Weeknotes S03E07

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Bouncing back after a weekend of stomach problems and cancelled plans

Poorly weekend

Well last weekend was a total wash out — I was due to go to the theatre and do an additional shift volunteering, but my IBS had other plans. I had a bad attack of something on Friday evening which carried on through to Sunday afternoon. I am normally able to manage myself around IBS with my diet and making sure my stress levels are as low as possible (I have huge flare ups when things get tough) but something came out of nowhere last weekend.

Monday felt nice though — I love that first day of feeling better where you have your appetite back and sort of feel hulk like in your energy after feeling so rough for a couple of days. Monday was a day working in the office where I had a decent amount of time with Jo to go through lots of things we had floating around. Bonus was seeing Freya who was working from the office too, and was dressed — in her words — like she was on her way to Balmoral which I am still chuckling myself to now when I think about it.

Outcomes and Alignment

I had a session this week with Alan, Catherine and Ros from the Planning, Performance and Projects team and James and Alex from my team where we were discussing how we could bring alignment between the outcomes we’re working towards across Design, Data and Technology and the wider organisation’s outcomes.

Our Design, Data and Technology shared outcomes

We initially developed a set of shared outcomes towards the end of last year following us coming together as a directorate. The intention was to help us approach our annual organisational business planning process with a different north start for the team as well as helping us to feel a much more collective sense of what we’re working towards as a team — helping us feel less silo’d and more multidisciplinary at scale. I think there’s been some great learning from the process and we’re keen to keep developing how we use these outcomes to shape our work, track progress, make good decisions about the work we’re undertaking, and now we’re also going to explore how we can make sure we’re aligned with the wider org which excites me.

I’m definitely keen not to operate in any sort of vacuum when our work has become increasingly blended with teams from across the organisation, so see lots of potential for us to connect and work together on taking an outcome view to the work. As Ros helpfully reminded us in the meeting, that’s not a simple undertaking so we’ll need to take a considered approach to how we make the move to thinking in this way, and particularly the balance between maintaining a view of things like timelines, budgets and progress to meet deadlines with thinking about outcome focused progress. I’m up for the challenge though and excited to work more closely with our colleagues in the Planning, Performance and Projects team.

Reviews and Reflections

I had my personal development review check in this week which was a nice opportunity to check in on my objectives for the year and how I’m progressing against them. I’ve been working on quarterly goals for myself to provide some focus to my work which has been super helpful when I’m starting to feel overwhelmed — my goals anchor me in what I should be focusing on more strategically outside of the day to day and the personal development plan has my longer term objectives and career development plan. A nice set of assets to use to keep me on track.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve had some difficult feedback given to me a few months ago which I have been working on addressing. I’ve found the process more challenging than I thought I would — not because it’s feedback, but because of what the feedback wanted me to address.

I often consider myself to be someone who’s a bit misunderstood — for example, I am quite direct, not to be confrontational, but to get to the root of an issue (let’s say) to surface an issue and deal with it. I’m aware this does not work for some people and try and sense the tone or read the room, but I sometimes miss the mark. This has been something I have struggled with for several years now, and it has led to me using the word ‘misunderstood’ to help people understand me a bit better from the off. I also notice that I say phrases like ‘not to sound negative’ or ‘this might come across the wrong way’ when dealing with tricky situations to try and make sure I’m letting folks know that all I’m doing should be taken with positive intent, but it can be challenging.

The feedback I’ve had has been useful in some ways as it’s encouraged me to remember some of the things I have been working on like slowing down, taking a beat before responding, preparing for difficult conversations and the like. But it’s knocked my confidence a bit. I think getting feedback can often have that effect, particularly if it’s delivered indirectly or in a less than timely manner because in the moment feedback can be so powerful.

Connection to the team

I’ve had a few meetings with people across the team recently who I don’t directly manage so only see sporadically. It’s got me thinking about a way that I can stay connected to my wider team now I have less direct reports than before. I’ve seen others hold an hour every month / fortnight for this sort of thing so folks can drop in or book in, but I’m keen to know if anyone has any other ideas outside of team meetings or additional 121s with people how they stay connected to their team members?

I also handed line management of Freya to Jo this week which was sad times for me, but made much easier the three of us pretending to pass Freya to Jo on our video call as Freya made a ‘wheeeeeee’ noise — you might’ve had to be there for that one.

Future calendar planning

Past Matt is a legend — my calendar planning for my upcoming holiday has been amazing, meaning I have a nice chunk of time off work, but only using a small amount of my leave. Present Matt has been working hard this week to help out future Matt with their calendar after coming back from leave which has felt good.

Things I’ve watched

I went to the theatre to see Paradise on Wednesday at the National Theatre and I thought it was excellent. Really intense in parts but so well performed and an all female and diverse cast to boot!

We have started watching Call My Agent season 3 — it’s something that we’re rationing because I love it so much and can’t bear the thought of not having an episode to watch.

Weekend Greyhound plans

Tomorrow, my lovely friend Julia has invited me and Dolly to an enclosed park for our dogs to run around with about 15 other sighthounds. I’m beside myself with excitement and cannot wait to see Dolly trying to play with some new dog friends (and her best mate Olive of course).

Olive (standing) protecting Dolly last summer ❤

Bon weekend folks!


Weeknotes S03E07 was originally published in Web of Weeknotes on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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August 13, 2021 at 05:14PM

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