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A Quick Tour Of The Book



Chapter One (The Helping Triangle) discusses the path from someone having
difficulty coping with his (or her) life issues to his becoming an agency
client who is receiving services enabling him to cope better. Concurrently,
focus is on a process starting with one person seeing someone struggling to
cope and wanting to help and then moving along the Helping Triangle to the point where the person about whom they are
concerned is receiving helpful services. This social action process moves from
initiation through authorization to implementation
. The distress of a few
people prompts the development of a complex, dynamic, more or less unstable
structure intended to reduce the distress. People help people with the hope the
help offered truly helps. The book’s goal is to add depth and understanding to
the processes introduced in the chapter, to develop useful insights into human
services agency excellence, and to improved strategies for better assuring the
help offered does indeed help the people for whom the agency is responsible.


Chapter Two (Leadership VS. Management) highlights the Leadership Team and shows how to complete the steps and activities
discussed in the chapter and how to develop the Leadership Perspective from which the Team can successfully
participate within the agency’s incorporating
environment
. Through its Initiators
and Authorizers, the agency develops
and sustains sufficient resources and auspices to establish and maintain
operations. Through its Implementers
and Management, it assures services
are in place to serve its clients and that those services and agency operations
conform to accepted regulations, standards, and guidelines. Through the
agency’s services structure and its Providers,
the agency works to assure the help it provides is the help its clients need
and deserve. Through its connection with and attention to Potential Clients and to those who may refer Potential Clients to
the agency, the likelihood people in need will be better able to cope with
their needs, problems, and vulnerabilities increases. Additionally, everyone
associated with the agency is better able to contribute to the success of other
people and organizations in ways beyond the agency’s narrow responsibilities.
Only when all participants in the human services community succeed can an
individual human services agency make a difference consistent with its full
potential.


Chapter Three (Successful Leadership Connections) shows developing successful
leadership connections is a relatively complex process but can be Managed
effectively by agency staff members who meet the criteria included in the Leadership Connection Assessment
presented in the chapter. The Leadership
Team
identifies stakeholders with
whom leadership connections are wanted and selects the most appropriate Team
members to pursue the connections. It is understood those connections are
exclusively for the purpose of supporting the interests and priorities of the
agency and the stakeholders. The connections can be pursued on a planned or
unplanned basis and are then sustained using a combination of planned and
unplanned contact. Team members are clear about agency interests and
priorities, that those interests and priorities are prospective. They are
future considerations. Further, members either know or find out what the
stakeholders’ interests and priorities are, understanding their interests and
priorities are prospective as well. Leadership
connections
are always for the sake of future benefits. If the Team members
understand the prospective nature of their efforts, have the skill set
discussed in relation to the Leadership Connection Assessment, are clear about
agency interests and priorities and those of stakeholders, and assure
opportunities to pursue leadership connections, the agency has and will sustain
the Leadership Perspective needed for
human services agency excellence.


Chapter Four (The Management Team) discusses how the Management Team implements the policies, rules, and guidelines
promulgated for the agency by the authorizing entities with which the agency is
associated. Beyond this, the Management Team is dedicated to assuring the
agency’s internal eco system
functions successfully. These two purposes combine to assure the agency and its
staff are continuously mission focused and outcome seeking. Only to the extent
agency clients more successfully cope with the needs, problems, and
vulnerabilities for which they access services can the Management Team be
judged to be successful.


It is not the primary task of
either the Management Team or its members to Manage people. Rather, they are
charged with successful Management of the agency’s internal eco system. Team
members are expected to bring a high level of personal and professional skill
to the complex task of maintaining the system’s functioning at a peak level
consistent with achieving the agency mission. Team members adhere to the guiding principles and adopt the priorities of cooperation, loyalty,
caring, sharing, respect, trust, and integrity as a personal code.
Additionally, they fair well when assessed using the twenty assessment
questions presented in the chapter. If all Management Team members meet these
criteria, the likelihood of Team success is good and that of agency excellence
is high.


Chapter
Five
(Establishing the Agency) explains
how we know who agency clients should
be and understand the issues and difficulties they are having coping with the
problems in their lives. Readers examine the resources and opportunities
Potential Clients have as they struggle to cope and appreciate that their
struggles relate mostly to their limited access to opportunities and resources
other people access on a private, self-directed basis. Attention is focused on
some of those difficulties and issues to develop an intervention focus for the agency. In turn, an intervention array enabling agency clients to cope more
successfully is developed. Throughout this process, the agency’s stakeholders are engaged at each step,
maximizing their concurrence with agency decisions and minimizing dissonance and disagreement.
Additionally, a Knowledge Pool is
formed and involves participants in assuring the agency’s intervention array
and working model for delivering
those interventions to agency clients represent best practices in human
services delivery.


