Implementing the Outcomes Star: my path to Triangle

Headshot photograph of Helen Bacon

Implementation Lead Helen Bacon reflects on her experiences to date, and how her career path has led her to Triangle.

I vowed I would one day work for Triangle since I first discovered the Outcomes Star in 2009. I’d rooted this milestone on my career path while working for a consortium and helping the voluntary sector prepare for the NHS Personalisation Agenda. The Outcomes Star was the answer to our question “How do we evidence change and demonstrate we are working in a person-centered way?”

It has taken me 12 years to get here, and after 12 weeks it felt like home!  The team is exactly as I imagined they would be – knowledgeable, passionate, and generous with their time in supporting frontline staff using the Outcomes Stars, as well as each other, helping me feel included early on. 

My path to Triangle has provided me with a wealth of knowledge across criminal justice, social care and community mental health to bring to this brilliant team, and an understanding of how to implement the Outcomes Star from the experiences I’ve had along the way.

My path to Triangle

In the 90s my forward-thinking secondary school trained us young volunteers to set up our own bully-line listening service, which helped develop my empathy skills.  A solicitor once excused me from lessons post work-experience because I engaged well with a victim of domestic abuse; I gained resilience from supporting her through the traumatic court case. At 17 I was given permission for work experience in a unit for people with long and enduring mental health issues; this experience shaped my view of the world. I learned early on that life is complicated and the way to help someone depends as much on the person rather than the perceived problem.

Working in an approved premises at 20 taught me clear boundaries, compassion and fairness keep you safe.  After the first 6 people I supported left in a police car, I realised there was no place for my ego – to succeed in adversity you need self-efficacy.  My (incredible) manager at the time explained “If you have done your job well don’t expect thanks.  You have empowered someone to know that it’s their choice, their life, and their achievement.  That is your reward, watching them leave believing in themselves”

I set up a mentoring service to help steer people away from offending.  The partnership between mentees and volunteer mentors changed lives.  A diversity of mentors from bankers, vets, refugees and ex-offenders provided a commonality – they were themselves.  They gave their time freely, showing genuine positive regard to listen to someone’s life story.   If only I had the Outcomes Star then, I could have shown it more tangibly.

It was when I delivered cognitive behaviour group work programmes I really understood the value of motivational interviewing as a practice.  This is where my passion for the cycle of change ignited and how important it was to match the intervention to where someone was on their Journey of Change.

Over the last decade I have worked in the voluntary sector, in service user engagement and quality assurance across a variety of services in regulated and unregulated environments. Implementing Outcomes Stars across such a range of settings and client groups has enabled me to gauge collaboration and interpret the findings with teams, using that information to identify and address gaps in service delivery.  It has also helped me to understand when the Outcomes Stars are not the right tools for a service.  

Using Outcomes stars throughout my career has enabled me to hear the client’s voice in their own support, providing opportunities for workers to build the inner wealth of their service users by positive affirmation of distance travelled.

A terminally ill patient once told me “Work is part of your life, not your whole life.  Make it worthwhile and get the balance right”.  With this ringing in my ears, I know this is exactly where I want to be –using my experience to support organisations to implement Outcomes Stars well. I’m building relationships to understand what organisations are passionate about and what they want to achieve from implementing the Outcomes Stars. 

I feel very privileged to work for Triangle now, where the ethos resonates precisely with my core values.   

*****

Helen Bacon is

For more information on Triangle, our mission, vision and the people who help to make the Outcomes Star please visit our About Triangle section. 

How the ideas driving social provision are steering service delivery off course

Triangle, the social enterprise behind the widely used Outcomes Star tools, is calling for a paradigm shift in social provision.  In a new report to be published in September 2021, co-founder and Star co-author Joy MacKeith argues that at its heart service delivery is about meeting human needs and changing behaviour.  Everything we know about how change happens points to the importance of relationships, trust and connection.  Research also shows that services must be holistic and tailored to each person. But the ideas currently driving social provision steer the focus away from relationships and flexibility and onto procedures, markets, targets and standardisation.  They break service delivery down into parts rather than focusing on the whole system.

The report presents an alternative vision – an enabling approach to service delivery.  Called Enabling Help, this alternative puts the focus of the service delivery system on the service user, rather than the helper, the service or the intervention.  Enabling Help builds relationships, trust and hope, develops skills and capabilities, is holistic, responsive and tailored to each individual person.

