Weeknotes S1 E1 2021

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Welcome to another year of weeknotes! Happy New Year! I think I might be the only person who’s still wishing people Happy New Year upon encountering them for the first time in 2021, but I’ve seemingly committed to this course of action and I’m sticking with it.

I had hoped to of published my 2020 reflections BEFORE I started posting 2021 weeknotes, but alas, they cannot find their way out of draft mode at the moment.

But to avoid further procrastination I’m carrying on with the business of new weeknotes.

I’ve been doing…

This week felt like a tipping point at which I realised the things I needed to do were outstripping the time and attention I had available. I’d say this is largely due to a couple of weeks of juggle the roles of parent, teacher, employee and OU student. I’ve also got another committment looming that will require some out of hours work.

Whilst it’s good advice to say ‘Yes’ to opportunities when they come knocking and figure out the details later, it can also occasionally get you in trouble. 🙂

Thoughts drifted back to a conversation earlier in the month about trying to find the right point where the workload is challenging but sustainable. I was also trying to remember some sage advice I gave to myself when thinking back to last year’s lockdown…

So, I admitted defeat on the home schooling front and drafted in the help of my mother and mother-in-law in the form of a daily Google Meet screenshare with the kids.

I also asked for an extension on my OU assessment, to save myself from having to work late into the evenings. I’ve enquired about the potential for study leave too if needed.

There is an unhelpful voice in the back of my head which is whispering that I should just knuckle down and suck it up, but I’m trying to ignore it because it’s truly terrible advice that I’d never give to anyone else if they told me they were struggling.

It’s been nice to welcome some new people to the (immediate and wider) team. Having more collective brain power on tap and new/differing perspectives is something that I really appreciate.

I’ve been using Sarah Carter’s most excellent Dragon Age Trello Induction Board 2 (onboarding boogaloo). I had to make some organisation specific changes and I’m keen to capture some thoughts on how well this has worked (or not) for next time around. Not that we experience a lot of new permenant starters, but could be handy for anyone that may come and work with our team on a more temporary basis.

Related to onboarding, I’ve also asked if our new colleagues are happy to write ‘User Manual for Me’, which they did and they were brilliant. It’s such a great way of rapidly understanding how people like to work, particularly whilst we’re all distributed and have some room for flexibility. I’d like to get to a point where we’ve got a directory of these for the team, as long as people are happy to share of course.

This week was the intro session for CHC & Cadenza’s Leadership Masterclasses where our cohort all jumped on a video call for the first time and had a bit of a chat about what we each hoped to get out of the process. The goal of the programme is to help develop the next generation of senior leaders that are equipped for a world which is filled with far less certainty and would benefit from those with a more outward looking and human centred approach to leadership.

“There are four masterclasses in this series and they will help aspiring leaders develop their behaviours and thinking around building better connections and positively influencing agendas and people — both in and outside of the housing sector.”

I think leadership is a complicated topic. I’ve written about it before in the form of digital leadership, which I still speculate that whatever prefix you stick on it, is just good leadership.

Part of the problem is that we’ve been traditionally sold the idea that great leaders inspire the people around them by knowing precisely the right thing to do and when to do it. That they arrive in their role perfectly attuned to the demands placed upon it and are the polished final product.

I reference it a lot, but Turn The Ship Around is the book that really influenced my thinking on this and made me realise that my own preconceptions of management were all based on the heoric leadership model of people who would swoop in and save the day (or the less positive version which is tell everyone exactly what to do and when to do it). And for that reason, I’d never really thought I was a good fit for it.

This is of course, a complete fallacy. Some of the people I admire most would openly admit that they don’t have all the answers and are absolutely aware of the things that come naturally to them but also open about the things that don’t.

“Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years time?” .. is a question that I find oddly triggering. I think it’s because I’m not a particularly status driven person. I’ve never had a desire to set my sights on a particular level of job, a pay grade or have a particular size of team at my command.

I do have a very clear idea of my values and beliefs, and I find I’m happiest in my work when I feel like I’m helping to practically apply those things for social good.

So in that sense, the only reason I’d ever apply for more senior roles is if I though I could help create the space for good things to happen. I think this is because I naturally gravitate toward the role of collaborator / facilitator / dot joiner.

I’m really looking forward to the first proper session next week and how I might be able to practically apply learning to current challenges. I also hope it might shed some light on where the path for the future might lie (although I think we’ve all given up predicting things after 2020, right?)

I’ve been reading…

I’ve been pondering Intranet’s a lot this week and what their role is in the modern digital workplace. I keep referring back to the ace work Barnardos did on uncovering user needs for their Intranet. I also love that they made it open by default.. so perhaps more Internet than Intranet?

Good and very encouraging stuff coming out of the Centre for Digital Public Services. Really excited to see how this grows in Wales in 2021 and helps build more home grown digital capabilities.

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