A short week for me (including a day of not feeling great) and lots of catching up on things that have been on my to do list for too long.
Portfolio Paper Discussion
On Monday afternoon, Alex and I attended strategy hour with Our Exec Director James, Director of Tech Tim and Director of Content and Expert Advice Maz to discuss the portfolio paper Alex has been working on. I remember us discussing getting everything down on paper in week one of Alex being in post and he’s done such a fantastic job on the paper, clearly articulating the problems we have, how the portfolio can help and what we need to do next.
That last part is concerning me as our ambition is there (which is great) but the reality of the time we have to take things forward in the ‘right’ way feels finite and a little pressured. We’ll see though. I think I’m partly over thinking this because I have two weeks of leave coming up but I’m going to trust that things will happen while I am away because of course they will.
We had a good discussion around three main areas:
- How we want to consider our budgets in their entirety to help us solve problems, plan more effectively etc instead of thinking in terms of how they’re currently set up — by team, project etc.
- We are in a tricky position without a clear north star across design, data and technology to tie our work together (aside from our shared outcomes). Without over-engineering this, we need something to help us with our planning so let’s get a minimum viable something to help us with our discussions.
- We should use our next meeting with one of our governance forums to show our work to date to get some outside perspectives on what we’re doing and our approach.
I’m pleased with how the meeting went but as always, time was not on our side. The work itself feels good though, and it’s helping us to bring discussions to the table we might not have been having otherwise.
In parallel to this, Alex is also doing an incredible job at wrangling all the data we have to help us in our decision making — largely staff data and budgets — and he’s exploring different ways to cut the data to help us answer different questions. It’s a mammoth task and he’s doing a great job at it — it’s also nice to have someone to talk numbers with. I always say I am not great with numbers, but I love numbers. It’s also made me realise how much tacit knowledge I have about all our budgets, so having someone else to share that with (in case of being hit by a bus particularly) is a good thing.
I woke up Tuesday with a banging headache and felt generally awful — I didn’t listen to my body and cracked on with my day, but even the lady I meet every morning walking our Dolly said I didn’t look very well. I tried to do some work and failed so took the morning off to rest. It wasn’t until a snooze in the afternoon that I managed to shift my migraine and general blergh feeling — glad I did though even though it’s set me back a day on my work.
Seamless SLT session
On Wednesday, the organisation’s senior leadership team had our monthly meeting where we get together and explore something collectively. This month we had our very own Seamless Customer Journey team running the session where they were keen to get us together to discuss our biggest barriers to achieving our ambitions around a seamless customer journey as well as our biggest areas of opportunity.
I thought Rachel, Magda and Lyndsey did such an excellent job at setting the scene, giving lots of great context and setting up really well designed jamboards for us to do our work on in small groups. I thought the questions they asked and challenges they highlighted were effective at making us think a lot, and we had a great discussion in our small group around the topics. I don’t get as much of an opportunity to work with some of our colleagues across the senior leadership team so I also enjoy and opportunity to hear from them and their perspectives.
Following on from my previous weeknoting on my feedback journey, this week I’ve spent time pulling together a feedback form to share with colleagues to get their take on how I’m doing. I’ve been keen to make sure the questions I’m asking are specific to the feedback I’ve had and have asked people to rate my abilities on a scale of 1 to 10 and then elaborate on their answers. I’ve already had a few responses and it’s really interesting to see what people are saying. I’m hoping it’ll give me some rich insight in to what I should be focusing on to improve in the coming months.
Delivery leadership away day planning
One thing I have been super keen to do now I have my new leads in post is to get together and run some sessions to help us set ourselves up as a mini team in the right way. I’m mindful Jo and I have worked together for a while as just the two of us, so with Alex and Bea joining, it feels like a good opportunity to do just that. Unfortunately, holiday season has got in the way so we’re not able to get together for another month, however we’ve started planning sessions for that away day this week which I’m really looking forward to.
We’ve decided to focus on four sessions:
- Getting to know each other better
- Hopes and fears and ambitions for the year
- Creating a team alliance
- Communicating about our team
We’ve also agreed to run a session each so we all get a chance to participate as much as possible during the day. I’m really looking forward to spending time setting ourselves up for success as it can often be forgotten that establishing this ‘team’ is very important to get right.
My sister and my niece are arriving imminently and we have escape rooms, Hamilton, brunch and general spending time together plans planned. I’m so excited to have them come and stay but as usual my ‘be the best host I possible can be’ personality needs to chill and just enjoy our time together.
The situation happening in Afghanistan has been just heartbreaking to see unfold the last couple of weeks. I’d recommend donating whatever you can to help people in need and my heart goes out to my Afghan friends who must be beside themselves with worry for friends and loved ones right now.
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August 19, 2021 at 05:00PM