Friday, 10 December 2010

Change and patience

Before setting out for Kenilworth for a weekend with Kat, Anto and Rhiannon, I managed to get all the tasks I hoped to get done before putting the office laptop into storage for the next few weeks. This included the last quarterly report on the activity of Cardiff Business Safe for this year. I'm glad to say  it was a positive one, despite challenges in maintaining network operations, and extracting subscriptions from the majority of our users. I've learned such a lot about how business is done in the real world over the past six months, with the players now re-categorised in my mind as the Good, the Dodgy and the Damn Difficult/Complex.

Getting from our previous office base in Southgate House to our new place in Charles Street has been a long drawn out process, a nightmare on times, although we were camping out in the elegance of a room with a front lawn view in City Hall and graciously tolerant co-occupants. We had just to wait and cope, while commissioning and use of the new building fell further behind deadlines. It wasn't ready when the new Civil Parking Enforcement team took occupation back in August - a lot tougher for them, than for us, as they had to learn a new job while they were settling in and sorting themselves out. 

Could all this have been done better? Yes, if there hadn't been lots of other changes going on at the same time. The Council has appointed a new CEO, Jon House. I met him in a brief social encounter at Kidney Wales Carols this week, accompanied by a couple of senior councillors.  He got the job as a man with ideas and experience commending him to those tackling a changing situation dominated by spending cuts. He now has to learn how Cardiff functions from top to bottom, and what the territory he serves looks like. Those under his leadership naturally want to look at their responsibilities and give a good account of themselves. This inevitably reduces concentration on what's labelled 'task and finish' in every area of activity. Everyday work continues despite changes at the top, but sometimes at a reduced pace.

It takes time for the influence of anyone new to make an impact. The larger the organisation, the more this is the case. New political or religious leaders get elected on the 'change' ticket and all too soon find how little difference they can really make without throwing dangerously everything out of balance. 

Whether you're waiting to occupy a new office space, or taking control of a country or even a county, a large dose of patience is required to see effective changes happen. I wonder if those who strive so zealously to make our daily news 'interesting' really understand this basic precept.

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