Performing The Heart of Care (Compassionate Care conference presentation)

Here’s a link to a PDF of the presentation I gave at the Compassionate Care conference at Teeside University in April. The presentation develops on some of the points I made in earlier talks I gave in Toronto and Tasmania with regards to our attempts to practice kindness, compassion, and healing care in culturally unsustainable and toxic environments. The programme of the Compassionate Care conference is below. McCann The Heart of Care Teesside 2015    

Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures (Helsinki) conference proceedings

All the material related to the Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures conference (Helsinki, 6-8 May 2015) is now available at the conference website: Streamed plenary sessions with the keynote speeches: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/helsinki2015/programme/conference-programme#videos  Students’ reflections from the conference: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/final-conference/Reflections_2.pdf List of abstracts:  http://congress.cc.jyu.fi/helsinki2015/schedule/proceed.html List of participants: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/final-conference/COSTconferenceparticipants_all.pdf The final publication of the COST Action IS 1007 “Culture in, as and for Sustainable Development” and the Executive Summary: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/outputs Hard copies can also be delivered if requested. Feel free to share the information about the publication and the conference in your networks. You may use the media release which is attached and also available at: http://www.culturalsustainability.eu/final-conference/Mediarelease.pdf On behalf of all the conference organisers, Katriina and Sari Culture(s) in Sustainable Futures | 6-8 May 2015 | Helsinki  

Cultural Climate and Culture Change

The core of the work of Hummingbird is that cultural climate is the key driver of behaviour, expectations, analytic frameworks, and quality of relationship within organisations.The most important dimension of an organisational culture might be characterised as its “cultural climate”, or, in shorthand, the personality of an organization. The cultures of organizations differ in the way that each person has a different personality, that is, a dynamic pattern of variation in attitude, behaviour, and social interaction that tends to be consistent over long periods. The better you understand the personality of your organization, the better you will be able to respond to the challenges it faces.To speak of “a cultural climate”, then, is to speak of the dispositional quality of a particular organisational culture, considered in comparison to other organisational cultures or to other times or places within the same organisation. In colloquial terms, the cultural climate of an organisation here means, “what has tended to happen, what tends to happen, and what will tend to happen in a particular organisation (specified by location(s) over a designated time).“Culture change” is the process of actively intervening to change the cultural climate of an organisation, and supporting that process by way of

Thinking About “Culture”

“Culture” can be a very confusing term. People use the term in so many ways. At its most empty and rhetorical, “culture” can be used as a catch-all term to express positivity, and aspiration, without people actually saying what they mean when they use the term. At its most specific, “culture” can mean the everyday details of our lives, down to the clothes we wear and the food we eat. In the spaces in between, the meaning of “culture” tends to rely heavily on the perspective of the person speaking, and on the richness of their imagination or the restrictions of their personal or political agenda. For me, “culture” refers very simply to what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. This is deliberately broad – it is important to not automatically exclude anything from our understanding of culture as a general concept. This then provides a comparative baseline, against which it is possible to make sense of the diverse meanings and rhetorics of the term. To what extent does someone’s meaning of “culture” diverge from this broad sense of it? Is a particular understanding of “culture” only limited to what has happened, what is happening, and what

Self-care and Enclosure

Self-care isn’t impossible in culturally unsustainable environments of enclosure (difficult, even toxic working environments), but it does tend to be rendered unlikely, unless you make ready, strengthen your sense of presence and resolve, and clarify what’s important to you before entering the arena.  When all around you is swirling, it’s important that you don’t start swirling too. You can go into it convinced that all will be well, that the integrity of your ego and confidence will remain intact. Some people go the other way, actively wanting their personalities to be displaced, dissolved, and reformed, but the consequences of that can be disastrous. People work in difficult environments for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they love the buzz, the conflict, and the drive. That stress can get addictive. Sometimes it’s because they feel like they have no option but to, on account of financial necessity. Sometimes it’s out of a sense of family loyalty. Whatever the reason, the most difficult work environments often shroud their cultural unsustainability through high employee turnover. Staying in a difficult environment for a number of years will grind anyone down, even if you rise to the so-called top of the pile. Sometimes it’s as simple as your adrenal system

The He(art) of Care: Changing the Cultural Climate Equation (full text)

This is the text of a keynote address for the Enhancing Practice 14 conference for Practice Development in Toronto in 2014.         The audio recording of the talk is available here: http://soundcloud.com/dr-anthony-mccann/the-heart-of-care-changing-the-culture-change-equation. *** I’d like to thank Nadine and the organisers for the invitation to speak here today. If keynotes are anything like giving a speech at a wedding, I suppose I’m obliged to start with a joke. Two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and says, “How do you drive this thing?” My relationship with healthcare goes back a long way. I was born in a hospital. And I wouldn’t have been born at all if my Dad, a young seminarian training for the priesthood, hadn’t fallen in love with the good-looking nurse that tended to him while he was waiting for an operation. And on behalf of my family, thanks to all of you who work in hospitals as nurses and doctors. You’re awesome. My wife is chronically ill and lives with a myriad of complications that come with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disorder, and epilepsy, and we have two kids under two. Without the support of health workers our

The Elimination of Uncertainty: the engine of enclosure

Operating as if the elimination of uncertainty is possible, plausible, and desirable is what drives the cancer of “enclosure” at the heart of organisational or institutional practice. Enclosure is the accelerative and intensifying process in play when good situations go bad and when bad situations get worse. When left unchallenged, enclosure spreads, it deepens, and it corrodes the core cultural supports of your organisation, among them productivity, employee engagement, creativity, and trust. When this happens, it is “business as usual” that makes the unhelpful difference. The assertion of control, the quest for perfection, the correction of error, the drive for efficiency, the targeting of enemies, the defeat of competitors, the solving of problems, the silencing and eradication of opposition and resistance, the assertion of unquestionable truth, the desire for purity, an insistence on sameness, a lack of acceptance or respect for women in the workplace … all of these and more can be versions of the elimination of uncertainty in practice. Following the principles of Hummingbird’s Cultural Climate Framework, an enclosing cultural climate comes with what I call the Organisational Enclosure Triad – an environment saturated with the elimination of uncertainty ethos tends also to be characterized by chronic heightened intensity, and by chronic heightened directivity. While there are many more features of enclosing cultural climates, these

Reading to inform, inspire, and ignite your exploration of leadership and culture change (Oct 2014)

David Abrams. 1996. The Spell of the Sensuous. New York: Vintage Books. Les Back. 2007. The Art of Listening. Oxford: Berg. Marc Ian Barasch. 2005. Field Notes on the Compassionate Life: A Search for the Soul of Kindness. New York: Rodale. Bernard M. Bass. 1995. “Theory of Transformational Leadership Redux.” Leadership Quarterly 6(4), 463-478. Gregory Bateson. 1973. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Frogmore, St. Albans: Paladin. Annabel Beerel. 2009. Leadership and Change Management. London: Sage. David Bollier and Silke Helfrich, eds. 2012. The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State. Amherst, MA: Levellers Press. David Bornstein. 2007. How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas. New York: Oxford University Press. Richard E. Boyatzis and A. McKee. 2005. Resonant Leadership: Renewing Yourself and Connecting with Others Through Mindfulness, Hope, and Compassion. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. Peter R. Breggin. 1997. The Heart of Being Helpful: Empathy and the Creation of a Healing Presence. New York: Springer Publishing. Brené Brown. 2012. Daring Greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable tranforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York: Gotham Books. Bernard Burnes. Managing Change. Harlow: FT/Prentice Hall. (Most recent edition) Pema Chödrön. 2003. Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion. Boston: Shambala. Ann