[2024] Week 03

Three weeks into 2024 and two weeks into my latest work era and I really felt my match fitness being tested. It was to be expected and I felt I held up pretty well all things considered but I suspect my ambitions for today (it is Sunday and I have a rare work or plans free day in London) will fade as the tiredness catches up with me. 

So what was the week in numbers?

39 meetings including 17 introduction chats and 3 face to face meetings.

3 work locations (home, Bristol office and The Hickman – our London HQ).

2 hotels.

1 [BIG] unconference.

1 new non weeknote blogpost.

2 McDonalds breakfasts.

10 beers.

4 alcohol free nights.

My initial area of focus is going to be supporting the DLUHC Local Digital programme and a lot of this week (and the next couple) was shadowing Linda who is going off for a while to concentrate on a significant personal programme of her own!

I feel lucky to have landed in this space. I very much like the Civil Servants leading this work, have a bunch of great TPX folk involved and genuinely find the projects interesting and am excited to see what I can do to help them achieve the programme ambitions.

Being able to watch Linda in action has really helped me grasp the shape of the role. It is one thing to read a job description or even talk about things but seeing her interact with the client, the teams and TPX leadership has been incredibly valuable. There is no way I am going to be able to be a like for like replacement for her – just the domain knowledge she brings makes Linda a uniquely effective operator in this space – but I can see how I can contribute and start to add some value.

I’m still coming to terms with quite how many spreadsheet tabs I have open but the reality is the actual job is what it always was – win good work,  put the right people on the work (at the right price), do good work, assure the work is good and delivered in a timely manner. Repeat.

All while making sure you have the clients trust and your teams feel safe and supported to do their best work.

Simples.

Not.

…but I am getting that little buzz again about getting in the mix at this level. This is what I enjoy and with it divorced from the organisation politics, the stress about where the next client was coming from and the whole building the plane mid-flight aspect of the organisation design in the old days I feel like I can just focus more on the clients and the teams.

I’ve also been talking a lot with people this week about the need for organisations (rather than just individuals) to have opinions and personalities. Things like Public Digital having their positions and dxw have been strong recently putting things out there designed to spark conversation.

TPX have recently become a BCorp and there is definitely a ‘people and planet’ philosophy running through the culture and there seems to be a real opportunity to harness that more and unleash some of the very smart, passionate people to set the agenda out in our communities.

Anyway – work was really good this week.

Saturday however was great.

I love Govcamp. It is one of my favourite days of the year. It is such an important pillar of my career but more than that it is just a gathering of lovely people that I enjoy chatting to who I rarely get to see.

This was lucky number 13 for me. 2012 at Microsoft and 2014 at City Hall were my favourite ‘camps (soooo long ago) but they’ve all been brilliant. Ministry of Justice in recent years was my favourite venue so I was twitchy about the new spot and the massive change in scale.

I need not have worried. 

The agenda generation exercise was expertly facilitated – and while I am not a fan of the approach – it seemed to really land and god knows dinosaurs like me are always going to struggle with change!

The sponsors / refreshments area felt a little dark – I definitely blinked into the daylight when I went upstairs – but I can never remember a time where there was more foot traffic and really good conversations in that space.

In fact from a CorridorCamp point of view I have never had more conversations with a more diverse group on a broader range of topics (even if most did start with questions about me joining TPX or about my sponsor stand-up spot ). I basically went from chat to chat from 09.00 to about 18.00 with just the occasional (ok frequent) toilet break.

I also shifted a LOT of stickers. The new ‘Embrace Complexity’ one was particularly popular. I also worried all day that our stand was going to collapse and bash someone – it was very from stable!

Thank you to everyone I chatted with and especially to the organisers and volunteers for creating such a special environment. 

It also inspired me to think about running a micro-Govcamp event in Bristol later in the year. Something to ponder.

That’ll do I think.

Take care folks

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