Seven: Lucky

After the chest infection wiping out pretty much all last week it was good to be back to work. Also the reopening of Bristol Parkway and some luck meant my commute was pretty good as well (though thinking of 3.5 hours a day commuting as OK kind of shows where my expectations are these days!).

A couple of major things are rattling around in my head at the end of this week though that I need to shake loose.

I got the balance of my work in Taunton a bit wrong I think and (embarrassingly given my usual approach) I failed to be open enough about what I was up to. The combination of these factors has probably created a bit of anxiety and some questions at the team level that absolutely wasn’t my intent but I got a bit attracted ‘moth to the flame’ style to some higher level, strategic issues surrounding the programme that I think are completely fundamental. I stand-by that being the place to start but I really failed to communicate that in the room.

I suspect I am currently perceived exactly like the sort of consultant who used to annoy the crap out of me — swanning around and not getting his hands dirty — and so I need to change that pretty sharply.

That said I did have a couple of good conversations this week sharing the high level, strategic observations I have made and how I think some changes there to provide a clearer vision and timeline could really help empower the team(s). These seemed to be pretty well received and I have some thoughts on working on aligning some of the approaches and playbooks already being used or considered to get to something simple and coherent.

This is helpful as to some extent I’ve done a bit of a hand-off with this thinking now and it is up to others to decide what could/should be done. This frees me up to get more embedded in the day to day operations of the teams to see where I can offer some assistance (without being too disruptive — this is a balance I am struggling a little with at the moment. My instincts are either to stand back and observe or to dive in and start influencing things directly — I’m not sure either is right on this occasion.)

David Carboni has joined me on site now as well — he experienced some security fun and games but is getting settled in and getting to know the engineers. Having Carbs around is great — he can have a very different brand of conversation than me but we tend to be looking for very similar behaviours and indicators from successful teams.

Elsewhere I have also been helping out a little with some workshops and sessions with the team helping produce the next corporate plan. I think what they are trying to do is brilliant — the Exec Committee empowering a group of staff from across grades and business to actually translate and interpret their high level objectives to actual produce the plan is brilliant. I’ve been mainly just pointing out some techniques and frameworks I am a fan of and encouraging an OKResque approach.

Had a fun call with Sean — one of the founders of Notbinary — this morning. I haven’t really had an opportunity to work with Sean yet — he has been based up in Edinburgh for all my time in the company — but he has been working on putting together a kind of framework for how we approach the more discovery (maybe ‘pre’ discovery) and strategy work we do. There is some really good stuff in there so I’m encouraging him to share it more openly as I think it is worthy of more eyeballs and a bit of debate. There is also a genuine training piece that falls out of it that syncs up with an idea I wrote about earlier in the year about coaching modern ways of working rather than ‘agile’ or ‘ service design’ as things in of themselves.

This post means I have hit 30 posts in 30 days and managed to achieve #NaBloPoMo — some of the posts really did not find an audience at all but for the most part I avoided publishing anything just for the sake of it or obvious ‘filler’ and I enjoyed the discipline. In fact there will be some spillover so there are likely to be quite a few posts in December.

I’ve got a couple of surveys going at the moment →

Tomorrow I start my #chrimbocheesefest marathon — everyday I am going to watch a Christmas movie and give it a short Twitter review and cheesiness rating. No classics or ‘good’ Christmas movies. Netflix specials, Hallmark movies…that sort of thing.

I suspect everybody has either seen it or read about it by now but Tom and Dai had a big (and brilliant) day out.

That is all for this week. How the hell is it December tomorrow. This year went fast! Anyway. Onwards.