Creating a powerful partnership

An example of how one-page profiles can help match people’s personalities and outlook on life to create a powerful partnership. Carlton matched his one-page profile with his team to help find the right person to support him.

Carlton's one-page profile

Carlton’s one-page profile

Written by: Dimensions

Carlton is a young and active man who shows a great determination to achieve.  Carlton does not use words to communicate and so it is important that the people around him understand him as a person and what he is expressing with his emotions and behaviour.

Carlton, who has a learning disability and some serious health related issues, is supported by social care provider Dimensions.  Carlton produced his first one-page profile with the help of his key worker, friends, family and the support team that knew him best. It was recognised that the people supporting him needed to know and understand him as an individual and everything that he has to offer and the one-page profile could help him to communicate this.

The foundations of his profile were built during Carlton’s first person-centred review, which looked at how Dimensions could best support Carlton as an individual based on his likes and dislikes and what he needed to be healthy and happy.

Carlton’s one-page profile provided the information that helped him and his team find the best staff match for him. It was essential that Carlton’s support staff had the right personality traits and approach. From his one-page profile it was clear that Carlton needed someone with a “can-do” attitude, someone who is active and observant and tender at times. He loves going on holiday twice a year and trying new things and he needed someone who would be patient and supportive of this. One support worker fitted the bill more than any other; Anna. Because Anna too had a one-page profile, which contained many of the things that Carlton looks for in a good support worker, it was easy to match them together. She is creative, energetic, motivated, loves to go out and treats people as individuals and with respect. She also views family as very important, something which she shares with Carlton. The combination of Carlton’s and Anna’s one-page profiles proved to be very useful.

Anna is confident and helps Carlton connect with others, empowering him to do more of what he has outlined as important to him on his profile. In particular, Carlton likes to try-out new things which is a great match for Anna as she loves a challenge. She wants Carlton to be the best he can be and together they have the skills and character traits to make it happen.

As well as being an excellent tool to help match the perfect staff member to Carlton, his one-page profile is a positive display of his gifts, skills and traits. It communicates what others value in him, something which helps new people connect and reminds the people closest to him what a special person he is.

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One-Page profiles; ‘How things are done at Dimensions’

Written by Dimensions UK Chief Executive, Steve Scown

Steve Scown

Steve Scown

As someone who believes firmly in leading by example, I developed my one-page profile some time ago and asked my colleagues to help me. By engaging with them in this way I had to think more deeply than I had before about what I needed from the people around me and about what was really important for me, as opposed to a long nice-to-have list.

At Dimensions we have been working towards becoming a more person-centred organisation for a number of years. As one of the leading not-for-profit providers of care and support services, we have recognised the responsibility upon us not to only provide person centred services for the people with learning disabilities and autism we support, but also to share our learning across our sector and other industries. One-page profiles have proved to be an incredibly powerful tool in helping us fulfil both of these aspirations.

My own introduction to one page profiles came as a result of our work with Helen Sanderson Associates and their potential use across many aspects of our business was soon evident.

After I had completed my profile, it was posted on our website  along with profiles for our executive team and members of our board.  I have been struck by the number of companies who have remarked how useful these were in helping them understand how to engage more effectively with us as individuals and as a company. Recently a team of legal advisors bidding for our contract came along to the interview with their own one page profiles as a result of seeing ours on our website.

We have since this initial phase begun to use them right across the business as well as embedding them as a critical tool in how we support people. In short they have become recognisable as part of ‘how things are done in Dimensions’.

In our services they have enabled us to link people with similar interests. After all when being helped to bake a cake, it’s a much nicer to be supported by someone who loves cooking and baking as opposed to someone like me who regularly burns toast and whose passion is rugby.

In addition to their use in services we have more recently strived to get one-page profiles embedded in our business support departments. Visitors to our offices will find a file with the profiles of people who work in that office – this has helped people break the ice when meeting someone for the first time. Attaching links to profiles on our e-mail footers has also helped remotely based staff feel more conformable phoning people they haven’t met who work in our centrally based teams rather sending the usual e-mail query. Many of our business support teams have developed team profiles to help others understand ‘what makes them tick’.

As with most things that require a change in behaviour (individual or corporate) and which brings about material benefits it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Some people have had concerns re sharing personal information. I think the key here has been to help people remember they are in control of the information they share and that the aim is to help people connect more easily with them. In such busy times it’s also easy to see these as a task that once it’s done is done. Our learning has been that they are more effective when they are alive and are updated as we grow and develop as individuals as opposed to something you create once and file away.