It also paints a picture of what it means to make Enabling Help a reality in practice. At the front-line it means moving to a collaborative approach rather than telling and directing. For managers it means changing the emphasis from managing procedures to enabling front-line workers to deliver relationship oriented, collaborative, flexible, problem-solving services.  For commissioners it means shifting the focus from numbers to narratives – co-learning with service providers about what works. 

‘Enabling Help’ builds on Triangle’s twenty years’ experience of helping organisations to support and measure change for people receiving services.  Working with over one hundred collaborating organisations including local and national charities, housing associations, grant-making trusts, local authorities and NHS trusts, has provided a unique insight into what works when supporting change and building well-being and potential.  And training and supporting over one thousand organisations to use the Outcomes Star in practice has highlighted what can get in the way of delivering what works.  This report pulls all this learning together and identifies the real reasons why people being helped get stuck in services and the people delivering the help feel frustrated and de-motivated.

The report calls on all those involved in service delivery from front-line workers, to managers, commissioners, researchers and policy-makers to embrace this new set of ideas and put relationships, responsiveness and learning at the heart of everything they do. 

Meet the team…Jane Borer, Client Services Manager

We have a vacancy for another Client Services Advisor. Jane Borer shares some insights on her team and what her best piece of advice to her younger self would be

The Client Services team plays a vital role in achieving Triangle's mission and vision. We aim to listen and learn from our clients to support Triangle in creating effective tools which can support service providers to help people achieve sustainable change, whatever the future may hold.

Jane Borer

Firstly, tell us a bit about the Client Services team, and how it works with Triangle…

How has the Triangle and the Client Services team changed over the years? Why is this? 

Triangle has grown so quickly, when I started working with Sara and Joy back in 2010 I was covering maybe one or two calls a day, organizing training courses, sending out packs of Star materials to clients, and preparing invoices and licences. It soon became unsustainable, so more people were recruited, then we started to take on broader tasks and we became involved in many different aspects of client support as the business grew in response to the needs of our clients and demand for the Stars. We have evolved in to a thriving team, with skills that have added immense value to how Triangle has been able to both support existing clients, and attract new ones.

How does Client Services integrate with other teams at Triangle? 

As we are the first point of contact for the majority of interested and existing clients, and we provide planning and co-ordination support to the setting up of new accounts and the ongoing maintenance of existing ones,  we work closely with every other team – we have to liaise closely with the Training team, we are in constant contact with the Implementation team to share knowledge about clients, we work closely with the marketing and comms team to engage with new campaigns and disseminate important information about the Star, and we then respond to the follow up from that. We are also closely linked with our internal systems team as heavy users of the CRM, and of course our finance colleagues to ensure clients are receiving their invoices. Another aspect of our work is to share knowledge across the teams, especially for the Directors, so they can use it for making strategic decisions.

What qualities do you and the team have in abundance? 

We are a diverse team of professionals with varied backgrounds and skills, and we all complement each other – the main common qualities that I feel we all share are warmth, the ability to build relationships, empathy, flexibility, and we all have a VERY good sense of humour!

Where do you see the Outcomes Star and the Client Services team five years from now? 

I see continued increase in demand for the Outcomes Star, across many diverse sectors. In Triangle’s mission statement one of the goals is that we are “responding to a changing world” and I see the Client Services team as a key element in achieving this goal – we will listen and learn from our clients, and share this learning across Triangle so that we are continuing to produce tools that can support service providers to help people achieve sustainable change, whatever the future may hold.

And on a lighter note… we’d love to know more about you…

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?  

I would want to help people to see the joy and fun in everything, and remember to always be NICE! 

If you could have dinner with three people dead or alive, who would they be and why? 

Oh easy –1) David Bowie – just because 2)  Clint Eastwood – for all the stories of Hollywood – and 3) Yootha Joyce – my favourite British comedy actress and one who is often totally underrated.

What did you want to be/do when you were growing up? 

I swayed between wanting to be a ballerina, an air hostess and a nurse. I didn’t do any dance classes as a child so the ballerina was not even a remote possibility! The air hostess and nursing options were probably more to do with the uniforms and the TV shows I watched at the time!

What book are you reading at the moment?

I used to read all the time when I commuted from Brighton to London for work back in the day, then I struggled to find the time when I had my son, but like so many other people lockdown has given me the chance to reignite my enjoyment, and I’ve read more since March 2020 than I have for the last 18 years! I’m currently reading  two books, “The Last Thing to Burn” by Will Dean which is excellent, and the latest autobiography of Michael J Fox, which is really inspirational, as he describes living with Parkinson’s Disease.

