What did I enjoy?
This week did seem like a week of breakthroughs in our work on the creation of the new NHS England. The context remains challenging, but amid this there are signs that digital professionals are being taken seriously and given the chance to change ways of working to the benefit of the whole new organisation.
In our own Product Directorate, several workstream and portfolio area leads are really running with their work. We’re also benefitting from a bit of agile delivery management coaching from Adnan.
In ensuring that the directorate we create will work well as part of the overall system, there were a couple of decisions made and finally communicated which will really help us to move forward.
Throughout the week, I also enjoyed calls with a number of clinical and product colleagues who are all doing good work to make sense of the complex situation we find ourselves in.
What was hard?
I had a difficult conversation with the facilitator of a training course I am on about his use of multiple quotes from a particular pop psychology book on a course that is intended for a diverse audience. I also raised a concern that the module risked presenting systematic issues such as burnout and power imbalances in hierarchical relationships as if they were personal failings to be addressed through improvement of self, rather than as collective challenges that leaders across the public sector need to tackle together.
What did I learn?
Despite this, I found the course helpful in framing a learning goal for myself over the next few months, one that will shape how I spend my time and how I test different ways of working. In conversation with other participants, I got it down to:
How might I build the same level of trust and rapport with my organisation’s most senior decisionmakers as I have with my own team members?
What did I experiment with?
I’m refinding some of the sponteneity that is possible when colleagues can all access the same instance of a collaboration tool, albeit a mediocre one. I still find Microsoft Teams wildly clunky and confusing, but at least we have all the people connected together.
On Friday I was able to see that my manager was free, offer a video call, and while we were on the call I messaged in a couple of other colleagues, one of whom shared a document in the chat.
Simple things like this make our work flow smoothly, and I’d forgotten quite how much I missed being able to work in this way from organisations that had functional set-ups of Google and/or Slack collaboration tools.
What do I need to take care of?
There’s a lot going on in the world. I realise I’ve written the above without even mentioning the arrival of a new Prime Minister and a new (old) health secretary.