Weeknotes S5 Ep8

The finalé

Hi! It’s Saturday morning and I’m in bed while the other half feeds the little one breakfast downstairs.

I didn’t manage to get these notes written yesterday because I spent A MILLION YEARS queuing in the post office, and my parents were here, and I had to get a filling because I am old now.

Anyway. I’m inclined to keep this short because I have a weekend I want to get into with my family. Also I’m writing this on my phone, so there’s a distinct lack of gifs, for which I can only apologise.

This week has been really hard on a personal level so to caveat some of this is not directly related to my day job, at least, not my day job.


My week

On Monday morning we had stand up and though I don’t have much to talk about yet things are starting to become clearer.

Very importantly I also discovered the results of our playlist challenge. The winner this week got an incredible 3 out of 9!

I automatically assumed this meant I only got two right (one being my own) but no, it now dawns on me that I probably only guessed my own track correctly and failed on every other song. This is infuriating.

Later on I did some reading up on our work with GDS’s Digital Academy (made much easier by excellent handover notes from Gavin).

In the afternoon I met Hattie and headed down the Thames on a boat, we met the rest of my old team from GDS who had a stash of boat Prosecco, and then had lunch and drinks in Greenwich. It was good to catch up with people.

The Curry Sark, Greenwich.

In the evening Hattie and I headed to the south bank to meet Hattie’s other half and also fellow weeknoter (and all round awesome person) Jenny. We saw Roxane Gay in conversation on her first ever trip to the UK.

I love Roxane Gay and she was hilarious and brilliant. if you haven’t read anything by her then I highly recommend Hunger. It’s such a brilliant book and acknowledges just how much “fat is a feminist issue” and the relationship between trauma and real bodies.

A lot of the questions from the audience focussed on writing about trauma which was a shame because she also writes hilariously and compellingly about a lot of other things. But anyway.

Hanging out at Roxane Gay.

On Tuesday we had a team meeting to talk through an event we were running on Thursday. I worked with our service designer Becky and head of our team, Linda, to design the workshops and objectives for the day. It was fun and I enjoyed flexing my brain to design how those sessions would run. Plus I felt like I was really adding value, which was motivating.

Our team are made up of a lot of new people and it was clear that only a few of us have had experience of creating and running workshops. I’m wondering if bringing in Liberating Structures would help us to do this sort of work more easily/quickly.

Then I saw Sharon post this on twitter, I hope we can sort something out…

I also sat in on a briefing with our Minister which was interesting/useful.

On Wednesday I went to One Team Gov breakfast which was great because there were new faces there. A lot of people wanted to talk about EU Exit because there was a big Conservative party vote the night before, but we didn’t formally discuss that.

My sketch notes (more note than sketch) are here:

I’m comfortable with what’s going on in my work life at the moment but because of other things going on my my general world I was feeling pretty fragile and not at all sure of myself on Wednesday.

I posted something on Twitter and so many people rallied round for me that I was really quite tearful.

Thank you all, especially Jenny who made me full on blub as I walked from breakfast into work.

For the rest of Wednesday I took advantage of some quiet time to read up on the funded bids that I’ll be leading engagement on ahead of our event on Thursday.

I met Jenny and Morgan for a quick coffee for moral support in the afternoon and instantly felt a weight lift because they are awesome.

On Thursday I had a topsy turvey day, I took the morning off to see my little one in his first nativity. He was a camel, this is a very important role.

In the afternoon I headed to Code Node for the event we had been planning. It was a kick off for all of the Local Digital projects that have won funding from our team.

The energy was good, I learned loads, and it really brought home just how important and impactful Local services are to people’s lives. I can’t wait to see how these projects play out and what the teams learn.

The event went on into the evening and there was pizza and a couple of beers. I chatted more with my team, with Gavin, and with Rebecca and Paul. It was a tiring but really good day.

What else?

I’ve also been thinking a lot about some other things that have been going on this week which I’m not going to explain exactly to say there are useful reminders of how to be an inclusive leader.

  • People with chronic illnesses can sometimes be invisible because they are dealing with this crap every damn day. Check in with people and acknowledge their health.
  • Having a long-term illness is emotionally draining and some medications can cause side effects that you wouldn’t expect. If someone seems low or out of sorts it might be new medication causing it, or it might be because a new medication (that might have been perceived as a bit of light at the end of the tunnel) hasn’t worked, and people need time to deal with that.
  • Check your perfectionism. Having high standards is great but if you’re not explaining how others can reach those standards then you’re not being fair. Check that your standards aren’t just arbitrary, do you even understand them yourself?
  • If you’re a team who uses slack or messenger for the bulk of your communications check your tone. What might seem like brevity to you could be read as passive aggression by others. Also just don’t be passive aggressive full stop, if you’re tempted to be take a deep breath and pick up the phone.

I heard that a lot of people I really admire didn’t make it into the Future Leaders Scheme. And it seems like there’s a counter movement of people acknowledging that this isn’t the be all and end all of progression within the organisation.

It’s refreshing to see people stop and say “stuff it, I’m going to do it anyway” and I can’t agree with Stefan and Audree’s perspectives enough:

Brilliant non-conformists for the win.

I enjoyed some of the discussions about what makes an alpha and especially @jukesie ‘s blog


And finally, I haven’t made a playlist this week because I’ve been listening to my top tracks of 2018…

I also don’t think I’m going to write another weeknote on this side.

So have an awesome Christmas and I’ll see you in 2019!

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