A year of work in progress – day 119

Day 119 – 9 July 2014

Having not set foot in the ‘Room for Improvement’ for over a week I ended up spending the whole morning in there. I came in thinking we would be there all day but got kicked at lunchtime and made our way to another room. Apart from a half hour with my boss, to cover something I forgot to mention in our one-to-one it was a day with the Senior Leadership Team.

This morning was supposed to be an informal meeting where we agree any items on the day but somehow we managed to get three meeting included. We’d already decided that we would use this time to update the Durham / Northumberland programme on a fortnightly basis and so we had a telephone conference call (it saved people driving). Good progress is being made but it is still early days.

The bulk of the morning was given over to Absence Management. Lee had arranged for us to have some training so that we wouldn’t have to sit through it individually. I always thought that we managed our absence quite well but it turns out that there is room for improvement (but isn’t there always). The problem is one of consistency of process. Some of the team are applying the tools and techniques at every opportunity while others are not and this allows those who are inclined to claim there is a ‘management lottery’. It felt like a good subject for the next round of presentations.

After lunch we had another stab at looking at our structures in preparation for the reorganization needed to balance the budgets in 2015/16 and 2016/17. I’ve said that we are going to need to take a few bites at the cherry to get this right and this afternoon was half a bite. Closing off one meeting and then having another is not conducive to creative thinking as we’re still hung up on those items of any other business we didn’t get around to.

We ended up having a conversation about whether or not our structure will deliver theorganisation we want (or need) to be some three to five years in the future. At times it got quite intense and we struggled with the crystal ball stuff. In the end though we had given it a good airing and managed to agree a couple of dates to come back to the problem.

Learning points for today: Misplaced is the new lost; a fish does rot from the head downwards (I heard it on Radio 4); we need to be more consistent in all of the things we do; I need to block out more time; Neil (M) is always trying to wind me up; my list of banned words now includes time and attendance: I live in a utopic world that is impossible to achieve and; sometimes a lion has to roar.

Today’s enjoyment rating 8/10 – I enjoy management Wednesdays but they are always a bit intense and (dare I say) stressful.

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