Chris Croft's Personal Blog

January 19, 2011

GP commissioning – the worst idea ever

Filed under: Managing People, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 7:46 pm

What were they thinking? Cameron hasn’t been too bad so far, some really good stuff, but he’s gone off the rails with this one, and everyone I talk to seems to agree. Did he not ask anyone?

The GPs just aren’t suitable for the commission role – they are too busy, don’t want to do it (most of them don’t really even want to manage their own practices let alone manage a load of NHS bureaucracy), don’t know how to do it (haven’t been trained, have no experience) and will just be wasting all their hard-earned and valuable clinical knowledge to do a management job instead. They’ll be much more expensive than the equivalent (current PCT or new alternative) manager, and not as motivated.

Of course there are some who want to do it, and some who will be great at it. Others will find ways to make money out of it. Most will move across all the existing people, paying expensive redundancy on the way and then re-employing them, and all will be the same except for an expensive period of crazy upheaval (yes, another step towards change fatigue and collapse of the whole thing) and then a finished situation with an extra link in the chain – an expensive and weak extra link.

But what annoys me most about this is that it’s another failure of management. “Can’t run a local council’s IT department?” Give it to a private company. “One or two PCTs not very efficient?” Give the whole lot, even the great ones, to someone else to have a go. Surely it would have been better to analyse which are the good and bad ones, and then just fix the bad ones, by putting in some better managers. It’s what normal organisations do.

How I hate to watch a slow motion car crash, that’s wasting money and possibly costing lives too…

Thanks for letting me rant.

PS – and of course, the Tories have no mandate from the electorate, having promised us that the NHS would be ring fenced. A bare faced lie!


January 18, 2011

Why is Clegg getting all the blame?

Filed under: News and Politics — chriscroft @ 7:20 pm

How clever that Cameron is managing to implement some unpopular policies and transfer the blame onto his minority partner, Nick Clegg. Those who voted for Nick Clegg also seem to think that he now has the power to implement anything he wants to, i.e. all the things he promised before the election. but of course he can’t. In order to share power with the Conservatives he’s had to face the reality that he can only get one policy in three through – still better than none at all, which was his other choice.

But amazingly people don’t seem to be able to grasp this, so he’s vilified over things like the student tuition fee increase. He can’t vote against it because he’s IN A COALITION! He has to sacrifice some things in order to get others.

Of course, the big decision was the moment when he decided to get into the coalition in the first place, and we all know that the four years of semi power is going to cost him later. But hey, worth a try!

January 9, 2011

Bad at relaxing

Filed under: Happiness, Time Management — chriscroft @ 11:57 pm

I got this reply to my recent tip of the month, and I thought it raised some good points, and I wanted to raise some others in reply……

Hi, Chris – I usually both enjoy and agree with most of what you say in your newsletters.  However, I have to challenge you on a statement you made in your latest newsletter which I’ve pasted below:
I do get a bit restless with all the Christmas sitting around. I just feel as if I’m not achieving anything
I think it’s such a shame that you feel you’re not achieving anything by just ‘sitting around’ – how do you know, how do you recharge your ‘batteries’ and how are you defining ‘achieving’?  You’ll know far better than I what the statistics are about how many hours we ‘work’ in this country and when we’re not actually at work, we’re often thinking about work, issues concerning us and that we’re tackling at work during our supposed ‘off duty’ time.
I don’t think that ‘work’ is what defines us as human beings and, indeed, if we only concentrated on ‘working’ I would say that we are limiting our horizons about what we are capable of and generally selling ourselves short in order to achieve a fully rounded, happy and fulfilled existence.  I was quite ambitious in my early career in local government, including taking professional courses in my own time, in an attempt to climb the career ladder but the older I’ve become, the more I realise that life is about more than work.  Although I consider that I’m very professional in my approach to my job (and I’m good at it!), I like to think that I’ve finally attained a mutually agreeable work/life balance that, yes, does include just sitting around sometimes – even if it only achieves the aim relaxing at the end of a particularly busy/stressful week!  That is still an important activity, I would say.

