#3 Week Notes – week beginning 14th October
A week where I’ve started to feel like I’m getting my workload back under control and more manageable around my priorities at some points, and like I am completely not managing the variety of things I’m doing at others. It is all an ongoing challenge of decision making and prioritisation.
Executive team capacity
Very much linked to that feeling was a long session on Monday with the other executive director at Renaisi, Michael (our third exec director, Laura, is on maternity leave and we were delighted to learn that her little boy arrived over the weekend. Huge congratulations, LB).
Between us, and in Laura’s absence, we are trying to manage a lot. We’re still working out how to fit that all together and how to ensure that we cover things and stay sane. We also need to think about what other capacity we need. What I am constantly grateful for is the opportunity to work closely with people I trust. Michael and I have worked together for a long time now, and the trust that we have built up over that time means a great deal to me, and gives me confidence in our collective ability.
Data in Hackney
I met with Matthew Cain at Hackney Council this week, after being intrigued by some of their evolving work on poverty data in the borough. His team are doing a lot of interesting work on both the data and the digital/ design side of things in the Council, and I’m keen to loop that into our work with the anchors.
Meeting new non-execs and board papers
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that we had been interviewing new board members. Well I met with two ‘pending’ new non-execs this week to induct them in the business. I’m really excited by the skills and capacity that they will bring to our team, but can’t name them just yet as they need to be formally approved at our next meeting.
Speaking of which, that next meeting is our AGM, and so I have a load of papers to prepare. I have dramatically reduced the amount of paper work we create for board meetings over the last two years, with a great focus on sending them data that we use systemically within the organisation, but there is always the inevitable task of writing papers to some degree. I often reflect on the information asymmetry between executive and non-executive directors, and so there is a balance between not creating work for the sake of it, and ensure that non-executives can be informed to take good decisions and get involved in a healthy debate. I think the quality of debate is great at our board now, but there is always more to do.
What works for disadvantaged places
I attended the launch of some work from the What Works Centre on disadvantaged places on Wednesday. I have lots of views about the discussion as it brings together my two main work interests – evidence and place. I’m going to write something more considered, but my Twitter thread from the day might be of interest.
Kicking off a new project
I had a kick off call with a project that we have just won. We can’t talk about it yet, hopefully in the next week or so, but I’m so excited about it. I love this phase of any project, when there is so much excitement about potential and everybody is full of ideas
As well as thinking about our board, I also had a chat with the CEO of the board that I sit on. I’m a trustee at Young Women’s Trust, and was involved in the recruitment of Sophie Walker. She’s only been with us for a few weeks, but it’s really exciting to see what she’s up to already. I’m not sure if being a CEO in the social sector makes me a better trustee or not, but it definitely makes me more empathetic to the challenges that charity CEOs face.
Reading, listening and watching
I watched the first episode of the new adaption of the Name of the Rose on the BBC. I loved the book when I first read it – it opened up Italian literature for me – but admit to finding the episode a little overly complicated. I’m going to persist with it.
I saw that one of our clients, Power to Change, has updated their hypotheses. I really admire this approach, so I’m glad to see they’re evolving how they use them.
I thought this in the New York Times about community wealth building was great.
I’m on holiday for much of next week, so may not do week notes.