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

An Intrinsic Desire to Improve

An intrinsic desire to improve

I'm getting ready to do the BUPA 10k run on Sunday (14th July) around Holyrood in Edinburgh. This will be the second of four 10ks that I will be doing over the summer.  The first was part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in May and the third will be the 'Mind your Head' Charity run in Shetland in August (in support of mental health services).   A route around Loch Ness will complete the 10k quartet in September.  So a summer of personal challenge lies ahead.  

There's something special about running though that makes you want to continually improve.  It's not about being in competition with others; it's more about challenging yourself to do better.  In order to improve you need to measure your performance and I have an app on my iPhone for this.  Monitoring my own stats has got me thinking about the rancour that measuring performance has been generating in the NHS in recent months.

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The Dance of the Blind Reflex

Flicking through some literature on quality improvement recently I came across a quote from quality expert Harold F Dodge - "you cannot inspect quality into a product". The simple central message made me pause. It has a particular potency in the context of the recent high profile quality of care concerns in the NHS. So much energy has revolved around what the inspectors and regulators are doing that it seems we are missing the point about how to improve quality.  

My thoughts turned to Joseph Juran's Quality Trilogy which still has currency today.  The trilogy holds that, in complex social systems, three elements need to be brought together for improvements to be realised - quality planning, quality control and quality improvement. When working well, and in synergy, they can stimulate a dynamic energy to drive improvement. 

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The Birth of TurningTides

Launching an independent consultancy and coaching business after years in the NHS can be daunting.  One year on and this ancient Buddhist wisdom sums it up:

"If we are facing in the right direction all we have to do is keep on walking".

Perhaps in my case it should be 'keep on rowing'! 

My first year was one of discovery and delight.  Discovery in terms of exploring how to transfer what I learnt in the public sector to this new business context and delight in learning what my clients value most.   

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