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The ‘I’s Have It The I’s Have It  – ‘I’ Messages And The Care Review – How To Take A Response ‘To Infinity And Beyond!’

The ‘I’s have it The I’s have it – ‘I’ messages and the Care Review – how to take a response ‘To infinity and beyond!’

This is a story about the Care Review

Stories do not exist in isolation, they are always part of a larger shared story.

Stories when part of an organisation link together, parts of a greater whole.

Storytelling, when properly practiced, creates a dialogue, it’s a creative act. It’s reaching out to other to engage and interact with, seeking an audience as active as the storyteller.

The contrast is with a message being ‘pushed’, often with an imperative and performative insistence.

A recent podcast included the idea of stories being able to ‘Illustrate, Illuminate, Persuade’.

To use some more ‘I’s, the Care Review was not Imaginative as it was captured by a preconceived Ideological idea.

It occurred to us at NCERCC that many in social work/care circles are not getting the same story as the one that the Care Review and government think they are telling.

The Care Review is a story in abstraction. It was a managed interaction towards a preconceived conclusion.

An “I-statement” focuses on your feelings and experiences. It does not focus on your perspective of what the other person has done or failed to do. The Care Review did not focus on feelings and experiences and does focus on what people have not done or failed to do.

We needed the Care Review actively and deeply listen.

The listening loop was not initiated by the person/people with the power, it was not an independent review. You have to take people with you and the Care Review told the story of those closest to its ideological view. It did not seek to reach out to those of us who were sceptical (at least). It tells a plausible story, but to take more of us along willingly there needed to be a greater engagement with the readership.

Nothing we have read from anyone accepts it uncritically and most supports one bit or another, but the bits don’t make a story.

If we all are characters in the Care Review story perhaps like Toy Story we need to create our own story – “To Infinity and beyond!”

We need to democratise the power. Rather than the individual voice we now need to hear the collective voice.

Our I-message or I-statement needs to be an assertion about the feelings, beliefs, values, etc. This contrasts with a “you-message” or “you-statement“, which often begins with the word “you”

The ‘personal is political’ is the joining of the dots from me to you, to we, to local, to national, to international. Better a collective story made grass roots up than an imposed plan from above.

If the Government response is seen as that of a mentor it needs I-messages as a less threatening way to confront the people they seek to influence. This approach might take a mentoring approach, a three-part I-message: a neutral description of planned behaviour, consequences of the behaviour, and the emotions of the speaker about the situation.

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ – cultural change comes before organisational. So many change agents focus on organisational and not the cultural. The Care Review aims for cultural but only gets to the organisational.  This was compounded by the Government response.

Responding to the Care Review and Government response – a better way forwards?

An “I” message can help you communicate your concerns, feelings, and needs without blaming others or sounding threatening. It helps you get your point across without causing the listener to shut down.

An “I” message says “this is how it looks from my side of things.”

Four parts of an “I” Message:

  1. “When you___________________________________________________” state observation
  2. “I feel or I think _______________________________________________ ” state feeling
  3. “Because ___________________________________________________” state need
  4. “I would prefer that____________________________________________ ” state preference

Want to know more about story telling in practice?

The role of personal storytelling in practice | Iriss

Here’s an interesting observation.

The Care Review is about childhood. Play and Playing is a central part of childhood.

The Care review does not mention Play once in its report? (there’s one mention of playing football).

Isn’t play a core part of children finding their own self and story?