Resilience and the power of people

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There’s no denying we live in strange times. Unprecedented actions are needed. We haven’t seen the worst of it yet, and our heroic NHS is already feeling the strain. And yet, in times of adversity, new solutions arise. We find new ways of coping. Actions, systems and processes that could have previously changed, now have to.

The new imperative

Last week we heard remarkable stories from our NHS and public sector clients about how they are responding. They are challenged, but resolute. Many remain positive. Covid-19 has created a new imperative for change. New partnerships are being formed. New ways of working created. Ingenuity embraced. We are used to change being incremental but are now forced to accept seismic shifts. There is only time for bold and swift decision-making. NHS consultants are cracking through their lists by video and phone call. Even those who were previously cautious about this kind of change have had no option. It is not transactional – they have not forgotten care and concern. But it’s more efficient, people are more focused, decisions are still swiftly made. The current situation has been the catalyst for huge additional support for our health and social care system. In the last few days another £1.6bn has been announced for councils to support social care and a further £1.3bn to support hospital discharges to clear the system as quickly as possible. Teachers have pulled together resources for parents with just 48 hours’ notice. The education system has collaborated to ensure that our country’s key workers can continue to use their skills knowing their children are cared for and educated.
There was no rule book for this. We have no instruction manual for the current situation.

The new community

The best of humanity is making itself known. In my small village of just 600 people, 200 have joined a Facebook group to help the vulnerable. Groups have sprung up on social media sharing education resources and offering support. Organisations have also stepped up – the Glasgow Science Centre is offering a daily online science lesson; Joe Wicks, The Body Coach, has become the nation’s PE teacher – more than 800,000 homes tuned in this morning at 9am. We’re seeing this in the NHS too. People are actively discharging themselves. Anecdotally we hear that the numbers of non-urgent cases attending A&E are reducing – a success decades of campaigns has failed to achieve. Although we also know that some are still turning up to A&E with Covid-19 symptoms hoping to be tested, despite wide publicity not to do so.
To get through, we must embrace the willingness of people to change behaviours and force the hands of those who choose not to.

The new way?

Many people’s attitudes and behaviours are moving. We’re seeing this at a community scale, and at organisational scale too. Those who were in opposition to one another a few months ago now work together for the common good. This has happened politically, but in organisations as well. Revolutions happen in times of adversity. We all know we have some tough times ahead. At thevaluecircle we’re curious about how organisations can bottle the good. Considered reflection and enquiry will reveal the things that need to stick so we can use this experience as a positive force. Some of the changes will be temporary. But others could have a profound effect on how we engage, work, use our public services and live in the future. What we’re seeing are examples of our capacity for compassion, resilience and change. Harnessing these will be the way to carve out a new future for our public services.

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