My reply……

Yes I agree with you, that life is about much more than just work, and to be doing too high a proportion of work is not healthy, yes absolutely.  … and so I should be better at relaxing.  I think I was trying to say that for some reason I’m not good at it, maybe Victorian work ethic, or a deep down fear of time running out, or something, who knows!?  But I think it’s a common feeling people have, not sure what the answer is at the moment….!

I know I should be recharging, but I almost feel as if my batteries run down MORE when I’m not doing anything.  But maybe they recharge without me noticing ?

Someone else emailed to say at boredom is good because it leads to creativity later.  Interesting…

Great to hear from you, keep on my case it’s good for me!




Comments from anyone else? Are you bad at relaxing? Why? Does it matter? If so, What can be done?

January 6, 2011

There’s no such thing as luck

Filed under: Assertiveness, Happiness — chriscroft @ 10:10 pm

There’s no such thing as luck – only chance and how you deal with it

Have you noticed how some people always seem to be unlucky (why does it always seem to happen to them?), while others just ARE lucky? How do they do it?

There are several views on this

One is that we get random amounts of good and bad luck. Leaving aside large tragic or life-changing events (and in fact the research shows that even people who win the lottery return to their previous level of happiness within a year, and people who lose a limb also return to their previous level of happiness after several years – which is pretty amazing) most of use get dealt lots of small cards by life every day, and some good and some are bad. Do we focus on the good or the bad? Are we knocked sideways by the bad ones and then we don’t notice or take the good opportunities? Again, the answer is to say in your head “OK, I’ll learn from that and be stronger for next time”. Difficult, but worth doing.

Another view is that you get what you think about, so if you expect things to go badly they are more likely to. Certainly when you meet a new person they pick up on your body language, negative or positive, instantly. So you should always make an effort to expect things to go well. In fact your life scripts will be strengthened by each occasion that they come true, so once you are in a good “Things always work out for me” or a bad “I’m always unlucky” circle it will tend to self perpetuate. Breaking out can be difficult, and has to be done by positive self talk (“fake it till you make it”) but if you can do this it will change your life.

Now I know that there are people who, perhaps by chance, have been dealt lots of bad cards in a row, through no fault of yours. But the question then is, what are you going to do about it? Can you still take some control of your future and make it better than the recent past. I hope so!

Hmm – do I really believe this?
Well, sort of.

There is luck in which cards we get dealt, but it’s up to us how we respond. Do we only notice the bad ones? Do we let the bad ones knock us sideways, while failing to take up the opportunities offered by the good ones?

Then there’s the fact that we influence the cards we get. Most situations involving other people are affected by our behaviour. And there’s the weird but possible effect that what we focus on is more likely to happen. Our fears which we brood upon, and our goals that we focus upon, are more likely to happen. I don’t know how it works but I have found this to be true many times.

Of course there are people who are dealt one really big bad card (death of relatives, disablement, etc) and it’s clearly not their fault, but this is rare. For the vast majority of people there is a mix of good and bad cards, and it’s how you respond the them. By the way, some people react to even the huge bad events by fighting back. Many successful entrepreneurs started out with nothing or have had traumatic events earlier in their lives, and it seems to actually be the source of their strength. Don’t ever try to tell them they’re lucky!

People who have large luck events in their life tend to return to type quite fast. A happiness survey that I say had found that people who win the lottery are back at their previous level of happiness within a year, and, perhaps more surprisingly, people who lose a limb also return to their previous level of happiness within a year. So perhaps even the rare and large luck events don’t have as much effect as we might think.

The famous golfer Gary Player told people that the more he practised the luckier he got.
While not in that league, it annoys me when people say I’m lucky to be able to play the sax and to be in a band. It’s not luck! I’ve been learning it for 35 years, and the band has been practising for ten! Working out a new song, finding another bass player, getting every gig, it all takes work, and it’s not luck.

But what about David Beckham, Johnny Wilkinson, etc, aren’t they lucky to have been born with such talent? Well, sort of, but a) there are others with the talent who haven’t used it, and b) these people turn the talent into skill by A LOT of practising – endless kicking of balls since they were kids.

And going back to me and my sax, I don’t have much talent at all but I can get to 80% of a talented person by hard work. I’ll never be world class, but I can be good enough to have fun in a band, and so can anyone who is prepared to do the work.

It’s not about luck, and lack of luck cannot be used as an excuse for laziness. Do the work!

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