Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lets Work to Support Success in Social Care

“Success breeds success” is one of those quotes that we all know but rarely think about what it means yet ‘success’ is big business – just type ‘business success’ into Amazon and see how many thousands of books are available on the subject.

There is some science behind the idea of “success breeds success” for example, Euro 2012: England v Ukraine - The science of home advantage, and while this deals primarily with football the science can apply to many other areas, including social care, especially in learning disability services.

Where the main focus of success is on achieving wealth, power and status the reality is success is any achievement that you make, no matter what level of status it is and success brings about its own rewards. For example, remember back to when you first did something you thought would be impossible, whether it was riding a bike, passing your first exam or baking your first edible cake! Then remember how you felt as you achieved that success, the pride that swelled inside you and the confidence it gave you to undertake that activity again and spur you on to be a little more ambitious next time.

Equally important is what it did to your previous failed attempts at that activity, the pride and feeling of success pushed those failures away from your mind, consigning them to distant memory or erasing them from your mind completely.

In social care services we have many different buzzwords for providing support services and what we want to achieve, we talk about personalisation, independence, outcomes, etc. but, in reality, what we need to talk about is success. We need to support people in becoming successful in independence, personalisation is about achieving success in individual goals and outcomes are only of use if they are successful ones.

I’ve written before about visions, targets and goals in relation to leadership in social care  (http://socialcareinsight.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/social-care-leadership-visions-targets.html) but the principles also apply to working with individuals to achieve the highest possible level of independence  and these principles are, perhaps, more important in terms of personal support for individuals than anywhere else.

The big vision must always for the individual to lives as independently as possible but to get there people need targets and goals to act as milestones to mark the way to the ultimate goal.  The small ‘wins’ are so important in bolstering confidence and achieving further success, it does not matter how small that success is it helps people understand that success is achievable at any level and spurs them on to achieve the next goal.

The achievement of individual success is also important for people working in learning disability services, if they can support an individual to be successful then they too have achieved success and the same feelings of pride and confidence are imbued in their work.

Success does breed success and we should start talking about achieving success in care services to ensure that helping individuals become successful in their lives is one of the main goals for care providers.