Last month I wrote about a sense of change and March feels like it has continued in the same vein.

Sunrise over Bishopsbourne, March 2021
Sunrise over Bishopsbourne, March 2021

The continuing success of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the UK, the return of face-to-face education and more recent easing of lockdown measures have all contributed to a clearer direction of travel as the UK approaches the post-pandemic era.

At work this has meant greater time spent on thinking about the transition to new working practices and avoiding a reflexive snap back to pre-pandemic ways of working.

There are still many unknowns about how work will evolve this year, so taking an iterative and learning approach feels sensible. It’ll allow us to prototype different approaches to workstyles, on-site working with clients and new types of physical space needed for face-to-face working.

I’ve spent some time this month working on a new value proposition as well. This is an exciting piece of work as it’s a key part of shaping the next phase in the growth of a business. I’m also enjoying the intellectual challenge of the strategic thinking needed on this project. It’s been a joy to manage to block out a few hours without video calls to really think this through and collaborate with colleagues closely.

This month has also been about planning the implementation of the group operating model work I led earlier in the year. I’ve been focussing on how we can implement the model through an iterative change process.

We’re moving at pace while recognising ambiguities and uncertainties at this stage in our detailed understanding of some aspects of the model. The trick is to work out what “just enough, just in time” understanding is to allow us to move forward, alongside acknowledging we are testing and learning on the journey.

As today is also the last day of our financial year at The Panoply, we’ve also been reflecting on how far we’ve come in the past year as a business. Our share price is almost 270p, up more than 400% on the closing price a year ago. Earlier this month we announced another major acquisition and our expectations for revenue and EBITDA for this financial year.

The pace of change in the business has been remarkable during the past 12 months, even more so when considering the wider context in which this has happened.

There’s also probably ground to make up over the next few months in building deeper working relationships, especially among many colleagues who’ve never met in person.

We’re thinking hard about how to provide contexts and situations to allow this to happen, without resorting to artificial or contrived team activities. These emerging relationships will underpin the next stage of our maturing as a larger and progressive business.

The improving weather this month has meant I’ve got into a better routine of exercising before work each day. Having recently read a fascinating research-based book about the science of habits, I’ve put some of the things I learnt from the book into action to help get into the habit of exercising most days, something I’ve not managed to do consistently before.

It was also good to get out on my road bike for a 100km ride mid-month – this is the longest I’ve ridden for almost a year and I really enjoyed the freedom and space that comes with a longer road ride.

I’m looking forward to a few days off over the Easter break, spending some time at home with my family and away from the laptop. Having only taken a couple of days off since Christmas, it feels like time to recharge a bit before tackling some of the fascinating challenges that I can see will need solving soon to help us achieve our ambitions at The Panoply.

I can be certain that if we achieve as much in the next year as we have in the past year, we’ll all be able to look back with a real sense of accomplishment and pride once again at the impact we’ve had.