Personal Development Plan – As at 20 Nov 19 Become more disciplined and effective Develop discipline as a habit Develop a routine for removing distractions (eg Phone away etc) Have a weekly plan and stick to it Improve on following processes & procedures Up to date on Leave recording Performance management cycle Conduct work pattern recording Stay current and relevant in technical and professional skills Grow my techical skills and experience Complete Python ML Bootcamp course Take a touch typing course Maintain Professional PR and Digital skills Complete CIPR CPD for the year Compete a course on User Research basics Be an intelligent customer for AI and ML Complete real-world data science exercises that improve my life Complete Python for Data Science learning Execute and understand a sample ML exercise Seek out opportunities and challenges and find a new role Grow my Network Social Media / LinkedIn / Defence Connect Cross Govt MOD Leadership Find a new job Update CV and expose it for feedback Set up jobs monitoring Complete Private sector applications – at least 50 Complete Public Sector applications – as many as possible Explore new opportunities Seek out a project delivery role at work Take on a corporate challenge / wider activity Become a senior leader, ready for SCS Gather and act upon feedback Gather feedback in one place FLS feedback Interview feedback Psychometric feedback Address weaknesses and shadows Identify shadows and make a plan to address them Develop Emotional Intelligence via training Develop Commercial Acumen through practice Develop SCS competences Develop new competence examples for SCS Review SCS behaviours and map to ‘how’ of my personal objective Develop leadership Practice Open Leadership Identify an SCS buddy / mentor Read: “why should anyone be led by you” Develop personal leadership statement and reflect in my objectives Keep learning and developing in a concerted way Deliver this Learning and Development plan Generate L&D plan Review the plan at fixed intervals (monthly) Maintain a log of completed activities Set up self-coaching and reflection on earlier learning Capture all learning and actions in a coherent system Complete the backlog of write-ups Collect notes from FLS coaching sessions Set up a system for reviewing / reminding
What I will aim to do differently as a result:
The plan lists all the things I want to do as part of my learning. There’s a lot there so the challenge will be to stick to it and be realistic about how much of this is doable inside one year.
I’ll likely create a Trello board to track my learning actions – but that is for later.
A meeting to reflect on our collective learning with a cohort of people who had completed the Civil Service Future Leaders Scheme in 2017/18/19, chaired by Director-General at MOD and held in February 2019.
In this blog post I have pasted the content of the end-of-scheme learning template that I completed in preparation for the meeting.
What I learned
What was your key learning from the Scheme?
Better grounding in commercial considerations
Importance of self-organising, planning and review for my learning
Preparation and considering my approach before meetings and engagements
The value of coaching with my team leaders and as a general approach to conversations
The need to ‘bring the outside in’ and harness external perspectives whenever the organisation needs to learn, grow, change or do new things
Importance of planning and directing senior conversations
Understanding my leadership style, and ensuring that I embody this
What has been your most important learning about yourself during your time on the scheme?
I have a distinctive leadership style with helpful and unhelpful elements
There is a place for my leadership style in the SCS (previously I had though there was not)
I am able to adapt my leadership style to suit
I need (and am broadly able) to create structure, context and continuity for myself as well as for the team
I need support on project management / team co-ordination tasks
My learning and development needs to be planned and managed
Reflection is a powerful tool that I am able to use
What has been your greatest challenge over the past 2 years and how have you addressed this?
Aside from on-the-job challenges, the greatest challenge has been finding time/energy to dedicate to learning and development. I have addressed this by:
Booking time in diary for learning, booking onto courses and insisting upon attending these even under sever diary pressures;
Making my learning public, making a public commitment to act upon learning and therefore more likely to follow through
Using some hours every week ‘dead time’ to focus on technical skills development. I have used the time to complete an online Python course (coding skills for data / analytics).
What were your departmental and corporate contributions during your time on the scheme?
Arranged and hosted 2 x Action Learning Sets at MOD
As part of the Experiment Group work, I developed, executed and analysed a randomised digital survey (analogous to a Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT)) of the FLS cohort (80 responses) – which showed that allowing flexible working makes a very significant difference to the number of candidates who will apply for an SCS post.
