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Weeknotes 30th July: who needs an agenda anyway?


CRUK reusable cups

I have decided to declare the excellent weather as the new normal which means that blogging needs to continue as planned and not be derailed by a desire to be outside – am compromising by writing in the garden.

This last week was all about away days as I had a whole day with my team and also a leadership away day with the technology senior leadership team. Lots of opportunities for reflection and so I have adopted the 10 quick things format which is is great for making sure that when you have loads going on in your head you at least get something down in writing. Here then are some of my reflections from the week:

  1. Team work needs work….however well intentioned on brilliant a group of people is you need to actually put the time in to work effectively as a team. And the intention matters – do you want to be amazing on your own or do you want to achieve even more as a group?
  2. I <heart> open space as a way of empowering a group of people to have the right conversations. We used it for one session at our team away day and we had 4 great sessions – we need to do more of that – it always makes me wonder why you bother with an agenda at all
  3. Agency – an individuals belief in their ability to have an effect – is so important and yet not explored enough when we talk about empowerment. Empowering people implies a fixed sum of power that is given and received – increase the agency of the individual and you exponentially increase the power in the whole group. I need to think more about how I make sure that everyone in the team has agency
  4. We really need to think about how we are using our time. The issue of time being wasted in meetings came up again and again and its something within our control. I’m therefore going to; make sure I know the purpose of all the meetings I am in, check we have all the right people there and turned up prepped and ready to make sure we get the value out of people being together.
  5. On a related note – let’s not let Microsoft decide how long our meetings are – I will try and opt for 25 and 45 mins as the default in the future
  6. You can’t make progress if you don’t deal with the persistent problems – however difficult they seem to be. But the flip side of that is that some of these problems are actually part of your operating conditions – so the question becomes how do you accept what you can’t change and make sure that you instead adapt to make them more manageable challenges?
  7. You can’t expect people to take any notice of you if you aren’t listening. But listening is not just about giving people airtime – its also about spending time understanding their frame of reference and where they are coming from. Deep listening is actually listening out for the stuff that goes on underneath the surface
  8. The science that sits at the heart of what we at CRUK are doing is fascinating, inspiring and when I hear about it never fails to make me feel incredibly lucky to be doing something I love in service of something so important
  9. In a world which is constantly changing how you do something is as important as what you do – because often the relationships and stories that you leave behind are more persistent than anything that you make
  10. The mindful diary plan needs to include time for reflection with other people as time for personal reflection
  11. Granary square is lovely spot to hang out in in the sun if only you can get over the fact that its not truly public space
  12. You always start with the intention of 10 points but once you start…..

On this last point – I’m going to be taking some time in August to try and tie a number of these thoughts together and build on other strands of thinking you will find in the blog here from over the last few years. I want to give myself some proper scaffolding for thinking so that I can be getting on with in parallel with the doing – living the action research dream!

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