As CEO of Shannon Trust, my days are really varied, so describing a typical day is tricky. What might give readers more of an insight, is to talk about the 3 main things that characterise my role, in a growing organisation. Those 3 areas are strategy, its execution and the culture enabling things to happen. I don’t write a new strategy every day obviously, but I struggle to think of any meeting or piece of work that I do, where the question ‘is this in line with our strategy’, isn’t in my thoughts When it comes to the execution of our strategy – the actual work we do – then my role is one of leading people, who lead other people, who in turn lead others. So my role is really about the steering the ship, and asking what others need in order to do their work well.
All this rests on our organisational culture. In other words, the Shannon Trust way of doing things. In short, I try to model that every day – honest, open communication, a focus on finding better ways to do things, enabling others to take decisions, learning from mistakes and being accountable for what we do. Most of my work is quite far removed from the reason we exist – to support learners – so I think it’s important for me to get into prison or community venues whenever I can, to sense check that what we do is helping our learners progress.
I suppose there is one other thing that I try to do every day, which you won’t find written in our strategy, business plan or brand values, and that is making sure I have fun at work. The work that we do is important, and often done in difficult circumstances, so staying positive and energetic is important. For me, that is made easier if I can see the lighter side with colleagues, mentors, learners and people working in our partner organisations. Building good relationships is partly about building trust, and a few laughs along the way, often helps.
All in all, never a dull day.
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