A year of work in progress – day 135

Day 135 – 1 August 2014

The start of another month and it is a good chance to catch up with the ten things I’m going to try and achieve this year. Most resolutions have long since fallen by the wayside but I’m plodding along.

Doing well: Enjoy every day at work – seems to be fine most days; Sort out Out of Hours – up and running; Be a more agile service – definitely changed with the move out of County Hall.

Doing OK: Get to know all tier 4 managers – I’m about half way through; Get back on the optimisation horse – we’re making good progress with call management again; Understand demand – see previous; Collaborate with another authority – developing the business case.

Could do better: Do something with big data – talking to a lot of people but mostly smoke; Finish my book – I haven’t touched it since March; Learn Dutch – I’m half way through reading my first novel (though it is for a teenager).

Today was mostly about one-to-ones, with Tony and Bob in the morning and a quarterly performance update with Don in the afternoon.

Tony and I talked about progress with the Digital Durham programme which, in the main, is going very well. We need to be careful though to keep our focus on the main goal which is people and not technology. I bang on every day to him about the relative difference between the average number of cabinets which we need to have live every week and the actual number. I refer to this as the burn rate.

We then got into a conversation about how long it takes for ideas to filter through, hence the period of banging on. To get any idea off the ground requires enthusiasm and a lot of talk. The people that you want to take up your ideas will pass through a set of stages before anything happens, which are: Yeah, yeah – every time you mention the issue the person will nod their heads but not really take notice; Oh – at this point the person realises that there may be something in what you have said and will start to listen; Understand – after a while the person will have thought enough about it to start to understand the issue which will result in the final stage; Action.

Once action is underway then I can stop my nagging. I’m going to call this process the ‘Curve of Acceptance’ and make my fortune by talking about it on the convention circuits of the English speaking world.

Later on I met with another organisation which works in big data and analytics. We had a fascinating conversation about future analysis, reverse understanding, internal and external opportunities. We need four different types (kinds) of people to help us in this space, data idealists which believe there is a better world waiting to leap out of your data, data hounds who can find where data is hidden, data analysts who can turn it into an understandable format and data creatives who do whacky and exciting things with it all. But that’s for another day.

Learning points for today: History can be rewritten; when everything is said and done a lot will be said and noting will be done; my job is not to run the organisation of today but to get ready for the organisation of tomorrow; if you don’t make a mistake it’s harder to build a relationship and; I don’t like twisted phone cords.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – some fun conversations.

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