Monthnotes – November 2020

Monthnotes – November 2020

The cyclical nature of lockdown life seems to give days and weeks a strange timelessness. Hours, days, weeks and months feel like they’re whizzing by in a blur of Zoom calls, home grocery shopping and the daily rollercoaster of Covid-19 news.

This month has been no exception, yet while it feels like it has gone by in a flash, when I look back at what’s gone on in the past month, a lot has happened.

On the work front at The Panoply we published a very healthy set of interim results covering the six months to the end of September. I’ve continued to learn a lot about the work of many of our companies and have had the pleasure of collaborating with some new colleagues from across the group.

We’ve spent time thinking about work might look like in 2021 and beyond. The likely shift towards a more blended distributed/on-site collaborative working style is a strong driver for a project I’m leading to bring together our various London offices into a single location in mid-2021 that’s fit for the way we expect our teams to be using office space next year.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to participate in a panel session at this year’s Silicon Valley Comes to the UK Digital Summit (SVC2UK). It was really interested to talk about our experiences at rapid scaling through acquisition and organic growth, as well as doing some start-up coaching with a few of the participating start-up businesses. It’s been a while since I did any public speaking and events – I’d forgotten how much satisfaction I get from this kind of experience.

With work being so busy and the days getting shorter, I have to admit I’ve let my fitness slip a bit this month. My cycling and running stats are well down for the month, although I’ve enjoyed exploring new areas on my regular dog walks. I’ve also started combining work phone calls with walks where possible to break up the video calls. A noise cancelling headset seems to be a must for this to work, especially on the more windy days!

It was also good this month to receive a review copy of Brent Lowe‘s new book – “Lead Together: The Bold, Brave, Intentional Path to Scaling Your Business“. I read Brent’s first book a few years back so was delighted when he got in touch last year to interview me about our experience of developing a progressive organisation at Deeson. I had a long and fascinating conversation with Brent about the way we transformed the business, what had worked and where we’d learnt some hard lessons along the way.

The book is a great read, combining new insights and case studies of progressive management with practical techniques. It avoids many of the cliches of self-organisation texts and goes beyond the oft repeated case studies to examine what leadership really means in a progressive organisation. There are plenty of ideas that I plan to trial in my work at The Panoply in 2021. I’ll share a full review when I get time to write one properly.

With only three or so working weeks left before a Christmas break like no other, there’s plenty to get done. I used to head to London three or four times a week so it’s odd to be taking only my second trip there since February to look at potential office locations. It’ll be good to see some socially distanced colleagues face-to-face for the first time in months too.


I work with technology-centric businesses as an interim Chief Operating Officer (COO), consultant and advisor. I created the B3 framework® for scaling technology businesses and I write a newsletter called Build for leaders who are building brilliant companies.