Seven: Hills


A lot of this week felt like I was dragging myself up St Michaels Hill (a somewhat steep hill in Bristol for those who don’t know.) Partly this is because I am a bit under the weather, partly it is that I am running out of steam at the end of a good but hectic year (realised I haven’t managed seven days in a row in my own bed since January), partly it is that I am struggling a bit to articulate my thoughts about this project in a sufficiently formal way to get to the next stage. I feel OK — just a bit low powered and I am looking forward to the weekend. This means this might be a bit of a short edition (I am also a bit blogged-out — this is day 16 of my posting streak and I have at least the next weeks worth ready to go…it is a lot of writing!)


Like I said above I am struggling a bit to formalise my thoughts about this project. I’m essentially here to recommend ways for them to accelerate their progress and I can see how I would things given a clean sheet of paper I think and I even have a good idea (I think) of useful interim steps — but somehow it isn’t translating from head to page. I even spent a couple of hours drawing it out as a massive doodle-note to try and make sense of it all. It helped but not quite enough. It is getting there though — I think the damn will break soon enough and then it will come flooding out (he hopes!)

I’ve also stumbled into helping with a really interesting strategic piece as well — so far this has consisted of pointing people to the outputs of smarter people than I (Jamie Arnold and Sophie Dennis primarily) and offering some supportive words and some ‘wisdom’ from my experiences. I might do a little reading this weekend of Richard McLean’s brilliant OKR reading list as I think that they could be a real help for what this team is trying to do and I can probably help facilitate that a bit. It really is interesting and challenging stuff — the kind of thing I always hoped consultancy would be like.


Thursday I ‘pitched’ for another piece of work. I think it went OK — I wore my fancy shoes which maybe brought me luck. I don’t really have much experience on this side of the table trying to ‘sell’ my/our ideas but it felt pretty good. Win or lose I enjoyed the experience this time. I think I wrote a good proposal and backed it up sufficiently in the room (could have been better of course but I didn’t let myself or my words down I think). I focused in on quite a pure Alpha approach — ‘move fast and try things’ —and — you’ll be shocked to here — an open way of working from the start. I got a good question about whether this approach actually added value to the immediate outcome and I think I gave a pretty convincing answer (wish I could remember it!) and I have a great team lined up if we are successful so fingers crossed gang! [found out we didn’t win it on the way home — quite upset to be honest as based on the feedback I dropped the ball. Meh.]


Watched ‘Widows’ last week. It is a strange film in some ways — an art-house movie pretending to be a Hollywood thriller. There is a lot unsaid in the story and it relies on the audiences awareness of certain tropes to fill in the gaps. I’m not sure it always works but it is still pretty enjoyable. Better than the ITV original that is for sure!


Right that’ll do. Might treat myself to a beer. Sláinte.