Having lived by the annual P&L account for so long now, the end of the financial year has always felt like a time to mentally close down the current financial year, take stock for just a moment and then launch into a new reporting period and chase a new set of numbers.
This year’s no different, but on top of that I’m looking back on a period of change unlike any other in my career.
It’s 323 days since we held the first planning session where we looked at how we could integrate the then six companies that made up The Panoply into a single rebranded and radically different professional services business.
A lot’s happened since then. A lot of progress, learning and hard work from people throughout the business – and tomorrow this phase of change comes to an end as we say goodbye to the Manifesto, Nudge, Deeson, FutureGov, Difrent, Foundry4 and Panoply brands.
It’s been a change project like no other I’ve been involved with.
We’ve launched a new name, a new brand, two iterations of a website, a new employee experience proposition, benefits package and contract, a single organisational structure, published a book, transferred hundreds of team members into a single business and implemented new finance, HR, recruitment, payroll and CRM systems.
It’s been hard and I’ve learnt a lot fast. I’ve certainly made mistakes and errors of judgement along the way. But I’ve also been careful to bear in mind that decisions are contextual – and so sometimes what was right in the context then, might appear not right now because the context has moved on. Hindsight bias is definitely a thing.
Outside of work I’ve particularly enjoyed reading a book about professional generalists – challenging the predominant professional narrative that deep specialist skills are more valuable than a wider but less deep skillset.
“Range: How Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein provides a compelling case for how there’s real value in being able to draw upon a diverse range of professional experience.
As someone that’s worked across multiple sectors and professional disciplines, it really resonated and helped me think more about where and why I can add value in an organisation.
Fitness-wise it’s been a month of two halves. In the first two weeks I really stepped up the mileage, managing a 14 mile run in my training for the 50 mile ultra in September. The past couple of weeks have been super busy at work and my motivation for fitness has really suffered. I really need to get back on track in April.
I listen to music and podcasts while I work and exercise. That’s a lot of hours each month.
On the music front, my favourite mix this month has been Carl Cox’s 2018 disco set at Burning Man. His longevity, versatility and skill as a DJ is remarkable. I still have a digitised version of the first Carl Cox mixtape I had back in 1993.
A close second was his b2b set with Fatboy Slim at the Saatchi Gallery in 2019, but the quality of the mix on the Burning Man set pipped it for me.
My fave podcast episode this month was Leadermorphosis. Hosted by the immensely knowledgeable Lisa Gill, I particularly enjoyed this discussion about the critiques and possibilities of distributed autonomous organisations (DAOs). There were some fascinating insights into governance and the extent of governance that has to exist to provide enough boundaries and scaffolding for self-organisation, while not stifling the autonomy these kinds of organisations intend to enable.