I think the introduction and embedding of one page profiles has made a really positive impact upon how we work and our organisational culture . But, I don’t think we’ve finished yet – looking ahead we will continue to think and develop new ways of using them. Already we’re thinking of how we could embed them as a key part of our recruitment process and I can see us asking families to complete a profile so our staff can better understand what is important for them and how we can better connect.

So if you’ve got any ideas on how we can use them or would like to know more about our journey please feel free to leave a comment on this blog or contact us directly.

 

Inductions, introductions and ice-breakers

An example of how sharing one-page profiles can help break the ice and connect people in the workplace.

Stella's one-page profile

Stella’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Stella Cheetham is Executive Director of HR at Dimensions. She was appointed in 2011 and is responsible for making Dimensions an employer of choice and ensuring that our staff receive the training and help they need to provide the best possible services to the people we support.

Dimensions employ 5000 people and everyone writes their own one-page profile as part of the induction process. Staff are encouraged to include them in their e-mail signature footers so they can easily be shared. The Senior Management Team have their profiles on the Dimensions website, and use them in a variety of ways including preparing for meetings with staff, people we support, families and commissioners.

When Stella joined Dimensions, she had not used person-centred thinking tools before but quickly saw the benefit in creating her own one-page profile. She spoke with family, friends and colleagues in order to identify what people like and admire about her. She reflected on what is important to her, and for her, in order to complete these sections.

Stella’s one-page profile is shared widely with people we support, staff and other stakeholders. Stella believes that by sharing her profile before meeting people for the first time it has helped break the ice.

Last year, Stella took over direct management of a team and whilst at a team event sat next to an administrator who had read her one-page profile. In doing so she realised that they both loved the same band. Stella observed “I could have talked all day with this person, and not necessarily realised that we liked the same music, but because of our profiles, straight away we had something in common. By sharing our one-page profiles across the whole team it has helped us all feel more connected.”

The one-page profiles can help initiate conversations at larger events too. Dimensions Senior Management Team visit each of our operational regions yearly for a Forum with people we support and staff. The one-page profiles are shared beforehand, and at one such event, a person we support approached Stella because they had liked her picture and profile and were interested to ask questions about it.

Stella has found the one-page profiles an excellent way of introducing people to each other in preparation for meetings, but also in seeing the whole person, and understanding more about how a person likes to work, and therefore how to support them to achieve this.

Connecting to the families you work with

An example of how the process of creating a one-page profile has led one professional to use the information they gathered to improve their own approach to first introductions.

Trina's one-page profile

Trina’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Trina works as a Support Advisor for Dimensions, talking to potential new customers and their families about what kind of support is important for them and what is available.

She uses her one-page profile to introduce herself.  As well as using the traditional one-page profile format, Trina produced a business card from the information she gathered when creating her profile.  Much like the profile, the business card includes key skills and gifts that people like and admire about Trina, along with helpful details about what is important to her about her job and how best she goes about it.

The business cards are sent out to people and families before any face-to-face meeting to introduce Trina and her approach. Trina will update her card from feedback and comments she receives from people that read it, for example, one gentleman commented that her photo did not look like her so she promptly set about changing it.

One-page profiles and the resulting business cards are now common practice for all Support Advisors. Trina feels more connected with people and families once they have been introduced to her through the business card and it provides more opportunities to develop a good relationship with people right from the off.

The business cards were created because they also contained Trina’s contact details and the design was eye-catching. They were also quite robust.

Trina shares information about being open to new ideas, taking an interest in others and being hard working and conscientious, which has helped people realise she is there to help. Her one-page profile also lets people know she is very open to feedback, that she is motivated by seeing others achieve and that she’s loyal, which has helped pave a path towards constructive and open conversations.

Trina’s one-page profile fills the gap between telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings. She feels that people and their families have got to know her a little bit before they sit down and talk, and this puts people at ease and provides Trina with more confidence to get on with her job.

Providing the best support because you are well matched; How Learning Disability Support Workers use one-page profiles

An example of how by introducing one-page profiles, this social care provider was not only able to improve the working experience for their staff, but form better, more cohesive teams and match individuals to each other, providing person-centred support.

Support Worker Marie's one-page profile

Support Worker Marie’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Marie works for Dimensions. She is a member of a team that supports people with learning disabilities. In particular, she supports Denise who she knows very well, and with whom she is well matched. She is fun and active, yet likes to work in a very organised environment with a clear idea of what is expected of her. 

Marie developed her one-page profile for two main reasons. To help her fellow team members get to know her and her approach to work. And to help the matching process between herself and the individuals she supports. She talked to friends, family and colleagues to capture the things that people like and admire about her.

