Magazine article Policy & Practice

Front-Line Practice: Define, Assess, Implement and Monitor

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Front-Line Practice: Define, Assess, Implement and Monitor

Article excerpt

APHSA's Organizational Effectiveness Department has been facilitating change management in organizations by serving over 40 agencies in more than 25 states during the past five years.

The primary model of change management used by OE facilitators is called "DAPIM" which means Define, Assess, Plan, Implement and Monitor. For organizations, DAPIM is a proven model of success as a continuous improvement method that promotes strategic efforts toward long-term sustainable change.

As our use at APHSA of this model and experience with change management grew, we kept looking at the guiding principles of DAPIM work and thought that these were the same guiding principles that social workers should be using in frontline practice with clients and that supervisors should be using to develop and problem solve with staff.

Some of the connections from the organizational DAPIM principles consistent with good practice and good supervision included change management work that does the following:

* Brings out the expertise of clients about their own situation so that customized plans could be developed based on client needs, capacity and unique situation.

* Builds good learning environments, taking into consideration the safety and trust of clients while still holding them accountable for work to be completed.

* Develops a mindset of continuous improvement, not simply change. APHSA embraces this concept by presenting DAPIM as a "flywheel" that continuously turns.

* Understands that sustainable change requires building the capacity of an organization, not just completing a plan.

* Recognizes that long-term, sustainable change requires incremental positive movement built through customized phased work plans.

* Plans change because there are root causes to problems, not just visible symptoms. Root cause analysis as part of an assessment leads to better planning, and more likely to allow long-term sustainable change.

* Emphasizes that monitoring should occur often. Staff development and clients' plans need to be monitored and adjusted as new information arises or lessons are learned.

All of these dynamics of APHSA's work with organizations are scalable to direct work with staff and clients. The following sections break down the individual components of DAPIM and provide more detail on how they apply to direct human service practice work.

DEFINE

QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER: Do you believe that when you begin working with a new client that your perspective on why you are there is the same as the client's perspective? Do you have the same goals as your clients for the work? If your perspectives and goals are not the same, how does that affect your ability to move forward with work together?

Defining what you aim to improve in the language of the client, in operational terms, and in line with the needs of the client is the first step in using DAPIM as a front-line practice technique.

If a worker and client can get to a common definition of the problem to work on and a desired future state, and agree to work on it together, that is the essence of engagement and vital for working toward solutions. If a worker and a client cannot come to a common definition of the problem to be worked on, then the potential to work together on solutions becomes very limited.

Defining (and the other DAPIM steps) will work best as a partnership where the worker is a helper looking to use the expertise of the client to find solutions. Clarifying roles is part of defining.

Sometimes there are non-negotiable issues for worker and client. These issues should be presented in the context of the definition of the problem with the goal of seeking solutions.

It should be noted that clients (and staff) often have multiple and complex problems that are not easily defined. That is why breaking down complex situations into a series of actionable objectives and problems to be worked on can allow effective change planning. …

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