Week notes: 22 – 28 April 2024

Risk talk, IT, assisting assistants, family do.

A glitch in the matrix in Michael’s caff near the BRIT: I’m not the only laptop user! And not a CPFC fan or construction worker in sight. Crushed avocados on the menu soon then.

Work, work, work

A meeting-heavy week. Many moving parts. Feeling the dearth of project/delivery managers to track cross-organisational stuff I’m responsible for (and the dearth of budget to fix that – will need to get creative). 


I met with our Audit, Risk and Governance Committee to go over tech and digital risks (postponed from last month). It was a constructive discussion majoring on cyber security. All eyes are on it since BL.

We also touched on the risk inherent in BFI Player income growth assumptions (they’re evidenced but nonetheless a field of dreams); and the challenge of juggling strategy delivery, surprise demand and tech debt with lean teams. We have low attrition rates but it only takes a few simultaneous vacancies to feel a bit holey.


I’m finding IT more interesting than ever. I’ve been responsible for IT teams for 5 years now (3 in the Cronx, 2 in the BFI) but every day’s still a school day. I’m enjoying that on-the-job learning, the passion and pride of our people, their openness and positivity, and having it all fully in-house here (whereas Croydon’s end user computing and service management were outsourced).

But it’s also a tough, firefighty, sometimes thankless domain that’s seldom given enough recognition (or money!) Feeling motivated to do a bit more to redress that.


That’s three paragraphs in a row Eeyore-ing somewhat about team and budget size, but it’s not as bad as all that. We’re lean but mighty and can do a lot – there’s just always more we (and our users and stakeholders) wish we could do! 

Cat taught me the phrase “champagne dreams, lemonade money” which pops into my head often! Charity + NDPB + tight overhead limits as a lottery distributor = tricky trade-offs in every bit of our organisation. 


It’s the same in other public bodies of course! Had lunch with Jezza and we discussed exactly that. Always helpful (as he says here) to compare notes. Plus he introduced me to: 

  • This wisdom from Emily Miles, CEO of Food Standards Agency – that leaders should focus on 3 things: setting vision, aligning people to it, and knowing when to deploy their superpower (sparingly, with a cool-down time). She’s inspiring.
  • Microsoft Loop, which I had failed to notice exists, and is dead nifty with loads of potential to help us organise and communicate better back at base.
  • Thali, which I likened to tapas, having never ventured into this bit of an Indian menu. 

Thoughts are swirling about the interesting dynamics and how to work best with executive/personal assistants.

So little gets written about this topic! I’ve been trial-and-erroring it for 15 years on-and-off with mixed results.

We held first round interviews this week for my new perm person, and I found it way more invigorating and exciting than I was expecting to! Occurs to me it’s been a long time since I was on the panel for hiring the person who assists me daily (it’s been more common to inherit or be assigned one from a pool hired by a lead EA) which is kinda nice to get to do, given the close nature of this work relationship. 

I wrote a task for the 2nd round interview, to parse some selected emails and pull out key points, questions and actions. It was an instructive exercise, both about stuff I’d missed in my inbox (oops!), and how I might better help my coordinator help me in future. Excited to discover who that will be next week.


Ended this week feeling more like I’m part of running the whole BFI, not just my bit, as a result of reviewing and discussing fascinating, in-depth papers about our property estate, Sight and Sound magazine, and in-venue commerce (BFI shop, F&B and private hire).

Plus we’ve introduced a rota to take turns writing the intro to the weekly all-staff email. Better. 

And here’s a small win for consistency (if not content design!)

Not all work, work, work

We popped to Portsmouth overnight Saturday for my aunt’s 70th birthday party. I’d not seen this aunt and uncle, cousin and his wife and kids in a decade – plus my parents and sister went too. So a good opportunity to be a slightly less crap family member and expose the kids to society (as represented by the party food in today’s featured image!)


Joel had a parents evening. Dylan had a Sixth Form welcome event.

Dyl’s really into his hip-hop at the moment so I’ve booked tix for him and me to go see The Roots and De La Soul at Crystal Palace Park in August. Nice!


Full of good intentions I bought 3 books on low cholesterol recipes – but then ate poorly a lot this week (takeaway fish and chips, a share-size Revels bag in one sitting, Premier Inn breakfast, that thali). I suspect a bit of subconscious rebellion kicked in. Will do better next week.

But I also had my second PT sesh with Finbar, involving battle ropes, sled pushes, slams, lunges, TRX pull-ups, and deadlifts (90kg – it’s a start). Varied functional workouts like these are the kind I hate the least. 💪

🔎 Found, interesting 🧐

Listening, watching, playing, reading, cooking

📽️ The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus. Long but interesting, with lots of subtext about Ridley. (Seems everyone told him that retconning the space jockey as a suit for a big humanoid was a disappointing idea).

📺 Baby Reindeer. First 3 eps. Mixed feelings, but hooked.

🎧 Turn The Page, Overmono & The Streets.

🎧 We Cry Together, Kendrick Lamar.

📽️ Twilight. My first time. Wasn’t my pick but it’s OK! Further evidence Kristen Stewart has consistently been formidable. 

🍳 Made a delicious slow cooked chicken in orange and ginger sauce (from a book, but similar ones are Googleable).

📽️ Saw X. How bad can it be, we said, as it went free on Prime. Abandoned after 40 mins.

Cont: 📺 Ghosts 📺 Taskmaster 🎧📓 The Psychopath Test 🕹️ Cyberpunk 2077 📓 The Mountain in the Sea (gone off the boil, but I’m persevering)

Distractions

Thanks bye!

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