Book Club

Being Mortal

What a treat it was to have an hour in conversation with Atul Gawande at the Auckland Writers Festival in Auckland in May this year.

Atul is a general and endocrine surgeon, writer, and public health researcher. His clinical practice is at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where he is also a Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Atul’s latest book addresses the depressing realities of how we age and how we die and the role that modern medicine has assumed to deny these inevitabilities. Ultimately this is a profoundly optimistic book; personal and intimate, it is more of a “manual for life” than a depressing tome about aging and death.

In the introduction to Being Mortal, Atul recalls as a medical student being made to read “The Death of Ivan Illyich”. It was an attempt by the School to remind its students that ultimately the practice of medicine has a purpose: it’s about people and adding value to the lives that they live. Myself and other medical students also read this book in our third year of medical training in New Zealand and, like Atul, most were keen to put that behind us to get into the real business of acquiring knowledge. Sadly it seems that our interest in people might still be trumped by our interest in what we do to them or in the diseases that they present with.

Have a look at this preview of ‘Being Mortal’ via Ted Talks.

This excerpt is adapted with permission from Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (Metropolitan Books). http://ideas.ted.com/death-and-the-missing-piece-of-medical-school/

How organisations develop activists: civic associations and leadership in the 21st century by Hahrie Han

Download the first chapter for free here: http://www.challengestodemocracy.us/home/first-chapter-how-organizations-develop-activists-by-hahrie-han/

Buy the book here: http://ow.ly/Qk7oN

This is my favourite leadership/change book of the last twelve months (and I have read a lot of books). There is so much insight contained in its chapters for system leaders and change activists.

Increasingly in our health and care world, leaders are talking about how to activate employees and the wider health community for improvement. There is a growing appreciation that the classic “top down” levers and incentives aren’t enough to make change happen quickly and radically for our patients and service users. There is much talk of “health as a social movement” and mobilising people through “calls to action” and “patient activation”.

This is a book about how to engage people in change and through this process, shift the balance of power and deliver transformational change. It is based on rigorous fieldwork and field experiments that Hahrie Han undertook to identify the strategic models that civic associations in the USA use to engage their members in civic and political action. “Civic associations” are membership-based groups that are focussed on a specific cause. They range from the National Rifle Association to Health Care for America Now to local parent-teacher associations.

The research shows that what differentiates the groups with the highest levels of activism and participation is the way they transform people’s motivations and capacities for involvement.

The context of this book is completely different to my world of organisational/system change from within the English National Health Service. However, I face the same challenges as the leaders of those civic groups of “getting people to do stuff” (cultivating people’s motivation and capacity to take action towards our collective goal for change).

Hahrie Han identifies three models of engagement:

The first model is lone wolves. Lone wolves are activists who tend to work on their own. Often lone wolves build a strong power base through their personal knowledge and expertise. I see many, many lone wolves in the improvement movement in the NHS. They are people who are highly skilled at quality improvement methods and approaches and often have a long track record of supporting change. They are often called in to advise on change initiatives and are highly valued by their organisations and colleagues. What lone wolves don’t do is engage and mobilise other people as a core part of their activism.

The second model is mobilisers. Mobilisers seek to get as many people as possible involved in their campaigns and causes. They focus on actions that they want people to take, but typically these actions are specific things that people can do on their own. Mobilising is often about quick engagement by lots of people. Many of the campaigns that have been run in the NHS are based on this model. We call on people to take a specific action related to their health or their work place, but what we don’t do when we are mobilising is to try to develop people, or build a network of leaders or cultivate the capacity of those we mobilise for further activism.

The third model is organisers. Organisers build power by building the leadership skills of the people they help call to action. Unlike mobilisers who call a lot of people to action individually and separately, organisers connect people with each other:

“Organizers bring individuals together in a way that creates a collective capacity not present when individuals act alone. Organizers do not simply aggregate individuals but also create new relationships between them that generate new commitments and resources” (p14)

Whereas the work of mobilisers is centralised in the hands of a few leaders who call on people to take action, the work of organisers is distributed through a larger network of leaders. Organising leaders give responsibility and strategic autonomy to the leaders they are developing; by giving away leadership power, they are building power for change. So a lot of the time of organisers is spent building relationships and community and training and coaching leaders, something that mobilisers typically don’t do.

Nevertheless, mobilising and organising are mutually reinforcing approaches. Mobilising helps to identify potential leaders from amongst the people who are called to action. Organising helps to develop the leaders who can then call big groups of people to action and enable change to happen on a much wider scale. Hahrie Han’s research shows that the organisations/ communities with the highest activation and participation rates are effective at both mobilising and organising. The groups with the lowest levels of activation are those that create lone wolves and mobilisers without building organisers.

