Weeknotes S3 Ep04

The one where things feel like they’re coming together [1]

Overarching feeling of the week

Yeah. A good week.

*gasp*

“Really Sam? Are you ok?”

Well, yep, actually. There you guys were, thinking my life was all…


When it turns out that sometimes, it’s totally like…


It’s something I need to remember, some weeks are genuinely fulfilling and good. Reasons for it being good are also almost 100% people-based which I’ll go into more detail about in the highlights section.

Achievements

I can’t put my finger on a single big thing but I think there are a few smaller personal achievements.

I went to One Team Gov breakfast club and for the first time in a while I’ve felt confident in expressing my thoughts, my imposter syndrome was much quieter. That’s not to say I haven’t expressed ideas there before, but previously I have sometimes felt like I’ve been more measured or unsure of myself.

It me.

I also just had some really good, honest and open conversations with stakeholders this week and I’ve felt really good about the relationships I’ve been able to build.

Finally, I have asked for feedback about my work from a range of people in my organisation. Because I’m leaving, I want to cast my net wide and get feedback on how I’ve been performing so that I can take it forward into my new role. I want to learn what went well and what didn’t.

Some words so far have been: patient, clear, focussed and supportive. Those are good words. I like them a lot.

Highlights

Back last year I volunteered to help with a team that has been brought together by the Civil Service Group, they wanted to create a working group to look into how networks are built and how they deliver across government.

They were asking for Future Leaders Scheme participants, and I’m not one of those, because I didn’t manage to pass the tests this year (you can read more about that here) but I volunteered anyway, because I am one of those kinds of people.

Anyway, I’m so glad I did because I’m working with a really brilliant team: Laura Dewis from ODI, Hannah Rignell from BEIS, Rachel Hope from Cabinet Office, and Samera Aslam from Home Office. It is good to work with a group of such talented, driven women.


We had a good workshop and the discussions were really interesting, we set a plan of action and have begun work. It is good, interesting work.

Another real highlight this week was One Team Gov breakfast club on Wednesday. There were more good, interesting, productive conversations.

Fellow weeknoter Jenny was there, as was Stefan who I haven’t fully met in person before but we have spoken over email about my AI conundrum.

View at Medium.com

I spoke with James briefly about work he is doing, thinking about informal resource pools for product management, which I am interested in.

I also properly met Morgan, who works in our HR innovation and technology team which is interesting. She is excellent, and we seem to share a lot of interests. We managed to grab a cup of tea later in the afternoon and I’m really pleased that we did because we got to know each other a bit more.

Myself, Morgan and Jenny have either moved, or are moving jobs soon, so we agreed to meet for a drink in my first week of my new job to compare notes and offer moral support.

Ending a meeting with plans for another catch up and a drink is basically the best outcome you could ever hope for.


Last but by no means least I met the only Head of Data and Search in the world, Dan. We had what is always an awesome chat about work, the logistics of being an adult (it sucks), weeknotes and general stuff. I value any time I have with Dan because he is awesome and a massive help for me in clarifying and working through my thoughts — thank you Dan [2].


Lessons

I’ve been handing over to my replacement Chris for a few weeks now, and I reached a point this week where I realised it’s time for me to really start relinquishing responsibility.

I’ve wanted him to shadow and hear the conversations that have been happening and take the time to take it all in. I’ve been thinking about modelling behaviour, letting him get to grips with it slowly and learn more about how we work with stakeholders, so I haven’t *actually* handed over work and handed over the full responsibility.

I’m not going to be around to help soon so it’s time for him to start leading on things and for me to step away. I will start to do that now.


Finally

Some really good supportive conversations happening on Twitter this week so here are some threads:

Thanks to Jenny, Ben, Neil, Nour and many more for their contributions to the above.

I’ve mostly been listening to the new Go! Team album which is excellent, but in between that, been listening to a few other (quite varied) things. Here, for your delight and delectation:


[1] A thinly disguised friends reference.

[2] If you have read this far and you are thinking “This weeknotes malarky is just a long list of people you had coffee with” then yes, you may be right this week. But in my S02 feedback people said they were interested to find out about other interesting people. So I’m doing what I said I would in my weeknotes retrospective, in pointing out some truly brilliant public sector digital people here that you might be interested in or benefit from knowing about. It’s not like this every week.

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