Never let a good crisis go to waste— Weeknotes s1 w12 w/e 28 August 2020

Firstly, a wrap of the week. Been a good week this week in summary, some interesting conversations, particularly on leadership (in discussion with our new leadership coaches, who are putting together a leadership development programme, and it was comforting to know we are not the only ones grappling with change) and also on equality and diversity, where we have started to get the ball rolling with the champions, using collaborative tools to do so. Working well so far, but will be interesting to see if all of the colleagues adopt it and are comfortable with it. Also made some progress on my treasury strategy and am in a position to write something up with the Board at the end of the September (rather early for me, so that’s good). You can’t plan too early when it comes to treasury…

I didn’t feel particularly exhausted on Friday, trotting off to a (socially distanced) pub trip, and I think the relative lack of online meetings and some free time in the diary really helped that. The benefit of firebreaks again. Might be harder to maintain in what looks like a busy September though!

Reflection time at Ogmore this weekend
Reflection time at Ogmore this weekend

What have I learned?

So, what can I glean from doing the series of 12 weeknotes, started way back in June this year? I will summarise in this article some of the key points and the way forward.

Its definitely been worthwhile as an exercise, in summary, although when I took it on I hadn’t fully appreciated the time commitment involved. I am somewhat in awe of people who can knock these things out in an hour but it takes me longer! And not doing them on a Friday night was definitely a move to the positive. Timing, as ever, and it's worth experimenting with any timings you have in your control. I’ve really enjoyed the #31DaysOfCreativity activity with Helen Reynolds (also finishing at end of August) but perhaps it was a bit much doing both!

Respect to the tech sector for the general adoption of weeknotes, but it's still unchartered waters for governance and finance. Do shout all if you know of great blogs in those spaces btw. A shame, as both could massively benefit from sharing and working out in the open. Particularly so in governance, which has collaboration written right through it. It would really help with treasury and finance too, but commercial sensitivities have rather got in the way of that. During the season there have been some moments of real challenge and difficulty, but it wouldn’t have been appropriate to blog about those. Sadly. Just too difficult to write about in the abstract. But I live in hope there is a way of doing it.

What to leave out has been interesting as a challenge, particularly as I have a broad span of control in work. I think the learning from this is its better to concentrate on a certain topic (eg e&d or remote working etc) and stick to it, as the story can get a bit disjointed otherwise. I’ve probably glided over a couple of topics and I see my tendency to overcomplicate when I rush coming through occasionally.

Nonetheless, I think I picked a good time to do this. I can see the evolution of lockdown thinking in my blog posts (re-read last night) and I think there is a particular cross-sector appetite to share on virtual working at the moment. We are all stretched by it. Never let a good crisis go to waste, they say and I’m chuffed to have had some feedback that its helped others. Covid-19 won’t go away and it has been an accelerant for the existing change, I am sure of that. It's absolutely of its time. I’ve put a diary check to go back and look at the season in 12 months time. Curious to see whether it will seem like a fossil by then or how relevant the points will still be. I can also see that I get more reads with a good picture or graphic.

Working out in the open has helped me get my head straight on plenty of points as it happens, having finished articles with a satisfying realisation — ah yes I didn’t realise I believed that — moment! See w6 on self-care for example*. It’s an excellent discipline. It has helped sharpen my writing skills and develop a new tone of voice. Its a skill, a real craft, and hats off to those who write these articles for a profession. They say that writing skills will be of increasing importance in virtual working, and I’m sure that’s true. This has been a good antidote to reams of Board papers, and it has helped me pick up my novel and start editing again. I have grappled at times with how controversial to be, and how political, but again this is a useful boundary to explore and get straight in my head.

Also, the amount of time spent on the Board (run-up, prep, meetings and aftermath). Definitely something to think about there, despite the importance of the Board! I would have liked to have done more on the economy, but its the research time which has eluded me (I don’t want to make uninformed comments on this, it's a messy enough area already).

So what are my tips and what’s next?

I’m going to carry on blogging definitely and will do another season when a particular time suits it (eg around the acute stages of a complex project). In the meantime I am going to regularly blog (not at the end of each week though) on areas of interest to me — I don’t want for topics.

I’ve summarised my tips, for what its worth on doing your own weeknotes. Used a tool I got from Helen Reynolds I have put together a short graphic, which I hope speaks for itself. Feel free to share.

Image for post
Image for post

Caffeine intake — just the one dubious coffee throughout. Quite proud of that!

Thanks once again to Polly Thompson and Neil Tamplin for their inspiration on this.

* = https://medium.com/@sarahprescott/weeknotes-s1-w6-w-e-3-july-2020–2e2295b53727 — the self-care rant!

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