Weeknote: 8 to 10 April 2019

Close-up of text on screen “Find a”

Another short week because I took Thursday and Friday off.

1. What inspired me this week?

  • The openness of the conversations in our product development directorate all hands events. Our exec director, Wendy, and her directors are responsible for more than 600 people between them, so I’m sure their decision to run these events multiple times in different locations was the right one, enabling better quality conversations in smaller groups.
  • We had a practice leads call for my profession, Digital Services Delivery. The leads are all supporting their communities of practice brilliantly through a time of organisational change, and doing this on top of their dayjobs work on products and services. (I thought better of the word “dayjobs” there: unless you actually work nightshifts, everything worth doing at work is part of your dayjob.)
  • A conversation with Trilly, who is product manager for some new work to help people “find a health service”. Trilly inspired me to write a long-overdue blog post about what I mean when I talk about service.

2. What connections did I make?

  • I was privileged to be part of a group, convened by Stephen Hart of the NHS Leadership Academy, of people who were “new to the NHS” in senior roles. There are huge variations in people’s joining experiences, and some common themes and things that we could do to support newcomers better. As someone responsible for a whole profession group that’s new to the health service, I think we could benefit a lot from being part of this community.

3. What do I need to take care of?

  • We had to send a clarification message out to some members of the profession who had got mixed messages from two separate staff communications a few days apart. Over the next few months, I’ll need to keep on top of communication – the right message, to the right people, at the right times and the right channels. It seems to me that this is a basic component of what the NHS Leadership Model calls “leading with care.”

4. What am I learning about myself and my context?

  • I spent the train time home from London on Wednesday re-reading feedback from my learning set peers on my first piece of written work for the Nye Bevan Programme. For the next draft, I need to reflect more on my own values and practices as a leader:
    • As a well-off white man, how do I think about the roles of privilege and “luck” in my career?
    • How do I get better at holding myself and others to account, while continuing to lead with care?
    • How do I better connect what I do as a user-centred design leader to the things that make a difference for patients and workers who give direct care?
    • Given my context and the shifting landscape that I work in, what would a “board level” role in the NHS look like for me?

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