilled teacher or facilitator.  For parents to share these emotions, they must have that key member of staff who they know and reasonably like, as obviously I was new to them.

We kept the session light hearted and asked them for tips on how they managed their children’s behaviour at home. We validated each idea, as far as we could, and then translated it into what we could and couldn’t do at school, both through choice and legally!

We kept it as a discussion forum, then offered 1:1 sessions afterwards if parents wanted to discuss their individual child. Inevitably, it’s the nervous parents who come to see you, rather than the ones you needed to.  However, it meant there were always willing voices to share what strategies they had tried out during the next week.  This allowed us to become facilitators for only part of the session, rather than throughout, and the group began to talk to each other outside of the sessions and share ideas.

successful parent's support group

Each session we focused on a key behaviour issue, rather than a child and asked parents to comment if their child displayed that behaviour, which they inevitably did, and we could then add what we were seeing in school and strategies we used.  We  would explain how we wanted the parents to support us with changing the behaviour. Gradually parents moved from saying their child wasn’t a problem at home, to admitting they were, and often the behaviours were more extreme.  This led to some pro-active joint problem solving between home and the school.

 

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

 Contact Paula at PDP to  plan a successful parent’s support group.