Striving For Systemic Success

July 26, 2022

Systemic failure

Last week I saw the headline that thousands more cases of child sexual abuse had been uncovered – this time in Telford, though of course there have been many others. What struck me forcefully was the summary conclusion from the inquiry that there had been ‘systemic failures’. Am I alone in feeling weary of reading about systemic failure? Why do we wait for these tragedies as if they are the only spur to organisational learning and change? The mere fact that we continue to review the same issues again and again is an indication that we are not learning and changing – or that other factors get in the way of that change.

Systemic success

My proposal is that we learn from ‘systemic success’. Let’s celebrate the brilliant, dedicated efforts of all health, education and social care professionals who succeed in keeping tens of thousands of children safe every year. We should seek out the high numbers of children effectively safeguarded and ask ourselves what we can learn from that success. What are the magic ingredients? Build on them, reward the services and people who are successful and support others to achieve the same results.

Appreciative inquiry

Incident inquiries are one thing, and appreciative inquiry is another. Appreciative inquiry is strengths-based and, unlike deficit models, it engages participants in self-determined change. We all understand the importance of strengths-based models in supporting children, it is time to adopt them for ourselves as the children’s service professionals. At Mind Of My Own we have added appreciative inquiry to our in-house training calendar so that our own team can benefit from this positive approach to supporting practice.

Keep an eye out in August for more appreciative inquiry developments from Mind Of My Own and if you have used this approach, or have other comments on this post, please comment on @MindOfMyOwnApp for an appreciative twitter chat.