I confused the date for this post and wrote 2010; I’m really not sure what was going on in my mind. The week ahead is an important one with a lot of significant meetings, and then I have a week off. Maybe it’s that.

Mountview, South London

Strategic shift

A little while ago, my colleague Laura wrote about getting ready for Restart (the significant, government-commissioned employability contracts) and working towards being part of some of the London-based supply chains. When the news was announced a few weeks ago, none of the prime contractors that we were in supply chains for were successful, so for the first time in a long time, we were not in the government-led employability space.

As with any loss, it’s disappointing – the team had put a lot of work into those bids and the associated financial and risk planning – it also challenged a financial building block of our social enterprise. But it creates an opportunity to. There was lots not to like about the target assumptions in those contracts, and what those targets do to teams and the people you are trying to support. There was also a risk that we would imbalance a company that we are trying to build in balance, learning between different skillsets, approaches to social change, backgrounds and perspectives.

Myself and my colleagues at SMT have been working very hard since that news to build a new plan, shifting the financial model of that part of our work, and thinking about what we want for the future. We are taking that plan to our board this week (and so last week was all about writing papers). There is lots of hard work ahead, and the usual slug of risks that need managing, but I do wonder whether we’ll look back and see that loss of Restart as the spur it took for us to be braver about the kind of work we really wanted to do. To push us closer towards the strategic aspirations of the business, and to be less constrained by somebody else’s contracts.

Time will tell.

Catch ups

I caught up with quite a few people, both inside and outside of Renaisi, this week.

I was struck by just how many brought stories of significant  challenges, whether professional, personal or something in-between.

Even for those that have been lucky enough to avoid the major health and economic consequences of covid, this year has been brutal to business models, to teenagers, to relationships, to people’s sense of themselves and what matters to them, and to so many things that we haven’t yet given much thought to. I am delighted that things seem to be improving on the pandemic front in the UK, am looking forward to being in the pub more, and am personally of the view that things will return to something approaching normal gradually, and then suddenly. But the impact of all of this, will be with us for years and years.

Reading, listening and watching

Nothing (unless board reports count) but I went to see my family in Merseyside for the first time since August, which was pretty good!

John Hitchin CEO