I’ve had a five day week, which is very unusual for me. I logged in on Wednesday after I’d taken my daughter to school so that I could join in several Civil Service Live 2021 but, like many others from #CSLive2021 I couldn’t get in. Thankfully all the sessions have been recorded, so I’ll need to find some diary time in the next few weeks to watch the ones I was going to join. What I did find though was that there were a number of small things hanging over from Tuesday that I could do, like confirming the need for a building pass for a new member of the team, finishing off the paper for the programme board on the strategic design authority, etc.
I asked on twitter about a community of practice for operating models/organisational blueprints. This elicited some success, and I’ve made contact with Mark Buttenshaw who runs a group that does exactly what I’m doing. I’ve also made contact with a few others with slightly tangential groups that I ought to be able to meld together some of their good ideas, and hopefully also give them some interesting thoughts from an adjacent field. I need to follow-up next week with all the other people that replied to let them know what I’ve found.
Things I’ve read
Not an exhaustive list, but a handful of links to interesting articles.
- An internal blog on Loneliness, which underlined the need for us to approach others we think might be lonely rather than expecting them to come to us, even if we’ve offered to be available. Some random acts of kindness might help lift someone and show that others are thinking of them!
- Redhill (Surrey) (Surrey) weather – nearest forecast location to Merstham (Surrey) – Met Office Lots of watching the weather forecast because I’m taking my scouts out on a walk overnight on Saturday/Sunday to see the sunrise from the other side…
- Eat a banana! Get off Twitter! How to be more productive at work | Life and style | The Guardian
- Events | SCiO (systemspractice.org)
- Declaration on Government Reform – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
- How we’re using principles to guide our transformation journey – DWP Digital (blog.gov.uk)
- The empty office: what we lose when we work from home | Anthropology | The Guardian
- Lots of stuff on our intranet about how we are moving to blended working (even though it’s been pushed back by at least four weeks)
What I’ve done
This week I have mostly:
- We had two new people start on Monday, bringing the team up to 27 people.
- There was an interesting discussion on what our design principles should be, and how we encapsulated these into some pithy memorable sentences that would be useful for the Defra group as a whole to help them plan their future.
- We discussed and agreed a new senior structure for our team, and then told the rest of the team what it was so that we can work out what the rest of the team needs to look like. This includes adding in three new people at G6 level into the team, which doubles the size of this layer.
- On Thursday we had programme board, and I presented my paper on what the Strategic Design Authority (SDA) should do. I’d softened my original draft so that it was more in the Defra style of being supportive and super-collaborative. The feedback wanted the enforcement side to be my clearer and more direct, the velvet glove I’d put on was too effective at concealing the iron fist! It was good that the programme board wanted to see a strong and effective SDA, so my next step on that is to write it into our ExCo paper to get agreement for its role.
- One of the knock-ons for Civil Service Live was that I volunteered to do some spot mentoring. Three people were matched with me, and I’ve met the first person today, and will meet the other two next week. We had a good chat, and given that they are new to the civil service I agreed to speak to them again in a couple of weeks.
- I found that of the five SCS applications that I made when I was on leave over half-term I had met the standard for an interview on two of them, although one had put me on hold. So I engaged with the five psychometric tests I needed to do, and also planned the presentation for a staff engagement exercise. I then spent an hour and a half speaking to a business psychologist.
- Lastly, I won the team quiz at Friday Fun this week, which was closely fought between two of us with connections to the theme!
Over the weekend I did a bit of tidying up in the garden. Mostly making it look like I’ve intended to let it grow (which I have). It’s really nice being outdoors and watching bees, dragonflies and a load of different birds in the garden.
With more work than expected, and the grind of needing to do a load of psychometric testing (about five hours worth, including the time with the psychologist), I haven’t done everything I would have liked to do. There’s been a lot of last minute re-planning of my scout overnight hike, the other leader had a ping on his covid app on Wednesday, and so can’t make it. Thankfully there are enough adults that we can carry on. I’ve also been keeping a wary eye on the weather forecast in case the severe weather warnings expand to Saturday overnight.
Hopefully a straightforward week, but my diary is already chock full…