My reflection after reading this this book is that many of the current approaches to build social movement thinking into the health and care system are creating lone wolves (who know a lot about the topic) and mobilisers who engage people in change. For instance, there are many current attempts across the NHS and wider health and care system to involve service users and communities in our change strategies but we hardly invest any resources in developing the capability of these service user activists to become organisers. I worry that some approaches to “patient activation” are creating lone wolves who become very knowledgeable about their health condition but who don’t necessarily get organised with other service users. If we want to shift the power in the system and deliver transformational as opposed to small scale change, we need to create an army of organisers. We need to think about this in the context of both specific change interventions (for instance, how do we build a mental model of organising into the development of new care models?) AND in our wider leadership development activities.

I recommend that you encourage a group of leaders to read this well researched study and discuss it together. This process is very insightful and it offers some clear, practical steps forward.

Questions to reflect on when reading the book:

  • Thinking about yourself as a change leader; are you a lone wolf, a mobiliser or an organiser?
  • Is your current change initiative based on lone wolves, mobilisers or organisers and what can you do to shift the balance?
  • How might you reframe your current change initiative through the eyes of an organiser?
  • How can we build organising and mobilising capability on a very big scale?
  • How would the power structure of the system need to change to enable more organisers?

 

Helen-BevanHelen Bevan is Chief of Service Transformation at NHS Improving Quality. Follow her on Twitter @HelenBevan

5 books that should be on your 2015 reading list

In issue 7 of The Edge Book Club, Kate Pound reviews a list of five marketing books, by Doz, through the lens of a health and care radical. What did she learn? Are marketing resources really relevant to change activists?

You can read the list here: 5 books that should really be on your 2015 reading list!

Kate says…

I was really surprised by this list, as I expected the books picked to be really heavy and hard to read, but I was wrong. All the books are ones I would want to read. The focus of all the books is about developing connections to support our world, and in the School for Health and Care Radicals (SHCR), our world is changing within health and care.

In the new world of change, our networks and connections will be vital as through them we will be empowered and supported to deliver change. We need to look beyond our strong ties and link with the ‘weak’ or ‘disconnected’ ties. All of these books talk you through the why and how of doing this and suggests tools, such as social media, that can help.

The SHCR has been a great step forward to meet new people with shared values. This is just the start of our journey. Even if you weren’t part of the school, it is never too late to join the ever-growing community of change agents, activists, and radicals in health and care. Subscribing to The Edge is a really good place to start.


Kate Pound

 

This review was written by Kate Pound, Transformation Fellow, Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality @KateSlater2

What makes a great leader? A recommended reading list from TED ideas

Simon Sinek a top TED talk speaker on Leadership highlights five books and two documentaries that inspired his leadership journey.

TED Talk – How great leaders inspire action

Have a look through his leadership book selection and see whether they would support your particular Leadership approach.

Personally I can recommend Man’s search for meaning by Victor E Frankl as a groundbreaking book which will challenge you to consider what hope means and how you can lead in the most desperate of situations. In contrast, the brash and money-orientated world of Formula One is the backdrop to the documentary about Senna one of the most exceptional drivers of his generation. Consider the key players in this real life action and how they display passion, focused resilience and manage data to work towards their mission. Both highlight how leadership starts with the individual and the impact that this can have on specific situations.

It would be great to know if you have read any of the books or seen any of the documentaries in the list. Perhaps you have a book on leadership that you would recommend for our virtual book club list?


 

This contextual piece was written by Carol Read, Transformation Fellow at Horizons Group, NHS Improving Quality @CarolLRead

15 Best Business Books of 2014 – For Leaders, Business Owners and Entrepreneurs

The 15 Most Influential Business Books Of 2014 from Rohit Bhargava

Check out the slide deck by @rohitbhargava who has curated the 15 best business books of 2014 for leaders, business owners and entrepreneurs of 2014.  The infographic format provides a systematic approach to reviewing books with a clear evaluative framework which works well.

Here at The Edge we want to put together a similar approach for the book club with a slide deck of the 15 best books for Change Agents in 2015, featuring classics and current books.  To do this we need your help to put forward the books that have been inspiring, challenging and radical.  Tweet and email us @TheEdgeNHS or via email us Spotter’s Column with your suggestions and 100 words on why the book should be selected.

