Week beginning 9 August

It’s been three weeks since I’ve written a weeknote. You might have noticed the internet running faster without all that traffic going to this (humble?) blog. The first week I should have done, but chickened out. There was a thing that would have been bizarre not to talk about but where doing so wouldn’t have been helpful or useful. Then the next two I was sort of on holiday. I was away with my family but wanted to fit in some interviews. It felt wrong for colleagues to live with uncertainty whilst I was kicking back on the beach. I probably ended up displeasing everyone. Hey ho. 

We flew back on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday did feel like returning to work – but I was carrying the standard 80-or-so unread emails, rather than the several hundred that a two week break normally inspires. 

Pleasingly, we made some decent progress against all of the goals I set for the last few weeks. We’re transitioning to fortnightly goal setting to fit better with the flow of projects. The challenge is making sure these are big and strategic enough that they aren’t just weekly goals strung out over a longer period. 

I’m designing a challenge exercise to get some different perspectives on the progress of our software and data recovery workstream. Depending on the last email I’ve received I’m either feeling confident that we’ve got things under control or intimated by how much further we have to go. 

The interviews weren’t always easy and giving bad news to good candidates is hard, but I’m really pleased with the outcome. Next week we’ll be unveiling the leadership team for customer services and I’m really excited by the balance and blend it offers. We’ve particularly benefited from the input of a group of staff who participated in a ‘meet the candidates’ exercise. They didn’t get to vote on their preference but their insights helped emphasise some of our own thoughts and reflections on what we’d learnt through the structured process. 

The work on the data platform project has helped us learn more about our vulnerable residents. Shortly we’ll be able to put this to use by proactively contacting people to make sure they’re getting the services they need. A personalised, proactive offer is critical to our vision for customer services and I believe that it can ultimately help us provide better services at lower cost. So it’s an exciting moment to put some big, and much talked about concepts, into practical effect. 

Next week is my last before an actual holiday so I need to prepare properly. The new structure in customer services takes effect in September, so we need to make sure it feels different for the team. We’ve made good progress with our phone roll-out and will shortly move into the exciting phase of introducing it for the contact centre. We’ve got a couple of software projects moving into implementation phase. And we need to make sure that we’re doing all of the rights things so that the last four months of the year will be as effective as the first.