Reasons to be careful, Pt3

There are several good reasons not to be over confident about the effectiveness of PIEs, and in particular, of the value of the Pizazz and the PIE Abacus.

Firstly, although there has been a lot of encouraging feedback from many quarters saying that they do find it useful, we tend to hear only from those who do. On the whole, those who do not are less likely to tell us so.

So we have a skewed sample.

Secondly, those who have adopted the Pizazz so far have been, so far as we can tell, mainly those who chose to; those who did so willingly, thinking it was right for them – at least to give it a try, as participants in an experiment.

We simply don’t know whether it will be received in the same way, and have the same benefits, if the ‘locus of control’ shifts to the external, and it becomes an expectation, something services are required to do.

So we should be cautious about simply trusting that early positive results will be typical of later adopters.

On the whole there is good reason to doubt that those unenthusiastic will get quite the same benefit as those enthusiastic. But on the other hand, they might; and they might even derive MORE benefit, if they are getting up to speed from a late start.

Thirdly, although we see from the feedback that this process would seem to be valuable – even with the provisos above – we still can’t say that this value is something unique to this process.  It could be that any comparable process that makes time for staff teams to assess their progress and plan their own development might be comparably valuable.

So we cannot distinguish the enthusiasm for this process from that for any others; or from a placebo.

That said, the same cautions might apply equally to many if not all similar positive developments in human social affairs. The placebo and Hawthorn effects are some of the most ubiquitous in medical and research. So much so that some have described the placebo effect as medicine’s secret weapon, and staunchest ally; and suggested we must study and appreciate it, in order to get the maximum benefit.

But it does seem a good reason to suggest that we should attempt to build in to any evaluations of PIE, Pizazz and/or the Abacus some attempt to ascertain where those trying it had been, and their first reactions, at the start of their ‘PIE journey’.  And when we do, it seems important in principle to give equal validation not just to those at the start of the journey, but to those downright sceptical or jaded from too many buzz word initiatives. We want to hear from them in particular. 

Let’s hear from Eeyore as well as Tigger.

So for those services wanting to introduce the PIE approach, or the Pizazz, or the PIE Abacus, we would like to suggest starting off with a few quick survey questions, to judge the mood; and that that survey should go out of its way to recognise and appreciate various shades of wariness.

Attached (and/or linked) you should now find a first draft for just such a survey. As you will see, it aims to be fairly short; but to allow not just for all shades of enthusiasm, but for all stages of progress along the journey. In this way – hopefully – we can use the same instrument at various points; and that could give a good picture of the change in perspective.

Creating surveys is a skill. So if anyone has any comments or suggestions, to improve it as a tool, please do say.


There will surely never be another Ian Dury.



PIE sceptics : HERE

Challenges : HERE

Asking questions :  HERE


Library items

Prior awareness and staff attitudes in services as PIEs using the Pizazz: a baseline measure for distance travelled : HERE

Questions, questions : HERE