What’s your favourite film?

I have many – “Some Like it Hot”, “The Bridges of Madison County”, any of the Peter Sellers Clouseau/Pink Panther films, and Wayne’s World – 1 and 2 – a rather strange mix but one that pretty much sums me up!

Best piece of advice you’d give to your younger self? 

Stop caring so much about what other people think about you, and always do your own research and be confident to make up your own mind!

****

For more information on our current vacancies please visit our Careers page. To find out more about the team and what it’s like working at Triangle take a look at our blog series and meet some of our other staff.

A day in the life of… the client services team

We asked our Client Services Manager, Jane Borer what a day in the life of her team looks like...

One of the best parts of working in client services at Triangle is that I get to speak to people (keyworkers, managers and organisations) that really inspire me.

Jane Borer

What’s a typical day look like in Client Services? 

A typical day involves checking the new enquiries that have come in, both via email and the phone, and planning how to respond, also catching up with work in progress, arranging training and licenses, and having Zoom/Teams calls with clients or colleagues. It’s busy, and you have to be prepared to be sidelined away from something, it’s rarely possible to focus on one thing and get it completed. This can be frustrating, but there’s never a dull moment. I’m often heard to be saying “Now, what was I doing before I got distracted…”! 

How do you ensure you provide a first rate customer service to clients and colleagues? 

Client Care is our mantra, every email and phone call is either a potential new Star user, or someone who can be supported by Triangle to use the Star even better than they already do, and if we get that right, then the people THEY support are going to benefit. It’s all about ensuring we respond in a responsive and timely way. Any query that comes in to us is responded to within 24 hours if at all possible, at least with an initial contact, to arrange a conversation, which increasingly since lock down now happens via Zoom rather than the traditional phone call! We troubleshoot for our colleagues too, and have a similar approach in our responsiveness to their requests for support.

What top three things about the Outcomes Star do you get asked by potential clients? 

Mainly 1) – how does it work? 2) – what will the benefits be to my service and the people I support? and 3) – who are the other services just like mine who are using it, and how does it benefit them?

What’s the most challenging thing about working in Client Services? 

The pace is very demanding, you have to be responsive to whatever comes your way, and you never really know what that might be. You also have to be prepared to juggle many different tasks and keep lots of plates spinning.

What’s the most rewarding thing about working in Client Services? 

Hearing the back stories from clients about how they started their charities, what drives them, their passion for what they do – and gaining a huge understanding for the difficulties and challenges that so many people face on a daily basis. Also, when a client tells you how using the Star has had an impact on not only their service users but on them as a team, then that is fantastic and gives you that “this is why I do my job” buzz.

*****

Sign up for our newsletter for more information, updates and news about vacancies. Take a look at our our other blogs to find out more about Triangle, our other teams and their members. We are currently recruiting for a Client Services Advisor to work with Jane and the team: visit our vacancy page for more information and a job description or contact us for a chat about the role.

Vacancy: Client Services Advisor

Looking for a new challenge? Are you interested in being a part of a social enterprise and with supporting our client organisations to make a measurable difference in the lives of vulnerable service users?

Triangle is seeking a capable client services advisor to support our clients, and provide excellent customer service to assist in responding to pre-sales and post-sales enquiries, provide a first point of contact with organisations and individuals and more.

We’re looking for a pleasant and self-confident customer service professional, preferably with familiarity and experience in the health care and social sectors, who will respond to all client enquiries and advise clients on our products and services. Working closely with your colleagues, you will help clients and prospective clients to make the right decisions about how their frontline services can evidence and support change of service users and ensure organisations have the right licences and training to use the Outcomes Star.

The Client Services Advisor will play a vital role in responding to and managing the growing level of enquiries about the Outcomes Star. You will have great listening skills, able to identify and respond to concerns, queries and issues and provide information to organisations. You will be great at handling enquiries, as well as pinpointing key individuals in the organisations and building rapport and relationships with them. Main tasks will include answering telephone and digital enquiries, and understanding how our clients work, the services that they offer and their needs, as well as the needs of the people that they help. You’ll also work to help them to discover if the Star is relevant for their needs and, if so, which Outcomes Star will best fit with their requirements.  You will also need to use Salesforce and generate quotes, provide account maintenance to existing clients, follow up and continue to build on those relationships.

