The challenges of juggling it all


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It’s been a few months since my last post and it would be easy to step back and not post anything new – but then that would defeat the purpose of the blog in the first place.

In the last few months a lot has happened – a lot of change in our business and a lot of work for the internal comms function; which is why there has been little to say.

In July this year my only team member resigned after finding a fantastic opportunity with another company. When you are a very small team a departure leaves a big hole so I was running the department on my own until the end of September. I learnt a lot in that time – mainly that when you work on your own it’s actually easier to manage the workload as you know what is being done and when. When you have a team, yes you can do more, but its easy to lose sight of the purpose of the department and you can end up doing things for your stakeholders that might not have been a priority otherwise.

At the same time, I was hitting the books and due to hand in my diploma for CIPR Inside on 4 August. I had to defer until January. It wasn’t something I planned but the research that I wanted to do proved difficult and with a department to run and train for a 270mile bike ride something had to give. Research is now underway and aiming for a January deadline to get the project in. Never under estimate the amount of work a diploma or any qualification is, equally never under estimate the value it will bring to you professionally and personally. I already sense this won’t be my last bit professional development.

And that bike ride! 270 miles from Brussels to London in early September with 20 colleagues from the business. It was an amazing experience. I had a whole blog post in my head at the end about the language of cycling that I learnt on the trip. How to communicate with other riders as you’re cycling through the fields of Holland or through the city of Amsterdam. It was a great adventure and one I will definitely repeat. Thank you to everyone that supported me on the event – I raised over £1500 for The Railway Children and as a team we raised over £25,000 for them.

So what’s been going since September? As a business we start our new financial year at the end of September so this year I launched comms briefings for the business. These now happen twice a year to give people an overview of all the activity that will happen in the next 6 months. The ones we did in October went down really well with the teams, and while some doubt the expense of bringing people together, the overwhelming majority felt it was a great way to kick off the year.

September also saw the departure of our global CEO and the new appointment of Kate Swann, former CEO of WHSmiths in to the role. It has been a real change of pace for the whole business with a different focus and more analytical approach. It always takes time to adjust with such a huge change and as I take responsibility for the UK and Ireland, my input into the transition communications has been very limited.

So now as we head towards the end of 2013 the team is back up to full strength, we have our annual managers conference (800 people) taking place next week and then a short break over the Christmas period. It has been a testing few months to juggle both the ambitions of the department and the reality of the business but the learning continues.

For the more regular readers I’m sorry for the radio silence – a promise for more regular confessions from here!



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