The Role of Happiness in Personalisation

Virginia von MalachowskiVirginia von Malachowski, Personalisation Consultant

When I began reviewing Sense’s personalisation training I didn’t imagine I’d end up talking about happiness.  We had all of the trainers, facilitators and key movers and shakers together. The training is only one day and focused on giving people an introduction to the values and principles, an overview of some person centred thinking tools and the process of planning for a review, facilitating a person centred review, turning the outcomes into actions and writing good Plans.

For the review we used the Working and Not Working tool, and it brought some light bulb moments!  Overwhelmingly the things that were working well were the ‘touchy feeling’ aspects.  Where I expected to see comments like ‘we know more about..(a range of tools, processes etc), what came through was words like ‘enthusiasm’, ‘excited’, ‘energy’ … people said that what was working was that ‘hearts and minds’ had been captured and that staff were leaving the training with a passion to do things differently and a hunger to know more.

Our next task, to agree the outcomes that will build on what’s working and change what’s not, has my head buzzing with possible solutions and ways to move things on.

The momentum that has been created, albeit with small portion of the 1,500 staff so far, will have much more power to change things than any overhaul or tweaking to the training package that I imagined would be my post review task.   Staff  are excited about doing things differently with the folk that they work alongside.  We know that the communication and access challenges faced by the people Sense supports won’t make that journey a straight forward one.

So staff teams are thinking more deeply about how to enable people to have more choice and control in their lives and that’s an outcome to celebrate,  but the moment in the training day that I think captured more hearts and minds is when I use a definition of happiness I picked up from Paul Dolan – Happiness by Design.  He defines ‘happiness’ as ‘ pleasure and purpose over time’, if our job is to support people to have good lives rather than good care then this definition, particularly in relation to experiencing purpose in life, could be a game changer in helping staff see why and how personalisation is to be embraced with such conviction.

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