Week beginning 8 November

A lot of this week was about Thursday evening. It actually started on Wednesday evening. Zoe messaged me following a show & tell about Link Work. This is a new team that is using our Better Conversations approach, developed through COVID, to call residents who we haven’t heard from in a while where who might need our help. The show & tell, held out of hours, had excited the team so much that it ran late. And Zoe thought I should join the next one. So I got into Hackney early on Thursday morning so I could listen to the team share their experiences and promote the work ahead of the next round of secondments we’ll be offering to join the team. I asked about the conversations when people weren’t so pleased that we’d called and was really impressed by the thoughtful, calm response that Maria gave. 

At Thursday lunch, Jasmeen led the IT strategy show & tell to share her experiences of Lauren Currie’s Upfront course. Her presentation was so good that everyone was still buzzing from it that evening when we gathered to say goodbye to Rich Smith. More of the team were together than at any point since last March and it reminded me about all the best things about our team. 

But Thursday also saw the news break about the appalling conditions of a tenant’s home. There’s little about that which benefits from my commentary. But the recent work that we’ve been doing, in close collaboration with the housing leadership team is the most important thing in my job right now and my ability to make a positive difference will be an important part of how I’m judged in the role. 

There were three conversations that really stood out through the rest of the week. I was given some feedback by one of my peers about a project we led together. It was kind, constructive and direct. For me, it makes the difference between being motivated to tackle the issues rather than spending energy getting cross about how the message was communicated. I hijacked the (software) development team meeting to review the progress we’d made following a session in July on their ambitions and goals. We’d made tentative progress towards tackling some of the issues we’d discussed but it also reminded me how much more we could do. I’ll need to work smarter if I’m going to have more impact there. And finally, I took part in a feedback session about another project which has been going well on the surface, but been more challenging for the folk involved. I was pleased I had done it, but also a bit frustrated with myself for not having looked more closely sooner. I’d heard bits about some issues bubbling away but not worked hard enough to understand their importance. 

So my agenda for the last six weeks of the year is looking increasingly clear… and I’m partly committing this to paper to hold myself to account:

  1. We’ve got some clear goals around improving the tenant experience of accessing our repairs service; 
  2. We need to embed the Link Work model so that it can grow int of central part of how we do ‘customer services in Hackney
  3. There are three new projects we need to set-up well, ready for a fast start in 2022 (single view, temporary accommodation and data platform)
  4. Putting the detail on our plans for the future shape in IT
  5. Supporting the new customer operations and customer experience teams settle-in and accomplish their short term goals
  6. There are three thorny internal things that I’ve committed to tackling where progress needs to be tangible before Christmas

Good thing I’ve only got the one week off!