A week in the life of a Spread Academy delegate – Marianne Williams
Gastroenterology dietitian Marianne Williams set up the first NHS primary care dietetic-led gastroenterology clinic in the UK in 2011. She attended the Spread Academy, facilitated by the South West Academic Health Science Network and Billions Institute, in March 2019.
Throughout the four-day academy, Marianne recorded what she learnt.
MONDAY – THE FIRST DAY
Fantastic first day with the incredible team from Billions Institute taking us through ‘digging deep’ to look at how and why we work the way we do …I learnt that I need to facilitate, not dictate.
There will be certain aspects of your project that are ‘sacred’ and cannot be modified, but ask yourself: what is optional and can be adapted? This more flexible approach is much more likely to see ‘spread’. Fundamentally, don’t tell people how to do it your way, but help them do it the way that suits their needs.
Emotionally exhausting, cognitively challenging, powerfully enlightening, and deeply touching. How to turn all your beliefs upside down, re-evaluate, and relook at your learnt assumptions. A heady day of Kleenex!
Understand that the ‘hero’ will get in the way and that a sign of success will be if you disappear from view. But make it as easy as possible to join your spread and create the right structures so that people can mould your idea to suit their individual needs. It is about informal leadership and ‘influence without authority’.
Is your persona running your show? Recognise the different personalities you use at work and laugh at yourself.
Don’t play the victim sacrificing yourself and bending under the weight of ‘there’s not enough time and people are counting on me …’.
- Avoid saying ‘should’ or ‘ought to’ while you chase the scapegoat looking for someone to blame.
- Superwoman (or man!) isn’t always the best approach – leave your inner hero behind. After all, by rushing to the rescue with your cape flapping behind, you may simply be carrying a placard into your team meeting saying ‘you’re all too incompetent to do this job… but don’t worry superperson is here to rescue you!’. Ask yourself who taught you this style of persona – and then ask it politely to leave the stage!
THURSDAY – FINAL DAY
Final day of a gruelling but incredible journey …they had warned us that we may feel uncomfortable and challenged over these four days.
It can be difficult facing your ‘life map’ and the points in your history that place you in the present. But, digging into this forgotten and often locked world has opened my eyes and I can now see more clearly what makes me tick.
Ask yourself: what work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? This is your ‘genius’. And then, most importantly, ask your team members the same question – one person’s hate may be another person’s passion.
I am a different person to the one that walked through the door of this adventure four days ago. Different, and I believe better. Thank you.
For more information please visit www.swahsn.com/spread-academy
As well as attending the Spread Academy, Marianne Williams also presented to our Quality Improvement Partner Panel in February 2019.
Follow Marianne on Twitter: @allergydiet