Weeknote: S2, Ep10: The Ramadan edit including potholes, llamas and laying foundations
It’s great to see our year 2 priorities taking shape. This work has been led by Kit, Daniel and Lingjing. It’s going to be a busy year, but it feels like our focus will be on the right things. I spent a productive 30 minutes with Beth earlier this week planning our Delivery Manager team day. We’re taking our first pass at defining our vision, values and behaviours. I enjoyed co-facilitating a workshop with Dan, one of our Senior Product Managers, on Tuesday. I’ve not had a chance to work with Dan very much, I appreciated Dan’s quiet focus and thoughtful preparation. Together we were able to flex and pivot with zero fuss. He definitely gets my “no drama llama” award which I bestow on an entirely random and ad-hoc basis.
Ramadan starts this weekend. My understanding of Ramadan is thin, so I took a little bit of time to read about what this season means for Muslims. I learnt that it goes further than daylight fasting and prayer — it’s a time of deep empathy for others, particularly those for whom life is really tough. Empathy requires humility and courage, being grounded in your own identity and openness to experience the discomfort of seeing the world through different eyes. This is the most holy time of year in Islam. If we took the word holy out of its religious trappings, we might consider our work towards digital transformation as “holy”. We have “ceremonies” that help us to stop and reflect, to get better at what we do, and our practices help us to deeply connect with others. To be “holy” is to be changed.
I’m a novice cyclist. Wobbling around the roads of South West London is teaching me a lot. I keep a careful look out of lumpy bits of road, potholes, tree roots and fallen branches. If I look at obstacles directly I end up steering my bike right through the middle of said lumpy bit of road, if I look for the gap I’m much more successful at avoiding personal injury, and trashing my tyres. Blockers at work are much the same thing. Admiring a problem doesn’t solve it, but setting my focus on the outcome I’m seeking (a smooth piece of road) and how to reach it (avoiding the pothole) is a much better steering tactic.
“We didn’t want to bother you.” These words make me so sad. This is when I miss the drive-by conversations you get in the office — a quick chat or sense check, the nudge (I need a lot of those) and the kitchen “how are you?” conversation. With hybrid working the calendar is king — it’s so flippin’ binary. There’s time or no time. I’m free or I’m not. Arghhh!
I managed to have four meaningful conversations with people this week. Conversations that deepened my understanding of their work and them as individuals. I would like to be able to do more of this. I laid the foundations from some conversations ahead of next week. It felt good to get an inch ahead on this before Monday crashes around again.