The month that felt like it was never going to end, has finally ended. I head into February with a chunky workload, but the optimism of spring and a (so far) very successful vaccine roll-out in the air.

bars, Grafitti, Sunshin

I am trying to hold the cognitive dissonance of that optimism with the shocking average daily death numbers for the month from COVID. I must admit to looking more at the optimism for my own sanity.

Difficult conversations

I had four pretty difficult conversations this week. Each was very different, some were closer to Renaisi and others were much further away. One was even part of a group, and was difficult in terms of the topic rather than any type of conflict or disagreement. I am not somebody who seeks or encourages conflict. I sometimes hide it away a bit more than is probably healthy, but something was obviously in the air this week. Perhaps it was the above cognitive dissonance.

I didn’t regret any of the conversations, but they all had quite a big impact on me, and knocked how I thought about what I was doing and why. One really unblocked something that wasn’t being said, and another felt like the first round in establishing better communication. The most interesting conversation was perhaps the group one, where some really raw feelings were expressed about roles and the interaction between the personal and the professional. It was reminder of how much of ourselves we bring to work.

I was struck by how big emotions are so important to acknowledge if they have the right place to be expressed, but the wrong place can cause a lot of damage. They didn’t cause damage this week, but I can see how they could have. I was also reminded that even though difficult conversations can be hard, they are miles better than passive aggression.

Community of practice

We had the second session for our community of practice for place-based systemic change. It was a privilege to listen to and be a part of, and I’m really looking forward to sharing ideas from it. We have started this because it builds from work we did last year, but without a clear plan for funding or resourcing it into the longer term, other than, ‘this feels important and necessary, so let’s do it’.

I wouldn’t be a very good social enterprise leader if I wasn’t thinking about the business model, but this still feels really necessary, so we’re going to keep doing it while we talk to people about the future.

We’ll share some learning from the session soon. In the meant time, if you’d like to find out more, get in touch.

John Hitchin Renaisi CEO

Reading, listening and watching

This blog post about emotions from Julia Unwin is really excellent. I am absolutely convinced that as a society we will look back on the choices of the last year with very different eyes when we have more of an understanding of the longer term impact of things like lockdown. That doesn’t mean that I think that the choices made are the wrong ones, just that we will judge them very differently in future. Grief is a part of that. It’s going to be a complex narrative to hold, and I worry that it could pull our society further apart. We are in need of much more confident and long-term leadership than I can currently see.

I love the jeans brand, Hiut Denim, and their mantra Do One Thing Well. I aspire to that level of clarity. This tweet feels like it’s speaking to me:

Progress is deciding what not to do, @visualizevalue

I’ve been reading Tracy K Smith this week. Declaration, a beautiful work created through deletion, is a particular favourite.