The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence – it is to act with yesterday’s logic - Peter Drucker

The TurningTides Blog

Ideas and inspiration from Turning Tides

Eileen Moir is the founder of TurningTides and has a wealth of experience leading change and improvement in complex public sector services. Her career includes eleven years as an Executive Director within the NHS, encompassing five years as Director of Implementation and Improvement in Scotland’s quality improvement body. 

A Society that Embraces Dementia

Kate Swaffer's moving blog reinforces just how important current efforts are in improving the outlook for people with dementia. The numbers are expected to double over the next 20 years, so unless a cure is imminent then it has to be about preparing future generations to live with the impact. 

Nearly 25 years ago my first Charge Nurse post was in a unit for people with cognitive impairment (mainly dementia). As the clinical leader I was in a position to challenge the traditional model of care. Culture change, as we know, is never easy but by introducing new practices and modelling different behaviours, persistence paid off. We eventually reached a tipping point where everyone began to pull together to create a new norm.  

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This new cultural norm meant working in partnership with patients and their relatives to create a 'circle of care' that was as inclusive and enabling as possible within the constraints of a hospital environment. I look back on my time there as a sculptress might view a creation that she considers to be among her best work. Against this backdrop I was delighted to be asked to support the Scottish Government with the National Dementia Care Improvement Programme (NDCIP).  

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#Compassion - what can we learn from the natural world?

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Watching wild geese flying in formation this morning I was reminded how magnificent a species they are. A few years ago a colleague sent me the poem 'Wild Geese' by Mary Oliver. I had undergone surgery and was deeply touched by the gesture. She added this story: 

....when wild geese are in flight and one becomes ill or injured, two other geese drop to the ground with the ailing goose. They provide protection and care for the goose until it recovers and is able to fly again or dies. It is only when the job of caring is complete that the geese fly off to catch up with their own flock or join another passing group.  

Her simple gift and the sentiments behind it made me feel cherished, respected and part of something bigger.

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Co-production: Does Power Get in the Way?

Power issues are at the heart of many of the challenges leaders face. Grappling with relational power dynamics is particularly tricky as organisations and teams integrate to 'co-produce' services in pursuit of better quality and efficiency. I notice this as I work with leaders who are working across public, private and voluntary sector organisations where there are obvious power differentials.

Some leaders fear a loss of positional power that organisational change can bring, while others worry about their omnipotence in the face of decisions that affect livelihoods. When leaders get bogged down in inter-organisational power issues it is often because they (sometimes misguidedly) are trying to protect the interests of their organisations.

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