Competence-based work and well-defined skills are key to an effective workforce. My civil service colleagues benefit greatly from the Professional Skills for Government training they get. Of course, experience and creative thinking are also part of a well-rounded person.
However, you can have all the skills, intelligence and qualifications you like, but without the ability to build relationships it just becomes an intellectual exercise rather than something with bearing and relevance. Box-ticking has its place but work isn't it.
There is one essential commodity that no amount of training, education or funding can provide: trust. Trust underpins every facet of human relations and is key to sustainable success and a happy working environment.
People don't do business with people they don't trust. People aren't influenced by people they don't trust. People don't enjoy working with people they don't trust. People don't stay with people they don't trust.
If we are to deliver change, reorganisation or use new approaches, we will never succeed without developing trust and that works both ways. It's about not only trusting colleagues to do their jobs well but them trusting you to guide and lead.
Trust, and a modicum of goodwill, allow you to get an enormous amount done.
Without trust, good people will just melt away and work harder for someone else. They'll put in the 'extra mile' where there is trust and respect and steer clear of those they feel are not trustworthy. It's easy to spot in any organisation - just take a look around and you will soon recognise the signs.
When tough decisions have to be made, that's when trust is at its most vulnerable and is most needed. Open, clear conversations will help to provide the basis for decision-making. Even if the decision is unpopular, a decision made in a trusting environment is more acceptable.
Finally, I'm delighted to add my welcome to eight new public health consultants who have successfully completed their training. It has been a privilege to help support these excellent people on their way.
The ranks of the public health workforce are also being swelled by health trainers across the country. These are often people drawn from disadvantaged communities working within those communities. Early evaluation is showing they are successful in helping clients with lifestyle behaviour change and uptake of local health services.
The core competences that health trainers taught to are absolutely key, but the trust they engender in their clients is as important to their success.