Don't know where you are going? Make sure you keep your head up!
PUBLISHED: 10:43 08 November 2019 | UPDATED: 10:43 08 November 2019
Daniel Williams, director of VCSE management consultancy Your Norfolk, says it pays to be positive in the fast running world of our voluntary sector
If you are busy running your Norfolk Voluntary, Community or Social Enterprise organisation it can be hard to keep your head up out of the day to day business to ensure you are heading in the right direction...but finding this space, in an environment that is changing fast, is vital. Keep your head up and just maybe the clouds will part.
Recently I attended three external events, on top of the current leadership responsibilities I am managing, to ensure that I am appropriately scanning the horizon for my clients.
Firstly, I attended a leadership development afternoon for the North Norfolk Local Delivery Group, a group that I have been a VCSE representative member of for the last 18 months. This group is responsible for overseeing the shape of the primary health and social care services which will be provided across the four North Norfolk Primary Care Networks. The afternoon was an important opportunity to build confidence and trust between the members, who I certainly feel are receptive to the potential VCSE organisations have to deliver against the prevention agenda.
Secondly, I was one of a number of VCSE sector representatives who met for breakfast with James Bullion, Norfolk's director of adult social services. This was the third in a series of meetings hosted by James through 2019, providing an environment for the sharing of honest and candid views. There is no doubt in my mind that these forums have helped to build a shared understanding of the capacity and diversity across our sector and the role we are already fulfilling in addressing some of the wider determinants of poor health outcomes for our more vulnerable communities. I believe that finding a way to filter sustained strategic health and social care investment through to some of the smaller VCSEs in the County could unlock so much more grass roots interventions across our Primary Care Network localities.
Finally, I spent the morning on with Nigel Cushion's NelsonSpirit crew; peer mentoring for leaders. The group supports a number of charitable initiatives and recently announced the launch of a new Norfolk Community Foundation fund which will invest in the training and development of VCSE sector leaders across the county, and in turn improving the capacity and capability of the sector. With Norfolk leaders from across all sectors this group has a pace and an energy which provides a hard hitting learning experience and I always leave feeling refreshed, energised and constructively challenged.
I have also set aside time to take part in an important sector consultation event; looking at the new five-year plan for improving health and care in Norfolk and considering the advent of a new health and social care 'Assembly'.
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I understand that the aim of the assembly is to bring a refreshed approach to ensuring democratic, representative and accountable sector representation.
I am all for an improvement in this space; whilst we are doing the best job we have done in my working lifetime at delivering a collegiate Norfolk VCSE, we do still have a good distance to travel if the full capacity and diversity of our sector is to be mobilised across a shared strategic agenda.
As an independent consultant I believe that I simply have to invest time in this space. My interpretation of our direction is only that; an interpretation. But it is informed through these networks, discussions and debates.
When added to a working lifetime of sector management experience, it allows me to keep my head up and maintain a strong personal sense of direction.
Having just taken on a new interim leadership role I also have to balance the time spent in head up space with the time needed to support and nurture internal change and development. In making this balance work I know that it is keeping my head up that gives me a confident sense of direction.
This is the fuel that I can then use to inspire staff, trustees and volunteers to make the changes needed to ensure sustainable outcomes for their organisations.
Keep your heads up!
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