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Leading Change

For this new gathering,
These thoughts I here bequeath,
Scattered and delivered,
Like seeds for seven teams,
and wafted to the winds:
For Tayside’s urge for inclusion,
For equality in Glasgow and Clyde,
Through the approach to recovery
Right through the Forth Valley,
And in Ayrshire and Arran’s
Commitment to culture change,
Over stepping stones carefully
Laid in Lothian,
And Lanarkshire’s
Care for those in crisis,
In boldly sown seeds
To germinate fully through time.

Of purpose, hopes, dreams, and visions,
Of populations, multitudes, minds,
Neurons and synapses,
We share the sense that care
Has fallen short for far too long,
And that commitment to doing things better
Means agreeing that we don't yet know
How best to do things better.

It also means working with those
We’re not yet used to working with,
Coalescing around words we love and
Discovering that they mean something different to each of us,
The dogged idealists and persistent pragmatists,
And those less bothered about what happens next
Because they’ve got more pressing things on their mind.

I wish for you ears to hear the cry for help,
I wish for you eyes to recognise a crushed soul,
I wish for you the heart and the time to offer a flicker of hope,
I wish for you clarity about what you’re hoping for,
I wish for you a careful pause before making your three wishes.

And along the untrodden path,
Travel safely through the unseen,
Beyond what you're used to,
Expecting the unexpected
And embracing complexity.

Through you the voices of those redrawing the borderline,
Through you the voices of those building pathways,
Through you the voices of those making progress
With scant investment,
Through you the voices of those who arm wrestle,
Toss a coin, ip-dip to be The Most Futures-Focused Stakeholder,
Through you all, the voice of the person who cares enough
To bridge the chasm between the hard times
And the better times,
Through you the voices of those not used to having a voice,
Through you the voices of vigorous involvement.

Doing what you know needs to be done
Cannot fail,
Using every opportunity to prevent things getting worse
Cannot fail,
Nor can engagement with the catalyst of hope,
Nor the action that bubbles up as a result,
Nor the unstoppable momentum that comes
When leaders and consumers, old hands and newcomers –
When so many start to see things differently.

This is less to do with crisis and more about urgency,
Deciding now to work with the hopes within the fears,
With your particular bit of the iceberg,
Working with difficult definitions,
Matching good ideas with real resources,
Deciding to celebrate uncertainty,
And deciding that in this story
You’re the hero and not the victim.

It’s living for now with impossible challenges,
It’s the dark night of the soul,
And the risk is not recognising that it could be you,
Your friend, your sister, brother, mother, your child,
The risk is not knowing where you're going,
And not getting there in time.

There will be less crowning glory than argy bargy along the way,
Less comfort and commodiousness than counting key countables,
Less platinum-plated monitoring than
Steering clear of the hoopla of a red herring countathon,
The magic is in the umixable blend
of those who love unquantifiable nuance
And those who adore measuring the measurables,
The magic is there in the buzz you brew together.

It’s in have you got the data?
It’s in what are the latest data developments?
It’s in when are the data developments
Coming out of the pipeline?
It's in the evidence,
It's in the nuts and in the bolts,
It’s in one chunk at one time.

And it may be in the moment we admit
That love is at the heart of recovery,
Or in the moment we discover
That recovery is at the heart of love,
It may be in the shared power
Of transformational change,
Or in the experiential power
Of shared leadership,
Or in the healing power
Of shared experience.

In paths untrodden,
In the growth by margins of policy rhetoric,
Escaped from the life that shows itself,
From all the standards and beautiful documents
Hitherto published,
From the medications, discriminations, seclusions, conformities
Which too long have been offered to feed the mind;
Clear to us, now, standards not yet published—
Clear to us that the soul,
That the soul of those we work for,
Nourished while weeping, rejoices best when laughing;
Here, by ourselves, away from the whirr of the workplace,
Tallying and talked to here by tongues poetic,
No longer abashed—for in a quiet moment
We can respond as we would not dare elsewhere,
Strong upon us the life that does not show itself,
Yet contains all the rest,
Resolved to sing no songs today but those of
Justice and profound wellbeing,
Projecting them along with compassionate leaders,
Bequeathing, hence, types of hopeful care,
We proceed, for all who are, or have been, mentally distressed,
To tell the secret of our hopes and fears,
To celebrate the need for laughter and for tears.

© 2007 Elspeth Murray

For the Leading Change event
organised by the Scottish Leadership Foundation,
and the Scottish Executive, April 24th 2007



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