Contributed to early phases of corporate challenge (was not able to participate in later stages)
Set up the ‘lift lobby group’ of people involved in defence change programmes.
Began publicly sharing (blogging) my learning
Overall comments on your experience of the scheme and what your next steps will be?
I feel I have developed tremendously while on the FLS.
Some of this development is likely due to my being on temporary promotion to SCS this year – however I feel I have developed much more during this stint on promotion than during my previous stint, with FLS being the key difference.
I posit that the FLS has given me a framework and discipline to reflect upon and contextualise, and so truly learn from, my experiences – rather than simply experiencing them!
What I will aim to do differently as a result
Looking to the future:
I want to continue learning about leadership and management
I will continue to develop my technical skills and pursue becoming an intelligent customer for Machine Learning and AI.
I will continue to seek out and apply for SCS1 opportunities
I will aim to seek out a delivery role, and leadership roles.
I will consider opportunities outside central Govt Departments
I wish to stay in the digital/data/information field but would consider opportunities elsewhere that gave me the leadership and delivery opportunities I need.
Some reflections on my overall learning, plus some miscellaneous learning from my notes, derived from the two days of the Deputy Director Leadership Programme held in London on 16 and 17 September 2019.
What I learned:
Focus on personal impact:
Focus on the key six or so relationships (boss, close peers, direct reports) where you can make a difference.
Where can I take a leadership position? How can I be useful to the wider programme?
Find the bandwidth to be a leader:
Carve out time in the diary!
Carve out time within the framework you are already operating in… so for example, Use 5 or 10 mins within existing meetings – do some reflection, ask how we are doing, how are people feeling, do we understand what we are doing and why?
Just do it! Stop operating and start leading. Just stop doing the operator or manager work – give it to someone else. You are making the conscious choice to be in a different mode.
People watch what you do and how you act, be aware of the shadow you cast.
Be a lateral thinker – think of it like a dating agency – how can you join together different unconnected parties to the common good?
Like a lobster, it’s good to feel uncomfortable as you grow
The importance of being able to manage between ambiguity and clarity
What I will aim to do differently as a result:
Re-engage on leadership and learning
Get back into coaching and mentoring (myself and others)
Carve out leadership time
Make the conscious decision to lead not just do work
Some specific actions:
Adapt and update my leadership statement
Update my learning and development plan
Make time for leadership thinking and review
Re-engage on networking and stakeholder engagement
Put in new learning time (Thursday and Tuesday nights)
Get this blog into better shape and be more disciplined in publishing my learning
Start gathering shareable data about my work and consider how to publish it
Set up some self-coaching – e.g. some automated tweets or a similar tool
Complete an exercise to capture my reflections from my time as Hd C&MI
Write up the EOY feedback and make this the basis of the next phase of learning
A talk, self and group exercises on Strengths and Shadows. This was part of the Deputy Director Leadership Programme held in London on 16 and 17 September 2019.
What I learned:
A ‘strength’ is defined as a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking or feeling that is authentic and energising to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance (Alex Linley, 2008).
It often feels weird to talk about your own strengths.
A quick three-minute estimate of my strengths, in no particular order:
Communicating and engaging people, through different styles and channels, both written and verbal
Selling concepts, ideas and messages
Operating in the vision, concepts and ideas space, seeing the bigger picture, developing conceptual models and using metaphors
Analytical problem solving
Crisis management and working at pace
Innovating, being comfortable doing things that have not been done before
There is a simple quadrant model for addressing strengths and weaknesses; high capability and use versus low capability and use, and high engagement versus low engagement.
Strengths (High capability and use, high engagement) Definition: Energises and is enjoyable. Performed frequently and so capability and refinements are developed. Coaching Strategy: Build
Potential Strengths (Low capability and use, high engagement) Definition: Energises and is enjoyable, but has not yet been developed, through lack of opportunity Coaching Strategy: Develop
Fragile Strengths / learned behaviour (High capability and use, low engagement) Definition: Not enjoyable, but have been trained to do these things through work Coaching Strategy: Develop
Weaknesses (Low capability and use, low engagement) Definition: Not enjoyable, not developed through the role Coaching Strategy: Work around
Strengths, when overdone can be “shadows”. Some examples of strengths becoming shadows: