What are the most important things that I need to be working on? That’s what Mike asked me. It seems like an easy question but in truth can be really hard to answer. How much of what I do is driven by circumstances and how much is in line with my own ambitions and focus? Should my own interests be different from what happens on a daily basis?
I went back to the book ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram’ by Don Richard Ruso and Russ Hudson. I knew it would come in useful eventually. Being a personality type seven, the enthusiast, means that one of my leading strengths is that I am a magpie. I flit from one shiny object to the next. I’m always looking for the next big thing. Yet everyone’s strengths are their weaknesses and sometimes just because something is new doesn’t make it right.
Mike suggested that I take some time to think about what is really important to me within a work context and that I should work out how to get the thrill of the new within these avenues rather than always looking over the fence.
That doesn’t get me out of doing those things that crop up in the normal course of events however.
So I did. I set some time aside and looked at all the things that I am currently working on. It wasn’t a hard ask as I had set up a task for the majority of them. I tried to group them on a whiteboard. It took a while for me to relearn how to work with a pen but I got there eventually. In the end they fell nicely into four boxes and being a visual person I went down to the print department in Tanfield and grabbed four cardboard boxes.
In the first box I put anything to do with culture change. This is a big issue for me and something that takes a lot of effort. Culture is something that everyone knows about but no one can put their finger on. Culture is something you feel rather than measure and it is very difficult to guarantee a return on investment. Inside the box I placed new ways of working, customer relationship management, business support and the optimisation programme which has been stuttering along with for years.
The second box was labelled creativity and opportunity. Our work covers such a wide variety of customers and markets that are filled with opportunity. We just need to be more creative in identifying them and coming up with solutions to meet the need. The box contained the need to mix up our people (or guerrilla working), self-organised work environment, big data and the opportunities that regional collaboration could (will?) offer.
Regional development was a box on its own. I put in my work with Dynamo, the North East ICT Managers group, the apprentice hub, Smart Stanley, the North East Combined Authority and of course Digital Durham.
The final box I set aside for personal development. This is the box that most people leave empty yet is the most important. If I won’t invest in myself then who will? I dropped in Thinking Digital, my blog, the mentoring programme and of course the book I have been writing.
So there it goes. Four boxes with fourteen things inside that define what is most important to me. I’m going to be less of a magpie and more of a moth that is drawn to four flames.