It’s an old cliché that every day in consulting is different, and my ‘typical day’ is now quite different from what it would have been before the pandemic. 2020 made me re-evaluate how I use my time and, like many others, I continue to explore different ways of organising my day.
What remains constant is the enjoyment of managing a broad range of work and the inspiration I get from the people I get to work with, both within IMPOWER and through clients. Everything we do is genuinely improving lives and I am learning something new every day, both of which continue to keep me engaged.
6:30am (if I’m lucky) – the radio comes on and my six-year-old daughter comes in to remind me it’s time to get up.
7am – I savour my first cup of coffee (a large cafetiere of Monmouth – there is no substitute), while I check my calendar about what’s coming up during the day. I’m working with a London borough on their Covid response and helping them to define their future operating model to ‘build back better’.
8:30am – I walk my daughter to school. On the way home, I call my project director to check in and agree priorities for the day.
9am – I review my to-do list and consider how best to tackle some of the big issues: What prep is needed? What next steps are needed to make progress? How can I best support others in the team?
9:30am – a quick daily check in with the team, starting with asking about wellbeing. I’m fanatical about keeping all of us mentally and physically healthy so we can keep enjoying the work and have fun while we do it.
10am – a check in with the client. What are they worried about and how can we help? Who can I link them up with? What else has IMPOWER done which could help solve their complex problems? I’m always thinking about how we demonstrate impact through our work and how we can help the client build a more resilient organisation.
11am – review meeting for an upcoming workshop. The team and I spend time thinking about how we can use IMPOWER’s EDGEWORK approach to help raise the client’s ambition. I want everyone to play a part so we talk through who will lead on which agenda items.
Noon – I have a one-to-one with a senior client director. I’m keen to know what success would look like for them as a system leader: what can we do to ensure our work helps them to navigate the complex systems they work within?
1pm – lunch time. I grab a sandwich and then go for a walk around the block to get some fresh air.
2pm – I facilitate a breakout session for our programme board on how we can apply behavioural science to our work; the board members are excited about developing some ‘nudge’ effects.
3pm – I’m leading part of the implementation of a new finance and planning system for IMPOWER. I check in with the project team and show them some training videos I’ve recorded. We all agree I shouldn’t change career to become a voiceover artist.
4pm – After reflecting on some of the work we’ve done with a client, I check in with colleagues about how we could use technology to enhance our proposition. We agree to organise some time to brainstorm our route to market and pitch the idea to one of our Directors.
5pm – As a performance manager, I have a virtual cup of tea with my direct report to make sure everything is going ok. IMPOWER is growing, so we also discuss how to help our new joiners get settled.
6pm – I can hear it all kicking off upstairs, so I head up to help my wife with bath time and manhandling the kids into their pyjamas. With a son who has additional needs, I settle down to some reading and teach some Makaton. He perfects his moo sound while making the sign for ‘cow’.
7pm – once the house is quiet, I head out for a run over the South Downs. This is the only new year’s resolution I’ve ever kept for more than three days. I get home and celebrate not having a heart attack.
8pm – after having dinner with my wife and breaking the ‘no wine during the week’ rule, I take a look back over my to-do list and make some notes for tomorrow; the simple action of writing down my thoughts and tasks helps me clear my mind and sleep better until one of my children decides it’s time for me to wake up again.