Exciting. Challenging. Full. There are lots of adjectives I could use to describe our 2017, the vast majority of which are positive! I thought I'd spend some time reflecting on the year that was...
January started working with ARMA, the UK association for all staff working in research management. Providing chief operating officer services meant thinking across all aspects of the business - from financial modelling, cash flow monitoring and budget setting, to reviewing processes, staffing and office set-up.
Between January and July, this took up most of my time. Together with an excellent Board, and supported by a wonderfully-engaged membership, we:
Developed new business processes to streamline operations
Reworked approaches to financial management
Reviewed staffing resources and built a new structure
Found new premises and completed the office move
Reviewed and revised governance structures
Revamped communication and member engagement
Made sure the delivery of professional development events, including workshops and an annual conference, went ahead.
By the time July came, it was time for a break! So, I headed for the beach, and stayed there for a while...
Over the summer, I started work on rebuilding the ARMA website and membership database, with the first launch in September. I'm really pleased that the work we did with the developers, Future Solutions, helped to create a member-focused site, with lots of opportunities to interact.
In the blink of an eye, it was the Autumn! And the projects continued to flow:
I completed an evaluation of the Full Time Office model for Glasgow Caledonian University Students' Association, developing a series of recommendations for the Board of Trustees.
I’ve joined up with Research Consulting to start a project looking at the research strategy of a UK university.
I've created web content - site copy, white papers, and blog posts - for companies around the world, on topics ranging from GDPR to the future of the workplace, with some open innovation in between.
I've provided guidance on business process review to a team at Teesside University.
And I've continued my relationship with ARMA, looking at all aspects of their professional qualifications, and helping to shape their next strategy.
Thinking back over the year has helped me to realise how much can be achieved in a twelve-month period, and what can be learned. The three main lessons I've taken away have been:
Commitment to a common purpose is essential. The team at ARMA has shown me how important this is, and how powerful that can be to lead and manage change.
Positivity and energy can help in all situations. Juggling so many different pieces of work can be hard, but I can safely say that negativity would have made it much more difficult.
Challenge can be challenging. The main reason I became a consultant was the variety it brings, and this year has confirmed that decision. But the experiences of the year have also shown that challenge doesn't suit everyone. Be mindful of the different reactions.
Reflecting on what you've achieved is a useful process. It can tell you about what you’ve learned, where you need to develop, and where you should focus in the future. Make sure you build in some time to look back over your 2017. You might well be surprised at everything you've achieved!
And if you need help with process review, change management, communications, or strategic planning, get in touch. We'd be delighted to help.