CEO Karen Middleton reflects on the CSP's new strategy

Using jargon can often get in the way of understanding what we’re really trying to achieve, admits Karen Middleton


As a practising clinician and a junior manager, I regarded the seemingly endless meetings to ‘engage the frontline’ in developing a vision, mission and strategy as a complete and utter waste of time. If we could all just get back to treating patients, surely we would just deliver what we were there to do and go home (on time).

Then, of course, I started to wonder whether we were treating the right patients in the right place and with the right interventions? Could we improve the service at all? Were we prioritising correctly, given there were never enough resources? What were we really there to do? Did anyone have a plan for what we needed to do?

There was never enough time to consider those bigger questions and make appropriate changes.

The management jargon can often turn us off, which is ironic when physiotherapy is full of its own jargon. ‘Gait’ was always my favourite: what’s wrong with ‘how you walk’?

Try stripping out the management buzz words and it’s less alienating; easier to understand.

As I moved up the hierarchy of organisations, I began to see the value of having a vision (what we are striving to achieve) so that we all had something to aim for; of being clear about the mission (what we are here to do) in order that everyone was trying to achieve the same thing; and of having a clear strategy, (a road map showing us how to get from A to B) linked to a shared understanding of how we would deliver that.

CSP’s council endorsed the vision for physiotherapy last year, recognising that physiotherapy can transform lives, maximise independence and empower populations (

Next comes the definition of what we are trying to do (the mission). That includes how we want to position the profession at the cutting edge of healthcare delivery; how we will champion a cost-effective clinically-evidenced service; and that we’ll represent your interests at work.

Then comes the plan for how we are going to do it (the new three-year strategy). You can view this at:

Alongside these will be launching our new values that underpin the organisation’s culture – a shared understanding of the way we do things at the CSP.

These have all been developed through a range of processes, involving members and staff, to ensure the mission, plan and values best reflect what we want to achieve over the next few years. Council, of course, had the final sign off – your elected council.

So what is of interest or relevance to you? Well, perhaps you better understand the jargon; you might even consider something similar for your team or service.

But as a CSP member I hope this will show how you contribute locally to help in achieving our mission. The society will support you – through networks, your local workplace and other local communities – to help you organise.

While the staff at the CSP have a role in helping achieve all this, the ‘sweet spot’ – another buzz word that is being used a lot lately – is involving or engaging as many members as possible. We want to work with you to develop your life-long relationship with the CSP, so it’s an organisation where your views are heard and count.

In my 2014 Founder’s Lecture I reminded members of the potential for us all to ‘sleepwalk into obscurity’ if we don’t all step up and take action. If we all pull together in the same direction, we will get to where we have said we want this profession to be.

Our mission is clear. And – as we tell our patients – the responsibility is on each individual one of us to take action, as no-one else will do it for us.

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