My mentee keeps sending me pictures of food. These don’t just make me hungry during the working day, they inspire me too.
Being the CEO of a tiny enterprise means that in reality I’m an operational manager 90% of the time. Supporting the team with the day-to-day running of the enterprise and keeping everyone well and watered are my priorities.
With only 10% of my time to work ‘on’ the business rather than ‘in’ the business, things naturally take a lot longer to happen at a strategic level – and this is a massive business threat as I get pulled into operational matters. I didn’t do the maths on this when I started out. And it’s why people like me work long hours. We’re wearing multiple hats and I can’t just swan around meeting people for coffee. We have to deliver to bring in income and survive.
I’m excited by social enterprise, by its impact and by the small privilege my role gives me. It give me a voice, marginally less tiny than the one I had before, but a lot bigger than that of many of the people we work with. I want the voice to grow, whilst feeling undeserving of the privilege in equal measure.
So when I got asked to speak at an NHS Leadership Day about all things leadership earlier this month, I felt mostly like I was constantly looking behind me to find out who they meant when they said leader! Any minute she will appear! ‘Leader’ is a word I’m already a bit bored with, as people impose it at their will – I’m the person who gets to decide what I am!
So to say my days are fun and varied would be an understatement. Being busy notwithstanding, with Mentoring so integral to what we do, it’s now the case that the whole team has taken on a mentee. We’re leading by example as an employer.
Mine has been regularly written about in my blogs. And I want to finish this blog by saying that every time I feel that things are impossible, intractable and I’m alone in finding solutions and trying to forge a way ahead, I remember that after 26 years in prison, he’s battling the world – and winning!