A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt

There’s not long to go until the inaugural virtual book club on Tuesday 16th December 2014 at 19.00GMT.  We will be holding a tweet chat with the authors of ‘A World Gone Social.’ If you have a question for the authors, Ted Coiné @TedCoine or Mark Babbitt @MarkSBabbitt then why not tweet us @TheEdgeNHS using the hashtag #BooksatTheEdge or email us and will pick up the questions with Ted and Mark on the 16th December .share

We are delighted that Ted and Mark have agreed to feature in our first ever virtual bookclub #BooksatTheEdge. This is an unique opportunity to build on your learning from this book by joining with its co-authors and a whole host of others who are passionate about change activism to reflect, discuss, learn and enhance your actionable knowledge.

A World Gone Social delves into social media’s impact on leadership and management and guides leaders on how to make the shift. We think this is a really fantastic book to kick-start our virtual book club.

You can buy ‘A World Gone Social’ as a print or digital version here.


What is #BooksatTheEdge?

We believe strongly that knowledge cannot be derived solely from articles. In a fast paced world where we rely on easily digestible bite-sized chunks of information, we can often neglect the deeper, richer knowledge and learning that is gained from reading a book.

There is no shortage of texts on a whole host of topics that we know will be of particular interest to change activists in health and care, and for that reason, we have decided to launch a virtual book club #BooksatTheEdge that will accompany and enhance our book reviews.

The idea is that we will publish a review of book, and at the same time, announce a date and time for a virtual book club which will take the form of a Twitter chat. The author/s or editor/s of the reviewed book will be invited to facilitate a club, offering a valuable opportunity to reflect and extract actionable knowledge book in more detail alongside others whilst being able to tap into the mindset and expert knowledge of the author themselves.

We are really excited about this feature of The Edge and we hope you will get involved and join in, as well as making suggestions for books to review, or offering to be the guest reviewer? Please send us a message via our ‘Contact us‘ page and tell us your ideas.

The Edge: virtual book club

We are delighted to announce our first virtual bookclub #BooksatTheEdge. This is an unique opportunity to build on your learning from the powerful and illuminating, “A World Gone Social”, by joining with its co-authors Ted Coiné @TedCoine, Mark Babbitt @MarkSBabbitt and a whole host of others who are passionate about change activism to reflect, discuss, learn and enhance your actionable knowledge.

A World Gone Social delves into social media’s impact on leadership and management and guides leaders on how to make the shift. We think this a fantastic book to kick-start our virtual book club.

Ted Coiné was recently named a Forbes Top 10 Social Media Power Influencer. He is co-founder of Switch and Shift, a blog focused on leadership, culture, and change in the social century. Mark Babbitt is CEO and Founder of YouTern, a social community for young careerists that Mashable calls a “Top 5 Online Community for Starting Your Career.

A World Gone Social by Ted Coiné and Mark Babbitt (2014)

Review by Carol Read @CarolLRead

What does it take to be a Change Agent in the new Social Age?   A World Gone Social is a must read and handbook which will guide you through the positives and explain the current social movement landscape.

Mark and Ted’s book cuts through the jargon and complexities around ‘doing social’ and highlights through a range of real life case studies, the simple fact that social is about being human and wholehearted.

In health, social networks enable us to engage not just with our strong ties, but with weak ties that have different perspectives and can add to our understanding of a problem. We can interact with patients, carers, charities, commissioners, managers and people in other countries or professions. Networking with others to bring about changes in health, the workplace and setting up hubs of information. A World Gone Social is not only about social media, but the connections we make and the community networks we can form to bring about change.

We already see the difference the Social Age is making to our daily lives, this book puts social in context and provides thought provoking actions that will make you want to be more social if you are not already.

Our first virtual bookclub on this book will be held on Tuesday 16th December 2014 at 19:00GMT and you will be able to participate via Webinar and Twitter chat. We will be announcing the sign-up details shortly, but in the meantime, save the date!

You can buy this book via the Authors’ website: ‘A World Gone Social


What is #BooksatTheEdge?

We believe strongly that knowledge cannot be derived solely from articles. In a fast paced world where we rely on easily digestible bite-sized chunks of information, we can often neglect the deeper, richer knowledge and learning that is gained from reading a book.

There is no shortage of texts on a whole host of topics that we know will be of particular interest to change activists in health and care, and for that reason, we have decided to launch a virtual book club #BooksatTheEdge that will accompany and enhance our book reviews.

The idea is that we will publish a review of book, and at the same time, announce a date and time for a virtual book club which will take the form of a Twitter chat. The author/s or editor/s of the reviewed book will be invited to facilitate a club, offering a valuable opportunity to reflect and extract actionable knowledge book in more detail alongside others whilst being able to tap into the mindset and expert knowledge of the author themselves.

We are really excited about this feature of The Edge and we hope you will get involved and join in, as well as making suggestions for books to review, or offering to be the guest reviewer? Please send us a message via our ‘Contact us‘ page and tell us your ideas.

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