The power of one
My last blog focussed on what dietitians can or cannot do, how to create change and how to do what feels right. Having thought more about this (and thanks to all of you who read it and liked it!) I also realised that part of the strategy of influence lies not within organisations but with individuals. You.
We often hear the question, "what is the BDA doing about…" and we occasionally reply with, "what are YOU doing about…" There is a reason we say this, but I do not think we have clarified the reason fully.
As part of a profession, it is the responsibility of all the individuals within that profession to own the challenge and to seek to make a difference or to support change. It cannot all be done by the central body on behalf of the individuals; we all have a role to play. It is also part of the professional identity that ensures a common understanding. If everyone agrees there are common problems then those problems clearly affect the profession widely and need to be addressed by individuals as well as the profession body.
I think we also need to provide another meaning: sometimes the individual has more power than the organisation.
For example, the BDA can write to your local constituency MP (or elected representative in other Governments) and complain about the provision of dietetic services locally or about how young people are having access to healthy meals reduced. Your MP should respond but they do not have to. Their priority is to issues raised by constituents. However, if you write to them as a constituent, they really MUST respond. Firstly, you are a voter and they need you! Secondly there is greater scrutiny over MP performance in responding to constituents and they will be judged against this by the electorate.
I know from personal experience my own constituency MP is very keen to hear my views and, while she knows I represent a national organisation and a profession, is absolutely clear that as a constituent I have her ear.
So, in the political arena particularly, the BDA and its members have the opportunity to work together and add value.
Who do you know who you think can make a difference to our messages and promote the profession or what we do? Have you an idea about someone in the public eye (maybe a politician) who shares the same values and who you would like to approach with our support? We want to hear from you.
We also want to ensure you do not under estimate the ‘power of one’, the ability you have to make a real difference to the profession and what we do.
Our external affairs team have written a response to Andy's blog with some ideas and resources about influencing. Back