A year of work in progress – day 108

Day 108 – 23 June 2014

First days back are the worst. After five days off I came back to 746 emails, 597 in my inbox, 28 that I was copied into and 121 in a mass mail box that I’d set a new rule up for. The interesting thing though is that all of the email only exists because I turn up for work. Who would do it if I was not there? Who would write to me anyway? In many ways it is self-generated and it is all my responsibility. It’s all a bit existentialist. I get email therefore I am. As it happens there wasn’t anything too onerous to deal with.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking that we should try and coordinate projects so that they kick off in months that they rhyme with. VDI should start in July but that’s as far as I got. I’ll knock that on its head then.

I finished ‘Drive’ by Daniel H Pink which I enjoyed. Apparently work isn’t something we do just for money and indeed financial reward can be a poor long term motivator. The use of incentives to improve productivity can have the opposite effect and cause workers to become disinterested in their work. The real way to motivate people is to allow them some self-determination in their role and make it challenging but not too difficult. It was one of the books recommended at Thinking Digital 14 and if you get a chance you should read it.

I’ve been off the tier 4 managers’ trail for a little while but Pam has managed to get me three for today (in the end one was cancelled). Sexy Phil (it’s a long story) was up first. He is another one of the finance managers and looks after Neighbourhood Services with its very broad and wide ranging portfolio. We talked about the usual issues of incorporating new systems, the rise and rise of mobile working as well as business intelligence. Phil has been with the Council for twenty seven years and he’s not bitter about his long-service award, or rather the lack of it.

Gill described the highly complex relationship she has with the authority, working on secondment from the Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust in our Public Health team. She is on a five year programme to become a public health consultant which involves a large amount of rotation around various organisations. I thought I moved about a bit but she had my head in a spin.

After that we had our regular Strategic ICT Group. Our projects are moving along nicely and the group continues to develop. I brought a draft digital strategy which got a decent airing around whether we should we have a separate strategy or should it be part of our overall approach to ICT. In the end we agreed to have a stab at re-writing the ICT Strategy to make sure it captures the points we want to raise about the challenges and opportunities that digital will present. ICT also got a couple of thanks, which was nice.

In the afternoon I met with the team that will be leading on our housing programme.

Learning points for today: REDRACE is the internationally recognised name for Regeneration and Economic Development, Resources and the Assistant Chief Executive service groupings, bit like the BRIC countries; We’ve got Supa-Usas and; Can an application that is rarely implemented effectively be called a good system?

Today’s enjoyment rating 7/10 – a bit of catching up to do.

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