I don’t often talk about the specifics of my work but there’s always a first time.
I’m in the process of completing the development of a customised quality standards framework for an organisation that works with homeless people and women/children escaping domestic violence.
Sounds like a geeky – yawn subject?
It can be. Particularly when people get too complicated with the whole structure and forms.
I’m a passionate believer that we need to be much clearer about what we mean by good practice in any work environment. How can a new worker or manager know what is expected of them if we aren’t clear? How can an organisation assess how it can improve its performance if there are no written quality standards?
When I design any process/package that will need to be completed by workers and managers I keep a few key things in mind:
- People pretty much hate filling in forms – so I use colour, good design and a lot of tick boxes.
- People want good practice standards that reflect the real world – so I design in a way that reflects the elements of their practice.
- People really hate jargon – I keep the standards statements clear, short and readable.
- People want to see a link between completing the assessment forms and some kind of planning and action – so I’m designing simple and effective planning/action sheets that directly link to the assessment sheets.
- People don’t have a lot of time to fill in forms – so I’ve organised all the sheets so they are online and easily accessible. Each assessment sheet has no more than 10 statements – and they will take a max of 5 to 6 minutes to complete.
Anyway. I’ve spent today doing a lot of fiddly design and typing work on the standards assessment sheets and the whole standards package. Quite pleased with the result.
I did a shared copyright deal with my clients. They got my services and a customised package (with days of process consulting with staff and managers) for a really really reduced fee (I’m doing it for free at the moment) – and – I got to have the right to sell and repackage all the work I have done. A win win.
I already have 3 other non profit clients interested in the package.
Very briefly the FOODS (Framework of Organisation Development Standards) package that I’ve developed has 3 pillars:
- Pillar 1 – Organisation Systems & Structures
- Pillar 2 – Standards Core to all Services
- Pillar 3 – Standards for Service User Life Issues
Each pillar has about 10 standards (e.g Pillar 1 – values & mission; resources; people management; learning & performance; Information technology & knowledge management; etc). And – each standard has no more than 10 statements.
Many standards assessment packages (QUADS; PQASSO; Putting People First; Supporting People – all UK and Ireland) over complicate things with waaaay too many standards; long and complicated sentences; and multiple levels of assessment.
Me – well my package has 1 level; clear standards; and sentences that are short and sharp.
I’ve also tested elements of this package against some of the others (oh my God! I’m about to sound like a washing powder commercial) with workers and managers – and they said mine was a lot clearer, easier to use and most relevant to the real world of their work.
Anyway – I’ll be offering the FOODS package as part of my Focused Solutions business services.
There you go – a little flavour of the work I do. I love the work I attract and I always enjoy my clients. I love it as much as I am loving doing all the research for my cob house.
Some may say – lucky you. Well thanks – and – it’s also a result of about 25 years of working in hundreds of communities and organisations with thousands of people – In Australia and Ireland. I’ve been so privileged.
And at 48 I’m still enthusiastic, passionate and energised by the work I do and the people I work with.
Have a lovely week.