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How to Get Better at Anything

You have to keep upping the ante: run farther, run faster, run uphill. If you don’t keep pushing and pushing and pushing some more, the body will settle into homeostasis, albeit at a different level than before, and you will stop improving.”             –K. Anders Ericsson


    • Learning and using an approach like the Signs of Safety and doing Family Finding may seem overwhelming at first. It takes skill to write harm and danger statements, safety goals, and safety scales. It takes skill to see and find family and to build rigorous safety plans and networks. New skills develop through practice. Training can provide the vision. A manual can provide a point of reference for doing the work. Skill takes practice. Fortunately, there are a few shortcuts for getting skilled up quicker.
      1. Feedback loop; continually evaluate which activities work best to help you use the Signs of Safety skills and tools well, and to see and find safety network members, and do more of those activities that work well for you.
      2. Deliberate Practice; identify the tools you think will most help you improve your Signs of Safety and Family Finding skills and consistently practice them with purpose.
        • Track the time it takes to gather information, analyze a map, draft a Words and Pictures story and find enough network members in each family situation. 
          • Which tools and skills are most and least helpful?
          • Are there particular situations where specific tools seem to work better?
        • When you feel your Signs of Safety or Family Finding skills plateauing, focus on getting a tool completed or getting a strong starting network in half the time. 
        • What do you see that gives you confidence these parents understand the agencies worries, or confidence that this network will stay together for a lifetime? What causes you to worry that the parents don't agree with the agency, or worry that the network might fall apart shortly after the agency closes the case?
        • Define and share your mental models for what good social work practice and lifetime networks look like.
      3. Teach; teach the skills you’re best at and those you’re seeking to do better to others.

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