Ideally, the successful applicant will be based in Hove, although we are open to flexible working arrangements.

Find out more and apply

Visit our Careers page to find out more about us and the role.

*****

You can download the job description and application form from our careers page to see if this is the next step for you. If you’d like an informal conversation about the position, please email miranda@triangleconsulting.co.uk

Making that change: new year, new role

Jim Boreland

Changing jobs during a pandemic, just before Christmas, isn’t usually the best laid plan of mice and men. But for Jim Borland, Triangle’s Implementation Lead (Scotland), the opportunity to work at Triangle was too hard to resist…

“I saw the role of Implementation Lead as an opportunity to do something different and worthwhile, learn new skills and meet new people (albeit virtually), and help support others making big changes in their lives. That in turn would provide me with the motivation to look forward to each working day, instead of looking back with a degree of disappointment.”

When’s the best time to change jobs?

Just before Christmas probably isn’t an ideal time,  especially in the midst of a pandemic. I expect a lot of people would be more inclined towards the status quo and not opening themselves up to any more potential risk, but that’s the time I happened to start working with the team behind the Outcomes Star.

Prior to this, I was in a stable, well-paid job that utilised my skills, with working hours and a flexibility around them that was good for the work / life balance. Nevertheless, everything was very much the same day after day. Looking back, the phrase ‘Ground hog Day’ springs to mind, as each day merged into one, and I was left at the end of it thinking, “What did I actually achieve?” Generally, the answer was “nothing” or “not a lot” and, whilst there was no pressure on me to do any more than I was, I found myself becoming really de-motivated and wanting to feel as if I was contributing more during my working day, rather than just being present. So, something needed to change.

Making that change

When I reflect on the past 40 odd years of my working life, a lot of career changes have happened around Christmas time. The opportunity to move to Triangle was no different in timing, so maybe it was fate telling me to move on and do something different. So that’s what I did!

It was fascinating to me when speaking to former colleagues before I left, that the most common statements said to me were – “I’m really sorry you’re leaving” and “I wish it were me”. I think that speaks volumes and if anything gave me some justification about my decision to move on. 

I saw the role of Implementation Lead as an opportunity to do something different and worthwhile, learn new skills and meet new people (albeit virtually), and help support others making big changes in their lives. That in turn would provide me with the motivation to look forward to each working day, instead of looking back with a degree of disappointment.

Working with Triangle

After I started, the first thing that struck me was how welcoming everyone was and how willing they were to spend time with me to explain about their roles and their experiences (good and challenging) and help me to settle in and feel part of the team. I know that’s generally part of any induction, but for me, this felt very genuine and not just a thing that had to be done. I’ve never worked anywhere else, where everyone from the Directors down to staff on the ground (and everyone in-between) took the time to talk to me and welcome me to my new role.

That meant a lot to me and again, it’s interesting speaking to the other new members of the Triangle team who have felt the same about their own onboarding experience; I think it’s something that everyone should take a great deal of pride in.

As for my role, so far, it’s everything I thought it would be. It’s busy and at times challenging as I get to grips with new working practices and processes, especially the IT whilst working remotely!

But perhaps the biggest difference to how you would normally start a new job, is that this introduction to Triangle, and all the other meetings I’ve had since I started, have taken place remotely. That, is in no way strange due to the circumstances we find ourselves in. However, it does give me the opportunity of meeting people away from the traditional formal ‘face to face’ settings within an office. With our current ways of working, I get to see people in their natural environment, without any ‘professional’ trappings around them.

For me, being able to look past the person to see the art on their wall, what their workspace looks like, what’s out of their window and being able to speak to them when they’re sitting on a couch or at the kitchen table surrounded by their children and partners, rather than across an office table, gives me more of flavour of the ‘real’ person. In my opinion, that can only lead to more honest and open relationships, which in turn enhances the whole of the work experience.

As a result, this ‘positive’ impact of the pandemic, in causing us to change from the traditional working methods, has hopefully been beneficial and given us a better understanding of each other, rather than just a work ‘image’ of a colleague.

So, as I finish looking back over my first few months in my new job, I can honestly say I’m glad I made the move. It’s been a good start and provides a solid base from which I can build on.

*****

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates on Triangle, news on Outcomes Stars and new resources and more. Contact us to speak to Jim or anyone else on the team, or if you would like any more information.

