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22nd August 2016

What else? – The Advert that Does Not Advertise

The Advert that Does Not Advertise

My mother placed an ad on a site to sell her coffee machine recently. ‘It’s not selling’ she told me. “What did you put?” I said. “I am not reducing the price,” she responded. “I have reduced it once already!” “But what did you put?” I asked again. She handed me her phone and showed me the ad for her coffee machine. ‘Coffee Machine’ it read. ‘Manual machine titanium colour, good working order.’ “You need more than that” I said.

…what else?

We reworked her advert.  “So tell me about it” I said. “It’s a pod machine and it has a handle that you need to turn”. “What else?” I said.  She thought and told me how much it cost, the make and its attributes. The ad has a better chance now that the blanks are filled.

So often we are so sure of the picture in our minds, that we do not fully translate it in reality. ‘What else?’ helps us to think again and explain more.

The Well-Led ‘what else?’

Katy Steward’s ‘Exploring CQC’s Well-Led domain - How can boards ensure a positive organisational culture?’ for the Kings fund, outlines what it means to be well-led. The first identifier is ‘Inspiring Vision – developing a compelling vision and narrative’. In it, an example is given of Salford NHS Trust being explicit in an objective to ‘be the safest organisation in the NHS, with the ambition of saving 1,000 lives in three years’.

The piece goes on to say ‘There were risks in being explicit about this aim but it has proved to be critical to the progress made in reducing harm to patients and in the trust becoming an exemplar for the NHS. Salford Royal has invested heavily in the systems and infrastructure needed to deliver its strategy, including establishing a performance improvement directorate and helping staff to apply lean improvement methodologies.’

By asking ‘what else?’, or something similar, I believe you are causing yourself to look beyond what you presume and spell it out. ‘What else?’ opens up the questions you need to ask to ensure you back up your objective, with what you need to fulfil it.

The CQC Inspectors ‘What Else?’

The ‘what else?’ is no different to the inspectors’ thinking when they come to inspect. I once saw an amazing training dashboard of beautiful colours and columns.  The manager expressed her pride in the technicoloured delight. ‘What else?’ revealed no mechanism to pick up those that missed or failed training, and no one to operate it in the manager’s absence.

I challenge you to a ‘what else?’ moment this week of a strategy, project or situation. You may do that already, but as Columbo (OK, I know he is fictional!) proves with ‘one last thing…’ (after already asking a host of questions), one more ‘what else?’ may reveal a problem, a solution, or more crucial words to define you, your objectives and what you need to reach them.

 

*All information is correct at the time of publishing

Abi Spence

Registration and Inspection Specialist

Abi has worked for and with Government agencies relevant to social care for the past 12+ years. Primarily with the Department of Health, Social Services Inspectorate, Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) and since its inception the Care Quality Commission (CQC). As part of this long involvement Abi has developed a wide and detailed understanding of relevant issues and has worked closely with stakeholders such as people that use services, carers, providers, local government, the Department of Health, Ofsted and the Audit Commission. Read more

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