wePRAY – Recap
If you’re a regular reader of east to west’s wePRAY prayer email or blog, you’ll know that a key part of east to west’s practice is the use of reflective practice. We use it as a tool allowing us to both look back at what has been, and project forward to how our practice can be improved by what we’ve learned. September’s wePRAY focused on the first of Dan Rockwell’s ‘7 Universal Competencies for Success’, the importance of building relationships. The month, we’re utilising the idea of developing people as our theme, which will hopefully provide you with food for thought, as well as a way of engaging with prayers for the work and team of east to west.
7 Universal Competencies for Success: 2 – Develop People:
Approaches to developing people have varied over the years. Many of us can relate to the old adage of sink or swim, where we’re dropped into a difficult situation and left to see how well we cope. In other cases, individuals are given so much information and instruction that what happens is the individual is driven out and a robot is born – in effect we lose the person being developed and create a newer version of ourselves. If at this point, you’re nodding and saying ‘yes… perfect, what’s the problem with that?, then can I humbly suggest that you continue reading?
Developing people is a many varied and challenging task. It raises the question of how do we create a development programme that meets the needs of everyone? How do we pick topics or themes that are relevant, and which mean that those in attendance feel that their time has been well spent, not simply wasted? What is it that we need to do to avoid alienating some whilst challenging others? The obvious answer is that we can’t. It’s not possible to create a catchall training and development programme that teaches everyone something new and avoids covering some of the skills and abilities your team already have.
So why bother?
The heart to our understanding of why developing people is so important, has to come through the recognition of the value of who we are and what they bring, whether to us as individuals or and to the organisation as a whole.
At east to west we are blessed to have 16 paid team, 7 volunteers (with more on the way!), 8 trustees and a wide group of specialist support. Each of these 30+ individuals bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and skills… by being a part of east to west, they make east to west better. They ensure that we’re best equipped to bring hope to young lives. Surely as an organisation recognising the value they bring, we need to be helping and supporting them to get better, so we get better?
Dan Rockwell’s approach is simple. When developing people focus on their strengths. It may seem counter intuitive, especially when societal norms and schools are telling us we should be seeking to to create well-rounded individuals, but think about it… if someone’s skill set is in being in front of a child, young person or family, why would we train them how to use an accountancy programme? Surely, we should be equipping them to better work with those they support? American Business Guru, Jim Collins calls it ‘getting the right people on the right bus at the right time’. In essence, our development programme should be about training the right people to be in the right place at the right time, and that means a nuanced approach. Where a project wants group work support, we train our team to support group work. Where there is a high level of family breakdown or relationship issues, our team are additionally trained in this area.
The result is we create a team who have a wide range of specialisms that when called upon can share these skills with their colleagues and help foster further development. The value that this approach adds to both the individual and organisation is huge, because ultimately, it recognises the individual’s value, as well as their wider value to the organisation.
Surely that’s an approach worth developing?
This month we’re asking you to pray for Naomi, who joined east to west over the summer to set up and run our new project at Hinchley Wood. We’re delighted Naomi has joined us and are looking forward to her bringing her skills and understanding to east to west, and helping us develop into a better organisation.
Please pray that the Hinchley Wood students and staff have an exceptional year, not only at an academic level, but a personal one too.
Pray for continued wisdom and guidance when supporting the students.
Thank God for the phenomenal, caring, pastoral staff community both at Hinchley Wood and east to west.
Praise God that He’s called me to be part of a winning team – I am truly grateful!
Please pray for continued healing and strength for my Mum, Brenda.