I can’t quite believe we’re into the seventh week of this. Time is feeling like Nietzsche said: eternal recurrence. Or as Rutin in True Detective said: time is a flat circle.


One thing that broke up the recurrence was my birthday. My partner, my eldest daughter, and I have all had our birthdays during the lockdown. It was sad for my four-year-old not to see her friends and family, but for us, it was quite nice. We made much more of our birthdays than we normally would have, and it gave a different structure to the week. Plus there was lots of cake and drinking pink fizz in the day.

New business development plans

I’ve been thinking in terms of the phases of this moment. I used three mental buckets to start with for the team – crisis response and safety, then adapting the old to the new environments, then new work and challenges for the new times. That still holds, but we’re starting to stretch that out into what does reset, response and new normal look like for us as a business? We have to think about everything, from our offices to personal development, and business development in this way.

My job feels very much about helping people see our work in the mid-distance at the moment. Not stuck in the challenges of the day in front of us, and not idling about a new world that is unknown, but building plans for the medium term. That is something we can work towards.


I have a good coach. I haven’t spoken to her for a while, and so it was nice to catch up this week. It was a conversation about what my job really is right now. And how I need to create time for that. I am constantly reminded of the phrase, ‘only do what only you can do’. That’s never possible in reality in the social sector, but it’s worth aiming for. Leadership feels funny at the moment. It’s much more about communication, narrative, knowing when to use positional authority and then business development than before. As I write that, I’m not sure that’s true at all. I think that perhaps I am just noticing it all so much more right now.

Reading, listening and watching

I have been watching an episode of Normal People each night with my partner. With two young children, that’s about as much TV as we manage together at the end of the day. I really enjoyed the book, but am completely loving the programme. The two leads are so compelling and believable, and the direction and music are wonderful (one episode ended with an Elliott Smith song, the next with Only You from Yazoo – what’s not to like?!). It’s a complete pleasure to watch.

John Hitchin Renaisi CEO