Weeknotes Mar 28th-Apr 1st 2022
This week my partner and I have had covid and last week our toddler was off nursery with it so it’s been a bit of a juggling act. Fortunately we’re all fine and our 5-year-old has managed to evade it, but I was a bit gutted to miss some face to face events I’d been looking forward to, including the Care England conference last week. My team has been out and about a lot though, and to a wide range of events, so it’s been great to hear about all the connections that have been made and strengthened.
What’s gone well
I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to land some of the key messages from our work programme in the speeches that have been given by ministers and senior officials over the past few weeks. I’ve also had the opportunity to brief our ministers on the progress we’re making. We’ve got a couple of headline targets within our programme — around adoption of digital social care records and falls prevention technology by care providers — but there is an enormous amount of work that sits behind all that, and we’ll be able to ‘show the thing’ as we go. More on that soon…
What’s been hard
One thing I’ve been trying to get my head around is how reluctant people often are to tackle issues with colleagues head on. I saw something on Twitter the other day about how many management conversations involved asking the question ‘have you talked to them directly about this?’ or the alternative suggestion of ‘when you talked to them about this directly, what did they say?’, and it’s been making me think.
I get involved in too many conversations that are simply the result of people not understanding each other well enough. I’m not referring pointedly to my team — I see this at every level of our organisations, and in all kinds of teams. It’s not a new problem but maybe it’s more obvious to me as we’re bringing different organisations together. Or perhaps I see it more as I sit in an intersection of so many languages, and find myself playing the role of translator — between government and the NHS, the NHS and social care, central government and local government, policy and delivery, and digital and everything else.
I’m not sure what my point is other than talking to people, understanding their perspectives, listening to their concerns and reflecting that in our approach and language is a core part of everyone’s job. If people aren’t doing what you expect, then it’s a good idea to talk more, and listen even more.
What I’ll do more of
Along with some very positive feedback, one of the most obvious themes that came back in the recent 360 feedback exercise I did is that I need to ‘own my power’ and recognise my influence. One of my peers suggested that I can sometimes hold back and another said that I seek consensus where I should trust my instincts.
The other feedback that I want to work on, was that I should delegate more and give my team more room to fail and to learn — to try to let go of my perfectionist tendencies. I recognise that I hold things pretty tight and that I have very high expectations so I’ve started talking to my team about what changes I can make that will give them more space to grow, while still feeling like I have their backs.