Weeknotes S02E16 — I love a template

Black and white image of a post-it with ‘JG loves templates 4eva’ written in black marker pen

Line management, inductions & onboarding

Another week, another new starter! This week we welcomed Paula to the team, who will be Delivery Manager for our Security & Infrastructure team. (There’s still time to apply for our Infrastructure Service Manager role until Monday 5 July, if this sounds like your bag!)

I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Paula over our daily check-ins this week and we’ve had some great conversations on feedback loops, the diversity of our portfolio of teams and work across Design, Data and Technology and I found out a little bit about what it means to be a School Governor!

I did a Month One Retro with Bobak, our other new starter, using a Liked, Learned, Lacked, Loathed and Longed For format.

There were a few logistical bits on getting set up on some of our systems which wasn’t as seamless as we might hope but it was good to hear that things like daily check-ins during week one, being set up with a buddy, and having the time and space to learn and make connections on his own were all winners for Bobak!

We’re also looking at the structure of the delivery team (which both Matt and I have mentioned in previous weeknotes), which will see some shuffling of line management, so I am working on a Line Management Handover Template (I love a template — sue me) for us as team, to make sure we have a comprehensive checklist of things to do and think about.

So far, I’ve included:

  • Logistics — HR systems, pre-handover date meetings between managers and direct reports)
  • Getting to know each other — creating user manuals and line manager manuals
  • 1–2–1 formats — duration, video calls vs. phone calls vs. face-to-face, agenda or no agenda, visual aids like a Jamboard, Trello or document to talk through
  • Accessibility, inclusion and wellbeing — time and space upfront to discuss any specific needs your new direct report has for ways of working, meetings, wellbeing, mental health etc.
  • Personal Development Review — ensuring a handover of all materials relating to the direct reports PDR.
  • Feedback loops / creating a culture of feedback — e.g. short surveys, temperature checks, retros, forms, Jamboards. 360 forms etc., with key colleagues, peers and stakeholders.

I’m sure there’s more to include but that’s my starter for 10!

I also met with one of my direct reports who is on maternity leave as part of her Keeping in Touch plan. It reminded me of the fab plan she put together, which I’ve shared as a template on our intranet internally and I’m sharing here in case it’s useful for anyone else!

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI) Action Learning Set

I acted as the Action Learning Set Lead for one of our cohorts on Wednesday and I was very nervous about ensuring I did a good job.

But we had a great session on a particular challenge someone was facing and then because it was a smaller group than anticipated, we used the rest of the time to reflect on what we had learned so far through the mix of online modules, reading materials, library of podcasts and videos and webinars with experts. It was a really lovely group and confirmed for me again how important it is to have the space and time for safe conversations and exploration of EDI topics.

I also shared a personal example of not having called out a problematic remark made at a BBQ I went to a few weeks back. I’ve reflected a few times on what I could or should have done differently and the group helped me shape that thinking. The conversation also reminded me of this Instagram post on addressing microaggressions and other discrimination in real time, which has a variety of helpful approaches you can use.

Design, Data & technology (DDaT) Leads meeting

We’ve opened up the fortnightly Leads meeting we’ve had for a while to include all Leads (or equivalent roles) across the Customer Journey, Technology, Data and Impact teams.

It was a small group but it was great to learn a bit more about each other’s roles and work.

We’ve set up a Slack channel and a rota for facilitation and we intend to use this space to:

  • Check in (how are we doing, successes and challenges from the last two weeks)
  • Understanding each other’s roles and work more
  • Identifying how we can collaborate and support each other
  • Look at risks, dependencies, blockers between teams
  • Sharing best practice on common areas of work like line management, inductions and onboarding, personal development reviews
  • Do a ‘deep dive’ on projects or tasks each of us is working on

Coaching

I attended a fab webinar on Building Your Coaching Practice, run by the MOE Foundation who I got my certification with. It was SUCH a great session and the speaker Hillary McLennan was so warm, open and funny about her journey. She’s been working on this super cool virtual reality coaching offer, which uses 360° immersive nature videos synchronised with six-minute audio recordings, curated by a clinical psychologist and an organisational behaviourist, to have a positive impact on mood, energy, innovation, creativity and problem-solving.

I was also thrilled to receive this feedback via Matt (my line manager) from my current coachee:

“I’m finding her such a helpful, clear, supportive coach. She’s an absolute natural. I’ve only had three sessions with her but already feel I’m making huge, huge gains. She must be a lovely person to have in your team.”

Launderettes, penknives, creative writing and other stuff…

Black and white photo of the author’s haircut, which is shaved on the side and long on top. They are wearing glasses and have two silver hoop earrings on.

I’m seeing my aunt, uncle and cousins this weekend for the first time in well over a year! I also need to order some camping gear ready for the Cambridge Comedy Festival next weekend. And I am overdue another homemade haircut, as my mop has started to take on the look of a fuzzy microphone, so the clippers will be coming out tonight.

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