8 ways to use team meetings to increase your team’s competence in person-centred thinking tools

14 April 2015

We all know that it takes more than simply going on a training course or using e-learning to help your team feel confident in using person-centred thinking tools. A question for managers is ‘How can you make using person-centred thinking tools a habit within your team?’ The additional challenge is that this has to be done without additional resources as well.  At our recent team meeting we spent time looking at what we were learning from managers, and our ideas , about how to do this.  As there are no more resources or time, we focused on how you can use meeting and supervision sessions to help make person-centred thinking a habit. In this blog we share 8 ways that you can use a 20 – 30 minute slot in a team meeting to build your teams skills and confidence.

In these 8 ways we refer to the person-centred thinking e-learning modules, but you can go back to your minibook or participants books, or review information on our website instead. If we want to make changes at scale across teams and organisations we need to change both how we use team meeting time and how we think about e-learning.

This means using e-learning as a resource, and not an event. The traditional way to use is e-learning is to do a 30 minute package, with a test at the end. You then print out your certificate, hand it to your manager, who ticks a box on a form about compliance.  That might work for some areas of knowledge and skill, but it cannot work in areas where you want your team to think differently and become competent using new skills, like person-centred practices.

So in these 8 ways, we have used the e-learning as a way to support staff to go back to what they have learned, and team meetings to explore how to really put person-centred thinking into practice. For each, we have thought of a particular tool, and imagined how the team leader might introduce it to the team.


1) Practicing together

Lets start with the obvious, using team meetings to focus on one particular tool and practice using it, getting feedback and encouragement on their progress. One approach is to decide which person-centred thinking tool is the priority for your team to be competent and confident in. Some team managers look at one tool per month,

Example: The Doughnut

“This month we want to get better at using the doughnut, how did you get on in doing this in the e-learning? We are going to practice it together at our next team meeting. I will bring some good examples and some poor examples for us to work on together. If you need to refresh your memory about the Doughnut, go back to your e-learning and look at that module again before the team meeting.”

2) Reflecting on progress

There are several person-centred thinking tools that are perfect for taking stock and reflecting on progress. You can use these in team meetings as a way to model and practice how to use of them. Working and not working from different perspectives and 4 plus 1 questions are good places to start.

Example: Four plus one questions

“In our last inspection CQC raised handover as an issue. Lets use the 4 plus 1 to review our progress. Please prepare by spending 20 mins on that section of the e-learning. Please think about one contribution that you could make to each of the 4 question and we will all share these in the meeting.”

3) Solving problems

You can use team meetings to demonstrate how you can use person-centred thinking tools to solve problems together. A common challenge is around paperwork, making it relevant and useful, as well as compliant. Learning Logs are a fresh way to record what is being tried and what people are learning. You could also use working and not working from different perspectives.

Example: Learning Logs

“I have been reviewing our daily records and notice that we may be missing some opportunities to learn from them. I’d like you to look at learning logs on the e-learning and have a go at using them for a week, in an area that you think they could be useful. Please bring three examples with you to the next team meeting and we will think about how we can make our progress notes work better for everyone.”

4) Reviewing and improving quality

Team meetings can be ways to review and improve quality. Each of the person-centred thinking tools have recognised standards for best practice. You can use team meetings to see how close you are getting to these, and think about how to improve.

Example: One-page profiles

“We are going to be using our one-page profiles to match to both people we support and some tasks we have to do in the next 6 months. Our one-page profiles need to be detailed enough to do this. Before the next team meeting can you make sure yours reflects best practice, and you can use the e-learning to double check and the best practice poster on the office wall as well.”

5) Focusing on compliance

Person-centred thinking tools can help improve quality and ensure that you are meeting existing standards and are compliant with regulations and policy-

Example: Decision-making agreements and communication charts

As you know case law has changed in terms of Deprivation of Liberty. I want us to look at what this means for us at the next team meeting, so please refresh your knowledge about the person-centred thinking tools that could be useful – in particular decision-making agreements and communication charts.”

6) Learning from experience and sharing success

Team meetings are a great opportunity to learn through sharing stories, both ones that worked well, and those that were less successful. Michael Smull calls these ‘successful failures’ ie what you tried, that did not work, but you learned a lot from it.  I recently shared with my team three things that I had tried that week, that had not worked, and what I had learned from it. The process of Appreciative Inquiry encourages us to learn from our success and Max Neil developed a great tool based on this, called My Achievement Using Person Centred Thinking. You can use this with your team to ask them to reflect on a person-centred thinking tools that they have used well, and discuss together what would need to happen to experience more of this within the team.

Example: Share how you have used a person-centred thinking tools well to make positive change

“Next month we are going to focus on what we have done well. I would like you to think of a person-centred thinking tool that you have used to make positive change. Please spend 10 minutes describing what you did on this form, and bring it with you to talk about at the team meeting.”

7)  Sharing goals and progress

A few years ago we developed what we call a ‘habits pack’ of resources to help managers support their team to make person-centred practices a habit. In this pack is a way to check your personal competence in the different person-centred thinking tools, and set goals to improve. You can use team meetings simply to do a round on sharing progress on your goals.

Example: Sharing goals and progress

“I know from our supervision sessions that each of you is developing your skills and practicing one particular person-centred thinking skill, and I would like us to share these with each other. At the next team meeting I would like each of you to share what you are working on, and where you are up to. Not a powerpoint presentation, but just 5 minutes each on:

  • Which person-centred thinking tool I am focusing on and why
  • How I have been practicing and improving
  • Where I am now
  • What I am going to do next”

8) Demonstrating how to do it

As a manager, you need to feel confident yourself in using the person-centred thinking tools. You cannot take your team to where you have not been yourself. They can only become as good as you are at using each person-centred thinking tool, so you need to be more familiar with the tools and the e-learning than anyone else! This means that you can use team meetings to demonstrate how to use a particular tool, and support and give feedback to your team as they follow your lead.

Example: Relationship circles and community maps

“We want to think about how we can support the person to be part of their community. I will get us started with a relationship circle and community map.. At the next meeting I will share the relationship circle and how I did this, and we will do some work getting started on community mapping. Then I want you to look at these on the e-learning and get started in doing this with the other three people, and we will plan how to do this together.”

These are our ideas, but I am sure that there are more. I would love to hear other ideas and examples. If you have read this and are thinking, ‘We could never do this in our team meetings, there is already too much on the agenda” then your first challenge is can you get it as a standing agenda item, and then what would it take to make it a 10 – 15 minute slot. What you have on your team meeting agenda is what you are communicating to your team is important, so I hope this blog shares why we think that using person-centred practices could be on there.




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