ChangeBoard Conference : Mental Health, Inclusion and Good Work.

I’m spending the day at the ChangeBoard Future Talent event. The key themes for today are, the fourth industrial revolution (I confess I didn’t even know that was a thing), inclusion and mental health.

A few points which have resonated with me so far.

Mental Health

Sue Baker from Time to Change (TTC) talked about how mental health conversations are now much more commonplace at work. The Time to Change movement is big, and growing, currently 750 organisations are signed up. Sue spoke about how we need to think of mental and physical health as parts of the same whole, I like that. Here is a stark display of how far we’ve yet to go. Sue asked us, by way of a show of hands, how many people in the audience would discuss their mental health with extended family. Many many hands were raised. We were then asked would we discuss our mental health at a job interview. I didn’t see a single hand raised.


Deborah Frances-White spoke about inclusion. Her talk was very well delivered, very funny, and I’m conscious I was perhaps too busy laughing to make useful notes. Here are a few snippets I caught:

Children assume inclusion – we seem to lose that during our school/teenage years. Why?

In organisations we rarely discuss and contribute to change because we’re often only peripherally included. There’s a high risk our idea may go ‘wrong’ and we’ll get the blame for that, so we wait, stay silent or agree with others.

Women apply for jobs when they believe they can meet 100% of the stated requirements, men will settle for 50%. How about we all aim for around 80%? Leave room for growth, and discourage men from over including themselves?

When the door won’t open :  there are three typical responses to routine exclusion. We self exclude – this is the easiest choice. We get angry. We get persuasive, try to charm our way in.

Inclusion is about helping others feel better about themselves.

What Does Good Work Look Like?

Matthew Taylor suggests key things which will make work better. Social contract, wellbeing, productivity (being held back in part by poor quality of management), active citizenship – and this cannot stop at the office/shop/warehouse/factory door. Tech – being positioned as an overwhelming force – get with it or get out of the way. We need to consider tech as an enabler of better things, stop positioning it as a threat.

Self employment v employed. Rights (and taxes). Precarious self employed and privileged self employed – the older white man as a freelancer is a growing workforce. Chancellor is onto this and busy picking apart the tax benefits, this will further take the shine off self employment. Another reason offered for a plateauing of self employment is simply that we like to work in organisations. We are motivated by authority, belonging, and ambition, and organisations can provide those things. The tricky bit is aligning them – MT suggests this action should be the core business of an organisation. A good workplace is a ‘creative community with a cause’. Sadly – many people who leave organisations say ‘they’re simply sick of it’.

More to follow…

Author: Doug Shaw

Artist and Consultant. Embracing uncertainty, sketching myself into existence. Helping people do things differently, through an artistic lens.

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