• Cath Dixon

Somebody, Anybody, Everybody and Nobody

I’ve seen the following story on many staff room notice boards in care homes:

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realised that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have.

I see lots of calls from lots of people to #savesocialcare which have inspired me to write another story about those same four people.

Social Care needed saving and Everybody was sure that Somebody should do something about it. Everybody wanted Somebody to help but Nobody was sure who Somebody was, so Nobody did anything and Everybody just kept shouting for Somebody or Anybody to help. Nobody realised that they were Somebody. Everybody has the potential to be Somebody and Anybody can choose to be Somebody.

When Anybody choses to be Somebody, Somebody is taking positive action. When Somebody leads by example, it encourages Everybody to step up. When Anybody and Everybody step up it makes more difference than Somebody could ever have made alone, but it must start with Somebody. If Nobody steps up to be Somebody, Nobody is leading the change, Everybody will still just be calling for Somebody to do something and nothing will change.

Change starts with us, we can’t keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, we must start doing things differently. But what though?

I shared an analogy a while ago about being trapped in a swamp surrounded by crocodiles, if we’re going to be Somebody we need stop focussing on the crocodiles and start paddling out of the swamp. Here are a few steps to help you do that:

  1. Apply your own oxygen mask first. If you’re not in a fit state you can’t lead your team out of this crisis. Take some time off from fighting crocodiles, you may need to bash a few really hard first to keep them down for a bit but create yourself some space to think and plan.

  2. If you can’t see the swamp for the crocodiles then ask for help. There are many amazing people in the social care sector who are ready and willing to help, it won’t be free but it will be a sound investment in the long run because if you don’t, the crocodiles will eat you.

  3. Empower your team to fight off the crocodiles whilst you focus on paddling out of the swamp. If you currently have a culture where your staff don’t seem to show any initiative or desire to fight crocodiles, you can’t expect them to change overnight. Invest in face-to-face learning and development for your team to develop their leadership abilities. They too can step up to be Somebody given the chance.

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