WeekNote18 — Engagement

I joined: A colleague as part of the early engagement process of moving a paper based tool in to an online process. It is a tool which helps individuals and teams evaluate their knowledge and understanding of core themes linked to the work they do to run, manage and support research. It was good being at the start of something for the first time in a long time.

I spent: A huge chunk of my week at a conference.

Hoisted by my own lanyard

I made: The mistake of not really going in to the conference with an agenda. Sure there was an app where I got to select the talks and presentations I wanted to listen to, and there was a list of suppliers that would be in attendance, but I lacked a clearly defined focus; intentionally, I thought. My approach was just too wishy washy. I just wanted to learn, to absorb. It wasn’t succinct enough. I came away thinking I hadn’t really got as much as I could out of the event, but wasn’t sure what was needed to make a real difference. Sure I went to a lot of talks and spoke to a number of people, but they were pleasantries rather than rock solid conversations. And yes, I learnt a lot about Digital Tribes and Design which made me think about things I am working on in a different way, but a bit more focus might have helped squeeze a little more out of the event — rather than a general “I no longer want to feel like I am on the outside of the NHS, and really want to listen to folk in the jobs I am working towards to see what keeps them awake at night”. Something to think about when the next invitation lands. Or maybe it was just the wrong event?

I really: Am a crap networker.

I found: It quite interesting how some of the speakers and presenters were treated at the event. At one point a host of a room even referred to a group of presenters due up on stage as the “rock and roll royalty of healthcare”. I am convinced it was said with more than just a little tongue in cheek, but then as the day moved on, you could sense there were a few in the “crowd” almost hanging off the every word certain individuals were saying. Even people I know IRL.

I need: To remember to bow next time.

I really: Enjoyed the sessions with the support acts (massivesmileywinkface). Matt Edgar and Dominic Cushnan reaffirmed my thinking in their areas of transformational change and design and, in many ways, pushed me to consider how I can get more involved in both, either at my current place or shadowing in the wider Department of Health and Social Care family.

I went: Back over something I have been thinking about for a while, as the presenter Caitlin Walker talked about finding your right position in a team. Caitlin discussed how it is a positive thing to find your fit and it doesn’t always have to be number one. I have often thought I make a very good number two — not because I don’t want to progress, more so because I don’t want to lose touch with the teams I work with. Having listened to Caitlin talk and watch the clear Number Ones in the room across the two days, it made me realise that understanding your position in a team or organisation does not have to be set in stone — nor just because I am something today, means I have to be something else in my next role.

Am I a very good Number Two for now?

I want: To know more about Nick Adkins. A big thing about my growing understanding of working in healthcare is the difference people are trying to make. Nick heads up the #pinksocks movement, where through the simple act of gifting a pair of socks to someone you don’t know can make a difference to how you are with the people around you. Through his way of engaging with folk at conferences and being a focal point for a great deal of positivity, it really does mean he is quite the individual in a body of people. He definitely made me consider how I interact with folk, especially those I don’t know — and all I saw was about five minutes of him on video. Here is a Ted talk he did that explains why he is doing the things he does:

I had: Another one of those hospital visits that fills me with frustration. As someone with a long term medical condition — read: for life — I head along and hope there will be answers, but usually you just end up with a slip to hand in to a receptionist to book another appointment. This time I had an x-ray. I have a degenerative knee condition and arthritis, but both are “manageable” — which means they won’t be, but we don’t have any clue on the timeframes just yet. So I take tablets, I keep active and I will report back in 12 months to see if anything has changed.

I joined: A book club of sorts through a Whatsapp group I am in. We are reading The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath. I am enjoying it thus far and will endeavour to have more moments in my life.

I hired: A car to go to another event next week. What is it with car hire companies and white cars?