Introducing Miranda Costin, Triangle’s Finance and HR Administrator

Headshot photo of Miranda Costin

Miranda Costin joined Triangle in the role of Finance and HR Administrator just over 3 months ago. Here she shares why she joined the team, what it was like joining during lockdown and how her expectations have been exceeded in more ways than one…

How did I hear about Triangle?

I was sitting ’round my friend’s kitchen table (socially distanced, of course) when I mentioned to her that I would really like to work for an organisation that makes a difference, especially in the current climate. She said “Have you heard of a job site called Charity Jobs? It’s specifically for charities, not for profit and third sector organisations to advertise their vacant positions”. A cup of tea later and a quick boot-up of the laptop led me to Triangle’s ad for a Finance and HR Administrator. I applied…

Interviewing amid a pandemic?

A few weeks after applying, I was over the moon to hear from Triangle with a date for an initial interview. As there couldn’t be any face-to-face contact we arranged a Zoom call instead.
I had a total of three interviews.

  • The first was all about the position itself with the Finance and HR Director.
  • The second was with two potential colleagues.
  • The third was with the Managing Director.

 

“Three interviews?!” I hear you cry. Yes, and apart from the first one, which included some actual accounting tasks, the calls were more like informal chats. To give you an idea… I was in my son’s bedroom (the Wi-Fi signal is strongest there) and someone spotted the vivarium to the side of me. At first, I think they thought “Is it a snake?!”, but I explained it was my son’s pet bearded dragon and offered to show her to them. Afterwards I was sure me digressing from the task in hand meant I’d scuppered my chances. Who in their right mind would do that during an interview?! But I was wrong, the next day I was offered the job!

Meeting the team

The week before my start date I was invited to their annual “Away Day”, which due to COVID was more of a “Together Day” via Zoom. With presentations, a “who’s desk is this?” quiz and an afternoon conversation café/social it was a great way to meet the team. I also received a bottle of bubbles beforehand to raise a toast to Triangle’s achievements and the new year ahead.

Work-life, home-life

My first week and a half at Triangle followed a well-structured induction.  My predecessor moved on to pastures new, so I went solo fairly quickly, working from home. On top of this who could have predicted a third lockdown? My children were with me, at home and needing support with their home-schooling. Arghhhhh!

A day in the life as Finance and HR Administrator:

My day normally starts around 8:00am when I download the bank feed and let relevant departments know what monies have come in. I then work through my emails and any accounts related tasks I have in my diary for that day, raising sales invoices, bill processing, credit control, staff expenses etc. I’m soon to take on payroll and HR duties in the coming months.  A fair part of my week is taken up with Zoom meetings with colleagues but I’m sure this will subside when we’re back in the office, whenever that may be. I close making sure most emails (particularly the urgent ones!) have been answered.

What do I bring to the role?

Having worked in accounts for over 25 years I bring depth of experience an all-round good understanding of bookkeeping procedures and excellent time-management skills. Such a role is integral to an organisation, as is one that supplies the team with cake and baked goods – I’m hoping my daughter will keep up with her newfound lockdown skills of baking so I can bring her creations in for my colleagues!

Three fun facts about me:

  • At the age of 11 was advised by career advisor to become a bicycle repair (wo)man. I started studying English instead and ended up working in accounts.
  • Whilst working for an African Cargo Airline almost ended up on a flight from Shannon in Ireland to Tripoli in Lybia on a horse flight for Colonel Ghadaffi. Fortunately for me, I didn’t have my passport on me that day!
  • During Whalefest 2015 tried to convince Michaela Strachan that she used to present Big Cat Diary, completely mixing her up with Saba Douglas- Hamilton. So embarrassing!

Fast forward

It’s been a bit stressful at times, but overall, I’m really enjoying it. Working at Triangle and home-schooling! I can be on a Zoom call and my daughter walks in needing help with her schoolwork or my son starts playing his guitar in the room next to mine.  I’ve been able to get to know my colleagues really well having discussed tooth decay, digestion, art projects and various other school topics in parallel to doing my work! The team is really friendly and veery supportive of one other. They are an amazing bunch!

The “hopefully not too distant” future

So far, I have met two of my colleagues in person as well as my predecessor. While remote working hasn’t hindered my induction or onboarding experience, I’m really looking forward to being in the office and meeting the rest of the team. Until then, my cats will continue to walk over the keyboard and my daughter will remind me it’s time to log off!

*****

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates on Triangle, news on Outcomes Stars and new resources and more. Contact us if you would like any more information.

