Week beginning 6 December

It’s not when I don’t want to hear that it’s a problem. It’s when I don’t know that I need to listen that I run into trouble. Over the last fortnight I’ve been trying to arrange something with the team. I thought it was a straightforward request which fitted into people’s expectations and which would have been widely anticipated anyway. Other people felt differently. And so by having completely different starting points the request landed badly. It wasn’t immediately obvious because remote working makes reactions and side-bar conversations less visible. Not everything we do can be popular, but I’m disappointed with myself for walking into controversy inadvertently. I stepped into an issue with imperfect information and I suspect there’s a bit of all of us that’s just a bit too tired to be patient for that little bit longer.

There were four other significant features to my week. Our Repairs Improvement Board met again this week to review the progress against short term actions that we’ve agreed. Since we last met demand in the contact centre has increased by 44% and so the actions felt necessary but insufficient. Meeting fortnightly is important so we can continue to adapt our approach to meet our residents’ expectations. 

My boiler broke on Monday evening. I found that out after getting up ridiculously early and going for a run on a freezing Tuesday morning. So I was particularly sorry for everyone who encountered me on Tuesday. That boiler that I ordered from Eon 7 weeks ago was looking particularly visionary. That I had to cancel it after no update vs the pre-sales SLA of an installation within 5 days, particularly ironic. Another one might arrive next week. Maybe. 

Secondly, we spent two days as an IT management team, planning our future shape. We began with purpose and goals for 2022 and then worked forward into roles, structure, skills, training, governance – with an important discussion about funding next week. We’re in that difficult phase where we want to retain our commitment to co-creating the right things whilst being able to give people enough certainty that it supports the co-creation.

We’re now at the end of the onboarding phase for Ron and Angharad in their customer services leadership roles. So we got together to review the priorities for the next 6 weeks or so and make sure that these were aligned to where our management team was investing its time and effort . Later I got a pang of regret that I hadn’t also given a bit more room for creativity and self-invitation. But then remembered the importance of providing clarity on what matters most. 

And finally, Kelly left this week. She’s been here for 80 weeknotes and she’s achieved an extraordinary amount. I was asked to merge four contact centres overnight and temporarily had 19 direct reports so I needed someone I could trust totally with the operational aspects of running the service. I didn’t expect her to have such a significant influence on managing change, or to be quite so adaptable in enabling us to take every single opportunity that was available. Her key legacy is the recruitment of Angharad and Ron.

And so, there’s just two weeks until Christmas and three left in the year to define the decade. If we’re able to push over the line a couple of the things that are tantalisingly close then we’ll be able to start next year with a really positive energy.