As my reminder for monthnotes popped up today, my instant reaction was “how was that a month?”.
I’ve stuck to the discipline of reflecting at the end of each calendar month for the past two years and it’s become part of the cadence of my working life to look back regularly.
After a slightly disjointed August at work with lots of people being on holiday, it’s felt like the pace of change in September has really picked up and that momentum is likely to continue for a while yet.
With the last few months of my working life (and many of my non-working hours too) thinking about some big strategic challenges, it feels like a lot has become more tangible this month.
Earlier in the summer at The Panoply we announced our intention to bring the many businesses across the group together into a single integrated organisation working under a single new brand.
That means a complex change programme spanning just about every aspect of our work to think through and get underway. And we’re completely focussed on making those changes while delivering a consistent experience for our clients, whichever business they happen to be clients of.
I’ve spent a lot of time working with colleagues on organisational design. The challenge of bringing together multiple businesses to create a new progressive organisation is a fascinating one. It’s one that we’re managing iteratively, trying to break down change into the smallest units of change possible, while also recognising that organisation change isn’t software development.
While a user story in software development can typically always be broken down into a more granular unit, that’s not always the case in organisational change. We acknowledge that we won’t get everything right first time and have established some clear change principles that strongly echo themes like testing and learning, co-creation, prototyping and user centricity.
I’ve also grappled with the challenges of expressing a vision for how the merged organisation will be progressive in nature, avoiding the pitfalls of growth that tend to accumulate with scale. We strongly believe in maximising autonomy for people working in the organisation, while also recognising that autonomy can only be paired with equivalent responsibility.
I know from our early work at Deeson that this principle is sound. The fascinating puzzle now is how to operationalise it at scale, enabling the pace and agility that autonomy brings – ultimately leading to a sustainable competitive advantage – but without responsibility bringing bureaucracy and unnecessarily stifling processes.
Last week we launched the name for the new organisation – TPXimpact – marking the start of a five month brand migration as we retire each of our company brands. A few weeks back I spotted this article on the BBC News website and it captured many of the challenges that have faced the cross-business team that’s been working on developing the new name and identity.
As a marketer at heart I know that naming is just a small part of branding and that brands develop and evolve over time. We have a great starting point with a clear brand strategy in place and over the next year the brand will grow in profile, extending as the business grows and as it becomes a day-to-day tool for our marketing and new business teams.
I’ve spent a day or two per week working back in London this month too. I’ve seen London go from pretty quiet early in September back to something approaching what seemed like the old normal today, at least around London Bridge and St Pancras.
At home it’s also felt like a month where things have snapped back to something like the old normality. With the school holidays over and school “bubbles” a thing of the past, there is a real sense of a new normal. Clubs and activities are back and so family logistical planning with the shared Google calendar is back in force!
For us this has also been tinged with a feeling of change approaching with our elder son entering his final year at school, applying for university, planning a gap year, getting his first part-time job and booking his driving test in the space of a few weeks.
We’ve also been lucky enough to enjoy some time out and about this month too, with the highlight being a long overdue birthday meal for my wife at The Sportsman in Seasalter last week. This was originally booked for early last year but was repeatedly delayed during lockdown. It was lovely to spend the evening out together and enjoy some great food as well.