Vacancy: Marketing and Product Manager

Want to be a part of something good? Seeking a new relationship (with an employer, not romantically)?

We are looking for a marvellous marketing and product manager to take our brand and products to new heights and push us forward into the future.

You:

An amazing, creative and driven marketing and product manager with a desire to make a difference in the world. You’ll enjoy long walks (possibly), creating stimulating campaigns, writing copy, working on several strands of work across different sectors. You’ll love co-ordinating and commissioning content, creating plans and product launches. You won’t mind nurturing long-distance relationships with several remote based staff.  

 

Us:

A growing social enterprise, committed to strengthening our brand and identity. We’re still trying to find ourselves and our marketing voice, but we have a strong foundation in products, tools and a long history of working to support other organisations, charities, local authorities and in working to empower them, their keyworkers and, ultimately, their service users. We’ve recently committed to really upping our game and working on our brands and messaging and would love you to be a part of that.

 

Our hiring process:

  1. You find or are sent our job ad
  2. You read the ad
  3. It interests you
  4. You might read it again
  5. You visit our website and download the job description and application form
  6. You take a look at our website and realise the impact you could have on our organisation
  7. You decide to apply and fill in the application form
  8. We are interested in you and you attend an interview
  9. You complete our tests and accept our job offer
  10. You start to make a difference in an organisation that exists to make a difference

 

Find out more and apply

Swipe right, (aka visit our Careers page) to find out more about us and how we could be the perfect match.

Choose us to take your career to the next level.

*****

You can download the job description and application form from our careers page to see if this is the next step for you. If you’d like an informal conversation about the position, please email angela@triangleconsulting.co.uk

May you live in…2020/21

Photo of Patrick Toland

Our newest staff member Patrick Toland gives us some thoughts on...

"May you live in interesting times" is an expression that can be taken, or given, as a blessing or a curse.

The blessing being – may you live in a time that is full of new experiences, innovation or the movement between epochs.

The curse being – may you live in a time that is filled with drama, turbulence and the kind of professional and personal upheaval that plays out within and beyond your own front door.

Of course, the blessed side of life for me, now, is bountiful.

The blessing

As someone who has a background in education and training, social enterprise, homelessness provision, support for care experienced young people, lived experience development, patient voice and mental health advocacy in Ireland – the chance and opportunity to work and learn within the leading provider of Outcomes tools and approaches has been a gift of good fortune – especially at a time when many capable and talented people are finding their career prospects profoundly contracted, through no fault of their own.

Even in such a short time of employ, I also consider myself lucky to be working with colleagues and clients who truly do ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to striving to make a difference in the lives of those who have the most challenged, troubled or marginalised lives themselves.

The curse

The blighted side of life (which is the slim, minority of things against what has been said above) is the paw thorn of not being out and about meeting new clients and getting the chance to drop in with other clients on the way home just so you can start to build those all-important relationships of trust and mutual comprehension.

It’s the challenge of starting the day with work to do but knowing that your own partner is downstairs straining the Wi-Fi signal with her own crucial meetings as a manager in the NHS. That there are the new cats to feed who really haven’t grasped the manners required to not walk across your keyboard when you are trying to make a good impression with a new client or colleague. Oh, and there is one son’s project on the French revolution to help do and the other son’s Zoom call with Mrs Ryan further to him building a working model of the arm with balloons and cardboard by tomorrow and he needs brass paper fasteners for the elbow joint mechanism…

I mean, come on Mrs Ryan, we’re good but we’re not that good…who has brass paper fasteners at home during a time of non-essential shopping and travel – I mean we already did a model of the lung last week! And we ran out of rubber bands and double-sided sticky tape during last lockdown!…

Please note

Just because I have worked in mental health doesn’t mean I automatically garnered the wisdom of this sector for myself when it comes to mental bandwidth, balance of mood or the ability to remain resilient and zen or resist a self-centred whine!

Yet, the counterbalance to this has been how paramount all Triangle staff place well-being, good induction and on-going learning at the centre of their approach. From chances to chat with the Founders about the Triangle vision, regular team meet-ups, cool down sessions, drop-in sessions, messages of regard and support, opportunities to shadow, one to ones with team members to introduce yourself and learn more about their roles, flexible working arrangements, as well as the opportunity to blog about such – all these designed activities have made living and working in such interesting times much smoother, humane and uncomplicated.

