At a time of major cutbacks, services are being asked to do even more with less. Ironically this has led to counting fish more assiduously, while still ignoring people’s individual potential to fish.
The world is changing at an incomparable rate – and so is the way we think about the purpose of our work. Furthermore, because our jobs have an impact on global resources, the imperatives of sustainability are becoming ever more critical to conversations about what we do and what this costs. Yet, it appears that conversations about money frame the success of organisations. This means that achievement is calculated in ways that strip outcomes of their social significance. In other words, the evidence presented to boards is that which will satisfy funders: in turn fearing cuts trustees remain guarded regarding innovation, the situation is more akin to stagnation than purpose drift. Innovation, the inclusive practice development that delivers on empowerment, has seldom anywhere to sit in the bogginess of existing procedure.
For those working in mainstream services consideration of people with disabilities is a must. However, for those delivering services or support to people with disabilities accountability is not merely advisable – it is of central significance. Empowering people with disabilities, so that they may become equal partners, is a primary concern, both morally, but makes business sense.
Where leadership is understood as a shared activity in which we all have a part to play, then people with disabilities should also have a role. However, leadership is often viewed as status or role, and there is a widely held leader stereotype, a view that supports the notion that leaders require certain personal characteristics. The purpose of activity may have to be redefined so that people with disabilities can be viewed as equals – however different. For the moment, unfortunately they are often perceived as not to having the right to join in.
While shared leadership activity may be simplistic, and the reality is even less straightforward. The next 3 blogs will outline the workshops at this years’ unconference that will support people’s thinking on these issues