Chapter
Six
(Structuring the Internal Agency
Eco System) brings forward the working
model
for services delivery developed in the previous chapter and established
as the core function of the agency
eco system. Using this working model, the secondary functions circle is
conceptually developed, with accountability, responsibility, and authority
delegated from the agency Board to
its CEO and the Executive Function and then to various secondary functions such as Administrative Services, Fiscal
Services, Human Resources Services, etc. The duties and responsibilities
required to efficiently and effectively manage the agency’s internal eco system are then assigned to
the secondary functions as sub-functions and associated activities. As this
process proceeds, careful attention is given to the relative balance between diversity and scale, with the goal of
minimizing both. Through this structuring process, the agency internal eco
system is populated with multiple elements and sub-functions working together
quietly and synergistically. The collective functioning of these multiple
elements and sub-functions transcends the simple cumulative value of their
individual presence. What may appear to be merely a collection of diverse
elements, when managed correctly, transforms into a functioning eco system helping the clients the
agency serves more successfully cope.


Chapter Seven (Staffing the Agency)
points out how readers can understand the agency’s internal eco system in terms of the elements and entities within
the system. The internal eco system is also understood in terms of the people
who accept the duties and responsibilities involved in assuring the agency’s
internal eco system functions successfully. The best-designed system fails if
the right people are not in the right positions, doing the right things right.
For this reason, selecting the right people is critical for the success of the
internal eco system. The process of selecting the right people starts with a
continuing commitment to the guiding
principles
and priorities
included in Chapter four. With those prerequisites in mind, agency staff
members expect a working environment where they function with a minimum of administrative or
bureaucratic control or interference. They
function as self-managing organisms within the internal eco
system and succeed with a minimum of traditional
Management
. Functioning
independently within the existing rule
and resource parameters
is a bottom-line requirement for agency staff
membership. Their success is then judged in terms of the extent to which they
achieve the expected outcomes. For those candidates who choose to pursue the
agency opportunity, there are additional requirements. They must be substantially qualified for the position
they are considering. This means they must meet or exceed the high academic,
licensure, skill, and experience standards set by the agency for the positions
they are considering. Further, they must qualify as a staff member in reference
to the criteria discussed in the Chapter. Beyond this, they need to flourish in
an environment within which Managers function consistently with the Manager criteria presented in the
chapter and in earlier chapters. Quite simply, the agency’s internal eco system
is an atypical work environment for exceptional people.


Chapter Eight (Meta Management)
discusses strategies for better assuring the
agency eco system
functions efficiently and effectively. The eco system in
principle is self-regulating and sustains its functioning indefinitely in the
absence of drift. Unfortunately, drift is an ever-present, unavoidable
ingredient of human services agency life. The effects of drift are exceptions
in the functioning of the agency eco system or in its sub-systems and
elements. The task of agency Managers is to create Indicators letting
them know when exceptions are present. For each element, they develop Exceptions Maps to show them, in an organized
way, what the possible exceptions are in the element needing their careful
attention. For each exception on the map, they create an Indicator they track so they are alerted when
exceptions occur. There are various types of Indicators including data, Staff
member observation, activity records, external feedback, peer review, reports
from auditors and other evaluators, and so on. They create those Indicators and
then use them consistently and continuously. There is no benefit to having an
Indicator alerting them to an exception and then ignoring it or simply taking a
wait and see attitude. They must evaluate its significance and consider
strategies to reduce or eliminate the exception to which it is alerting them. Most
exceptions are not self-correcting
.


Managers directly intervene
with most drift-related situations
but modify their approach when working with staff members who are relatively
autonomous and function more or less independently, are committed to doing a
good job, and intend to do their best work, every time. When working with staff
members, Managers use indirect approaches,
minimizing the use of command and control
strategies
, preferring to influence
staff members in ways to enhance and improve their perspectives and
performance. Nonetheless, exceptions
require Intervention
. The responsibility of Managers is to intervene to
reduce or eliminate each exception of which they are aware. Furthermore, it is
their responsibility to be aware of exceptions. They often can anticipate
exceptions; and when they do, they have the opportunity to prevent the
exception from occurring. Through Preventative Management, they
proactively intervene to avoid the exceptions jeopardizing the agency eco
system and its success. To the extent they prevent, reduce, or eliminate
exceptions anywhere in the agency eco system, the agency’s clients will cope
better, will be more successful.


The
first Appendix
includes suggested Management Guidelines for a human
services agency. Managers follow the guidelines in all of their Management
practices. Further, all agency staff members are given copies of the
Guidelines. This enables them to know what they can expect in their
interactions with agency Managers. Most of the information in the guidelines is
discussed elsewhere in the book. The guidelines are included so they are available
in a summary form and more convenient for easy reference.


The
second Appendix
presents The Ten Commandments of Management. Here, readers have a capsule
view of the key elements needed for Management excellence.  The third Appendix presents behavior
and strategies associated with proactive managers and proactive management.









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