Weeknote 07

Distinct feel of spring in the air this week. Which is weird, because it’s February. But never forget this handy guide to the seasons:

False spring it may be, but my head has now turned to outside. I’ve not done any garden planning to date and am now in trademark, annual panic and buying frenzy. More on that below.

And the outside has been a tonic to a stressful, difficult week at work.

Final note to end the week on: the architect has confirmed he has ALL the costs back from the quantity surveyor. We’ll get them next week. I could cry with relief but maybe I’ll hold off on the crying until I see the actual numbers.

What I’ve been doing

After the chaos and emotion of last week, I’ve decided to take a distinctly different approach to this week. Step back. Keep quiet(er). Let others figure things out. Observe. Be more intentional about where I can add value.

Don’t let people live in my head rent free.

Be more cabybara.


It mostly worked...

I’ve focused on facilitating and supporting decision making for one of the products. And making sure the teams are set up to succeed and are coping okay in a really tough, ambiguous landscape.

And to get my head around aligning roles and responsibilities in the senior layer of the team. There is a lack of clarity around a couple of roles is leading to tension and misalignment on overall direction and priorities. All of which has a wider knock on to the rest of the team.

Time is a finite resource, so I’ve been trying to tackle this asynchronously. I’ve asked everyone to fill in a roles and responsibilities matrix describing what they think they do/are accountable for and what they think other roles do/are accountable for. I’m now analysing this and looking for commonalities and differences to highlight in some face to face conversations.

There are some interesting tensions that I need to explore a bit more and bring back to role descriptions in the Government Digital and Data Profession capability framework.

I also want to unpick what behaviours and actions we’d expect to see people doing to fulfil those responsibilities/accountabilities. The devil is in this particular set of details.

I’ve been getting my head around spreadsheets, timesheets, scheduling and the like. I’m a slow learner in this space. Thankfully, in my role, most of this is oversight.

I was planning on a quiet Friday to get things done but got pulled into a few meetings slightly against my will. But they helped wrap up the week’s loose ends (and means less meetings next week). But a great note to end the week on.

Still meeting lots of lovely people. Highlights this week were Alex Deschamps-Sonsino, Vicky Brown and my fellow North American Eva O’Brien at TPX. And Milan Bogunovic and May-N in DLUHC.

People make all the difference

My role is hard. It’s a bit isolated. It’s making big decisions and dealing with the most difficult of problems and people.

Working with lovely, caring, supportive people is so important. I am continually blown away with the kindness and mutual support on offer from everyone in my team and more widely at TPX.

We had a great initial get together of the other senior partners for major projects on Thursday. (SHUT UP IMPOSTER SYNDROME.) I’m really looking forward to the development of this little community and how we work together to support each other and work through common challenges.

A particular shout out to Kate, Jess and James this week for listening.

And I’ve realised how much I’m not healed from the last job. And to ask for support early.

What I’ve been thinking about

Can’t lie, it’s the garden at the moment.

Mad panic that I hadn’t bought any dahlias or sweet peas yet for this year so spent all of Sunday looking at hundreds of types of both plants in a ludicrous array of colours. Eventually this was whittled down to 5 new dahlias and 2 sets of sweetpeas.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to dig up and redo the bed that got destroyed by bamboo removal last year.

It's one of those jobs that’s never quite so simple. It’s going to involve moving the “temporary” path we put down, relaying parts of the deck that had to be lifted because bamboo. And taking out a big photinia, one of my least favourite shrubs/small trees. And digging up everything.

It’s a really shady spot so my thoughts are mostly foliage based with one old flowering ornamental cherry. It means I can finally give permanent homes to a number of acers that have been in pots for years. And an accumulation of hostas. Add in a few grasses. Underplant the whole thing with aconites, snowdrops and maybe wood anemone. And then think about some late spring, summer and autumn shade tolerating flowers for some light touches of colour

I might have also accidentally bought a rambling rose to grow up a tree at the back of the garden. Paul’s Himalayan Musk for anyone who is interested.

What I’ve been reading

I finished Red Shirts by John Scalzi. I was actually a bit disappointed. I thought it could have pushed the whole meta-ness a bit further.

I’ve picked up Kate Atkinson’s Case Studies, the first of the Jackson Brodie books. I’ve been totally sucked in already and managing a couple chapters in the evening after work.

What I’ve been watching

Love is Blind season 6. Judge me at your peril. It’s awful. I love it. I hate it.

What’s blooming

The first daffodils are blooming. And the anemone blanda. And the muscari. Signs of life from the bleeding hearts I planted last year.

And this very special corylopsis - a wonderful little shrub I inherited, the palest yellow flowers late in winter with soft cowslip like scent.

Small brown woody shrub with no leaves and tiny pale yellow flowers hanging from branches.