Further to this, the professionalism, passion and ethos of mutual care that also exists between the Triangle team has certainly been the fuel I have drawn on for my own energy and drive in these interesting times – as well as the conviction and admirable tenacity of our partner clients as they push through their own pressures to remain committed to helping those they support to reach for impetus, change, progress and self-reliance in their own lives.

So, if my brilliant new colleagues can do what they do and our clients in Ireland can do what they do – well, I can find brass paper fasteners at 11pm at night, Mrs Ryan! 

*****

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates on Triangle, news on Outcomes Stars and new resources and more. Contact us to speak to Patrick or if you would like any more information.

Triangle and our social enterprise model

Sara Burns, Director and Co-Founder of Triangle, and one of the authors of the Outcomes Stars™ explores what it means to Triangle to be a social enterprise.

By Sara Burns, Director and Co-Founder of Triangle, June 2019.

When we incorporated “social enterprise” into our name in 2009, it seemed entirely natural and obvious to me, yet I gave it little thought and there were few guidelines at the time. Fast forward 10 years and I find myself passionate about the concept and practice of social enterprise, as well as better informed and in a sector that is becoming more defined.

In our case, the expression of our social mission and our enterprise (business activity) are one and the same thing. There are many types of social enterprise, including those who raise money through a neutral business activity in order to fund a separate social mission. As Triangle, we develop Outcomes Stars and other tools and help organisations use them because we believe in their transformative potential. We witness time and again in many sectors how the right tool can support people to really listen, have good conversations, plan and deliver support, gather meaningful information and learn about what works. Like so many people, we are operating in a world where services and funding are severely squeezed, and our aim is to keep listening and learning, so we can continue to innovate and make a contribution.

So why am I passionate about social enterprise?

There are a number of reasons.

We make choices and decisions based on what is helpful at a
sector level, not what will bring in the most money. This has been the case
since we started. It provides a refreshing clarity
and simplicity
; even though the choices are not always immediately obvious,
we are able to focus on the question of what will be most helpful. Somehow the
big decisions and changes of direction over the years have always been made
easily and harmoniously, and I believe that is because of this clarity of
purpose.

Receiving an income from the expression of our social
mission in the world, rather than relying on grants or other funding, gives us
relative freedom and independence.
Ultimately, the majority of our income from training and licenses can be
tracked back to the UK government, we collaborate widely in developing Stars
and other tools and respond as best we can to different needs and agendas. Yet,
at the end of the day, we are the authors and can make decisions based on our
learning and experience of what works. And we can plan ahead without the
limiting factor of short term funding and the inevitable uncertainties that
brings. 

Similarly, because we have an income and are committed to
reinvesting at least half of the surplus each year, we have some freedom to be generous and experiment. We offer
training and licenses at (often below) cost to enable small organisations to
use the Outcome Stars if it’s right for them. We provide implementation support
according to need, not based on what people pay. We take risks and invest in
new developments before there is a market for them.

All this contributes to a working life that is more fun and meaningful. Money is powerful
and I enjoy the potential it affords to be successful in making a contribution –
to use the very particular expertise we have built up over the years for good.

My anecdotal impression is that some people who enter the social enterprise sector, while passionate about their social mission, feel ambivalence or even resistance to the enterprise/business aspect, to money and charging. Ultimately, this can result in lack of sustainability and good ideas not getting off the ground. When everything feels too tight financially, that can be stressful and less enjoyable. Being confident about embracing the enterprise aspect and charging realistically for services and products can open some space. Space is important for people to be able to move freely, take risks, be creative and innovate. That is the culture we seek to develop and maintain within Triangle, so that everybody working with us feels able to contribute ideas and enjoy the sense of purpose, clarity and independence, so that we can be as helpful as possible in the challenged world of health and social care.

Interested in finding out more about Triangle’s mission and values?

For more information on Triangle, please take a look at our Values. For more information on the Outcomes Stars and our licensing and training options please contact us: email Triangle at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk, or call on +44(0)202  7272 8765.

*****

Sara Burns: Sara is co-creator of the Outcomes Stars. She leads on and is continually inspired by developing new versions for new sectors, as well as overseeing all the other ways Triangle can be helpful and support people to use the Star well.

For more information on Triangle and the team behind the Outcomes Stars, please take a look at our About Triangle pages. For more information on the Outcomes Stars and the values that underpin each version, or explore the history of the Star at About the Star or please contact us with any questions: email Triangle at info@triangleconsulting.co.uk.