Marie has always considered herself a team player and loves her job. Her frustrations used to come from not always knowing her place in the group and uncertainly over where and how she could be most productive and utilise her most effective skills.

Marie’s whole team completed their one-page profiles together. They then took time to share them and used the information to discuss which roles each team member would flourish in. They also opened up about how best to support each other. This process helped Marie significantly. She felt she could take on work with confidence and communication with team members made sense and was constructive.

The biggest benefit was that support workers were matched to the person they had most chance of developing a positive relationship with, and therefore providing the best support. Using one-page profiles not only arranged things so that Marie was supporting people she was best matched to, the whole team was clear about why and how best to support it to happen – a great way to build and maintain great, person-centred teams.

Marie’s frustrations have disappeared. The content of her one-page profile has been useful and productive, and this has been a benefit for the whole team, and – most importantly – for people the team support.

 

Managing a long term health condition

An example of how a person introduced to one-page profiles in a professional capacity used the approach in their personal life to help manage a long-term health condition.

Jo Greenbank's one-page profile

Jo Greenbank’s one-page profile

Written By Dimensions

Jo is 36 year’s old. She was diagnosed with endometriosis five years ago. There is no cure for endometriosis, but Jo has had a number of surgical and medical treatments to try and manage the condition. In 2011, Jo started working for Dimensions, a person-centred organisation who supports people with learning disabilities and autism, and who use person-centred thinking in all areas of their work.

Jo has been using the person-centred thinking tools as part of her role, but has also come to realise that they can be applied to her personal life and in particular her health. As well as producing a one-page profile for work purposes, Jo decided to create one in relation to her endometriosis  with the aim of assisting her to reflect on what’s important to her when managing the condition, and how others can support her well.

Jo developed her profile by talking with friends and family and thinking carefully about how the condition makes her feel, and what she wants the people around her to know.

Jo has used the one-page profile with doctors, so that they understand what is important to her, especially the need to see beyond the label of the condition.  She has also used it with other people in her life who support her. Often, when in pain, it can be difficult to see things clearly and with perspective, therefore preparing for this at a time when the condition is under control has been helpful. It has given Jo the time and space to think about what really matters.

The one-page profile has empowered Jo to think about getting the balance right between what is important to her and what she needs in terms of support to stay fit and healthy. She will continue to update it and plans to use it in preparation for seeing new doctors throughout the next stage of her treatment.

You can find out about other person-centred thinking tools to help you manage long term health conditions from thinkaboutyourlife.org.

Team work – making it work!

An example of how one-page profiles can be developed for teams as well as individuals and how by using them, people within the team share a sense of common purpose, celebrating what they are good at and recognising what is important to them as a collective.

East Berkshire one-page profile

East Berkshire one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

The East Berkshire region is one of support provider Dimensions’ operational regions, covering the areas of Wokingham & Bracknell. Around 200 people are supported within this region, in a range of different settings, and there are over 350 members of staff.

Although each individual member of staff and person supported has their own one-page profile, as part of Dimensions Personalisation Journey, the regional management team wanted to develop a profile which reflected the team as a whole. This has been shared as part of the roll-out of our personalisation journey.

The profile was developed by one of the Assistant Operations Directors who used ideas and thoughts captured at a regional management meeting, as well as asking others who work with the team internally and externally.

The ’East Berks one-page profile’ has been shared with managers and staff teams throughout the region. People we support, and other internal and external stakeholders have seen the profile. Following on from the regional profile, a number of individual staff teams have created their own team profiles as well.

The regional one-page profile has helped the staff recognise their strengths and achievements, and acknowledge what is important to them on a collective basis. It has given the whole region a sense of their identity and enabled them to share this with others.

Developing the profile has helped the staff team feel connected to what they are trying to achieve, and to recognise what it important to them. It has supported the personalisation journey, as staff can connect up individual profiles to team profiles and to the regional profile, creating a sense of shared purpose and understanding, as well as celebrating things that we feel we are good at.

My profile evolves with me

An example of how people use one-page profiles in the workplace to help build effective and harmonious working relationships. Steve’s story also highlights how one-page profiles work best when they continually evolve with a person.

Steve's one-page profile

Steve’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Steve Inch is the co-chair of Dimensions Council. He retired from his role as Dimensions’ Deputy Chief Executive in 2012 and now spends some of his own time working to develop Dimensions’ involvement strategy.

The Dimensions Council is a representative body of the people Dimensions’ support, and brings important issues to the Board’s attention twice a year.

Whilst at Dimensions Steve was introduced to one-page profiles and created one with his friends, family and work colleagues past and present. In the section where people describe what they like and admire about Steve, his calm, fair and considerate nature is highlighted; something that helps put the people that work alongside him at ease.

