Week beginning 20 September
I’m cross with myself this week. When you’re senior the expectations on you are generally less clear, in my experience. But there are some things that you obviously have to do well. And this week I did one of those things badly. I failed to prepare for a meeting about service performance. And rather there being one obvious reason, there are a few not-particularly-satisfactory reasons. It’s hard to know what to draw from the experience when you know exactly what you needed to do but you’re not clear why you didn’t do it. Needless to say, I don’t expect to repeat the mistake.
There were positives too, but they were different. I had two in-person collaboration sessions. One was to draft a business case which is exactly the sort of task that I normally find too dull to concentrate on to the point of completion, instead finding it too easy to get it mostly done and then let the final bits drag. Sitting with Lisa meant that I was too embarrassed to quit early and so we pushed it to the finish line. Kelly and I then drafted a Playbook for customer services, covering all the different things we do, why and how we do them, in preparation for the new managers joining the service. We won’t truly understand its value in the next 3-6 weeks but over the next 12-18 months if it gets used and iterated. So it was good to create something good enough to find out whether it will persist.
The highlight of my week was facilitating a workshop to explore how we match people and skills with projects. We’re currently structured in professional groupings and for our more hard-to-recruit professions making sure the right people and working on the right thing is non-trivial. But it’s also a task that can lead to friction for project teams. The people I asked to take part did so bravely and in the right way, which made my task easier. But if I’m honest, what I enjoyed most was dusting off my ‘design and deliver a workshop’ skillset and remembering how to do it. It’s been I-don’t-know-how-long since the last time and it always takes more care and attention than I anticipated.
At the end of the week we got together the customer success managers to discuss our focus for the next quarter (or so). I’ve an idea around prioritisation which works theoretically but needs some care if we’re to make it work on a daily basis so I wanted to float it before the week was out. It was one of those sessions that would have taken three weeks to organise if we were meeting in person and booking a room. But I remain unsure about whether dropping that sort of idea late on a Friday is a good idea or not.
So there’s enough to take comfort from, even if I have made more work for myself, and others, through my mistake.
Next week, I’m back on the meetings treadmill for much of the week and it feels like very few are ‘mine’. But on Friday we’re coming together as a management teamwork work through the next level of detail about our future shape – and that’s worth looking forward to.