Weeknotes #1

I have been meaning to start weeknoting for a while. What moved me to action was a discussion, whilst at a Leadership Away Day this week with colleagues from Sport Wales in the beautiful Elan Valley, about authentic leadership, and the value and importance of relationships and integrity. Through all of this, working transparently was mentioned and that got me thinking about weeknoting.

I really like the concept of working openly, reflecting publicly, providing a mechanism for sharing, learning, to have dialogue with others, and quite frankly, not feel like you’re on your own with stuff. So, here I am!

It’s been all change for me this week. I have returned to Sport Wales from my 17-month secondment to the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales. I will be continuing my work embedding and building capacity around the Well-being of Future Generations Act within the sport sector, and to take the knowledge and networks that I have developed whilst in the Office and apply those to the strategic and policy context within which Sport Wales operates.

And my first day back was spent in the Elan Valley. Not bad, hey? There is nothing like green space, fresh air and indeed, a bit of sunshine to aid your thinking and reflection. I don’t think I could have asked for a better reintroduction into Sport Wales; individual and collective reflection on the development of the new strategy, and discussion about its implementation, particularly on how we are going to do this.


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What specifically landed with me, in both the Elan Valley and later that week back in Sport Wales National Centre, was how welcoming and supportive everyone was. They had a genuine interest in me as a person and what and how I can contribute. Relationships are absolutely critical in enabling a thriving environment and I am lucky that I work with really good people, who care, at both a professional, and perhaps more importantly, a personal level.

EAS InductionI also started my new voluntary Non-Executive Director role at the EAS, the education improvement service for South East Wales. I was so grateful to the Executive team for providing a really thorough induction on Wednesday and for creating an open and questioning environment. It helped enormously to develop my understanding of the service, the Company, its future direction, and how I can add value. As a result, I felt much better equipped at my first Company Board meeting on Thursday. I have a passion for education, and I am really looking forward to playing my part in transforming pupil outcomes, creating capacity through networks, and enabling excellence in teaching and leadership across the region.

Through my time working in the public sector in Wales, I have met some brilliant  people. One of which is Rebecca David-Knight. I met Rebecca several years ago when we were both invited by Ena Lloyd to co-produce a Good Practice Exchange shared learning seminar on the future of governance and effective decision-making. Anyway, I have recently been contemplating undertaking a leadership and governance qualification to consolidate my professional experience, so I asked Rebecca for some advice. She recommended that I speak with Catherine Farrell who is an academic working in Cardiff Business School. I met with Catherine this week. She was lovely, incredibly knowledgeable, very open, and so giving of her time and advice.

On a similar note… in response to a tweet about my interest in the EAS’ models for developing collaborative leadership capacity, Gareth Evans (who I have only met in Twittersphere) responded offering to share information and papers on adaptive space and complexity leadership. How fab is that? That’s what’s great about Twitter; enabling virtual networking, learning, sharing and developing each other’s knowledge and understanding. Gareth didn’t have to respond and share stuff, but he did, and I really appreciate his thoughtfulness and willingness to feed forward.

Things I have learnt and/or reaffirmed this week:

Quality relationships are key to leadership

What I am committing to do:

Ask more open questions

Podcasts that I have listened to:

Reasons to be Cheerful – Electric Dreams: the end of the petrol and diesel vehicle

Cheerful Book Club – Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race, by Reni Eddo-Lodge

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day – Fleabag is back

How to Fail with Elizabeth Day – Mishal Husain

Fortunately with Fi and Jane – Marking our 100th episode with Ken Bruce

Audibles that I am listening to:

Mishal Husain, The Skills: from first job to dream job

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