Stardate S02E14

Mood: 😣. Soothing the ambivert in me as I’m on my own again for a month.

The crowd begins to gather at Buckingham Palace on Friday afternoon

🌹 What am I grateful for this week?

Sometimes it’s the simple things — having a great Donut chat with someone you haven’t seen in a while, a meet in the park, or an impromptu create-an-album challenge* prompted by a random image generator. My week felt rich with all those little points of connection. With venues starting to open up across the country again on Monday, hopefully we’ll be in store for a lot more in-person connections in the weeks ahead. I’ll definitely be needing it!

🍀 What surprised me this week?

We’ve been working from home for so long, I’ve forgotten the impact that your environment has on your productivity. I went into the office on Thursday and despite being slammed with meetings, I somehow felt like I got more done, and had more focus throughout the day. Was it just an illusion, or was it some sort of Pavlovian response rising up from my subconscious? 🤔

Desk chats are a welcome, but equally foreign distraction. It’s been forever since I’ve had a colleague “stop by” just to say hi — somehow we haven’t quite replicated that vibe on Slack. And to think, not too long ago we could socialize and still get plenty done each day? The wonders of multi-tasking!

🌵 What do I wish could have gone differently?

I had a few client deliverables on my plate for “later in the week” — I’m glad I gave myself the wiggle room of a flexible due date, as the short week got away from me in the beginning. Ended up taking me until Friday morning** to clear, when I had already booked a half day off.

On the one hand, I’m getting a bit better at setting and sticking to self-imposed deadlines, but on the other hand, I wonder if I worked through them in the most efficient way possible. Did I obsess over the finer details too much? Should I have asked for help sooner?

🔮 What do I still need to take care of?

We’re at the point where our leading indicators of success, brainstormed as part of our kickoff week sessions, should now be fully instrumented into a dashboard that updates in real time as they change. It’s hard to believe we’re already about to embark on week 4, but it’s a good reminder that our priority now needs to be about moving those metrics.

Will we be where we thought by the end of month one? Without clear evidence of product-market fit, they’ll serve as our best proxy that we’re moving in the right direction.

💡 What do I need to remember?

I got some really valuable feedback this week around my strengths and weaknesses, something I haven’t really gotten a top-down view on for a while. It’d be nice if knowing whether you’re doing well in a role was easy to measure externally, but getting to more senior ranks seems to make measures more subjective, as it’s more complex when your results also come from the results of others.

Highlights that I want to remember:

  • Being direct, and being vocal, rather than withholding
  • Perceptions matter — when troubleshooting it’s important to make the improvements visible, else old perceptions linger
  • Remembering my own position of influence in the organization — can I still be everyone’s friend?
  • Delegation still isn’t natural to me — but I need to get better at running accounts without doing the work

📚 What did I discover?

Our team viewing for Talent Compass this week, telling a really potent story about systemic inequality and the ‘subnormal’ education system. Unbelievable how quickly a young boy’s fate can change at the whim of the privileged school administrator — but then imagine this happening at scale.

Courtesy Nirish, here’s a conversation starter piece on why you can’t solely focus on your user. Teams have to work together effectively, and humanely, before that’s possible — so often the value of teaming gets overlooked in service of the end goals of the business.

Courtesy Xavier, a really friendly explanation of a complex topic that most folks take for granted. If you’ve ever wanted to know what goes on under the hood, cats and crabs can show you how. 😸

🏠 AOB

Mural off the Croydon High St

It was a bit surreal passing by the palace on Friday while making my way to Green Park. The crowds reminded me of the average tourist crowd you’d see on a regular weekday in the “before times” — still very much out of the ordinary these days. Well, that and the media vans, tents, and journalists hopping through the crowd trying to get a word in with Prince Philip’s well-wishers.

Sunday was a quieter affair. I’ve been studying for the Life in the UK test the past few weeks, and went down to Croydon to take it at a center there. Really glad to have it done and dusted — this prep site was a major help!

*I got a rather strange roll that you can’t unsee…

**Thankfully it was only a half an hour or so that morning, and Gmail’s scheduled send meant I could set it and forget it. I’m not sure why I’m fine doing that when I’m meant to be “off” yet I feel a bit odd about using Send It Later on Slack to send scheduled messages during the same time window? Must be the immediacy of chat — I wouldn’t be around to field the reply.

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Reflecting through #weeknotes. Learning what works.

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Sean K. Gabriel

Sean K. Gabriel

Kindness first. Lean product aficionado tweeting @skaulana, web @ kaulana.com. Finds you interesting. (づ。◕‿‿◕。)づ

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