Steve’s one-page profile has been used to introduce him to the members of Dimensions Council, particularly those that have not worked with him before. Is was important that he found ways to help people understand his work-style as well as his general approach to people and life, so Council members could work with him effectively and harmoniously.

Steve has shared his one-page profile with all the Dimensions Council members. He has also shared and reinforced elements of it within Council meetings and everyone has had opportunity to read it carefully in their own time, in fact all Council members have a one-page profile and they are all shared across the entire membership.

Steve keeps his one-page profile up-to-date by reviewing it in his own time when reflecting on his learning from both his work and life experiences. If ever his one-page profile is updated he shares this with his co-chair and the Council membership so that it continues to evolve with him.

How do I match the right support to me?

An example of how one woman uses her one-page profile to ensure the right support team are matched to her and that the people in her life respect her decisions, supporting her in the things that she has stated as important.

Denise's one-page profile

Denise’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions 

Denise is an elected member of learning disability and autism support provider Dimensions’ Council. She is also very talented at knitting blankets and scarves and has recently moved in with her fiancé, Stuart. Denise has a learning disability and receives paid-support from Dimensions.

Denise has a one-page profile to let her staff and others that spend time with her know what is important to her and how best to support her. In particular, this is useful for new people in Denise’s life as she feels it is very important for them to understand who she is and the things that matter to her quickly. She hopes it will give her staff team the confidence to support her in the right way, right from the start. It is used to introduced new people to Denise so that they get to know her well, especially the section on what others ‘like and admire’ about her. The profile is a key element of her support plan and it will change and evolve depending on where she is in her life and what she wants to achieve.

Denise’s one-page profile lets people know that there are some things she knows she can let slip around the house, and she gives permission to people to sometimes encourage her to gets things done. As a clear boundary, she also states that her decisions need to be respected and that this is very important to her. This has helped clarify her support team’s role, and also helped keep Denise in control.

Her one-page profile also makes it very clear that to make decisions she needs the right information at hand. This has proved very useful for her time on the Dimensions’ Council (and other groups she has attended) as her support worker goes through items in detail with Denise so she can have confidence in her opinion on matters that arise.

Finally, Denise makes it very clear in her one-page profile that Stuart (her fiancé) is a very important part of her life and that he supports and cares for her. This has helped her support team recognise that their role when Denise and Stuart are together changes quite a lot, as when they are together they are very independent and private.

Denise’s one-page profile has a number of uses and has been a real success. It relies on people taking it seriously and putting its content into action as Denise can be a shy person and at times will not always stress its importance. The key to its success is getting the right staff match for Denise, and using the one-page profile to define further their relationship and what ‘good’ support looks like to Denise.

Helping people live the life they choose

An example of how one-page profiles can help a person communicate their working style. Carl’s story also highlights how profiles can be used by a Quality Auditor as a review tool by assessing whether or not a provider is supporting people to achieve the things that they state as important.

Carl's one-page profile

Carl’s one-page profile

Written by Dimensions

Carl Shaw is a Quality Auditor at Dimensions. He carries out audits so that we can measure the quality of services against an agreed set of standards called Reach2; they outline what people should expect from a supported living service so that they can, for example, choose where and who they live with, how they are supported and who supports them.  As well as being an excellent Auditor, Carl has rounded experience in his field as he too has a learning disability.

As a Quality Auditor, Carl’s one- page profile has been used to introduce him to the people living in the services he audits, and the staff teams there.  In developing his one-page profile, Carl asked his family, some friends, colleagues and fellow trainees at a course he attended about person-centred reviews what they admired and liked about him. Carl got lots of feedback and decided to categorise the answers into three parts – work attributes, things that keep him on an even keel and other attributes.

Carl likes to have a good balance of home life and work life. He works 25 hours a week which enables him to feel fulfilled in both areas of his life. His one-page profile reflects this and so the people working with him are aware of this important balance without Carl having to explain it.

Carl’s one-page profile highlights that it is important to him that people we support get enough support to live the life they choose – the Reach2 standards are assessing this. In his one-page profile Carl explains that he might come across as strict in his assessment of our services, but that is because the quality of the service people experience in order to live their life is very important to him.

Carl also asks managers for the one-page profiles of the people they support. He finds this an essential tool for his job because when he visits a service he can look at the things that are important to the person, and then asses if those things have been achieved or are being worked on.

Carl also mentions in his profile that he needs support with writing and English.  He is now doing an English literacy course to help him to be able to type reports better. This is another benefit that has come out of sharing important information by using a one-page profile.