We’re at that stage again when I have to pinch myself to believe we’re into another new financial year – I joined Affinity Water to set up AfB in May 2016, and we launched the business as an independent entity for market opening less than a year later. It’s amazing what can be achieved in a relatively short period of time, yet at the same time, it’s in my nature to feel like there’s so much more to do. So it’s good to reflect, and also good to plan and commit to delivering more.
We spent the day together as a whole business last Wednesday to do just that. One of the advantages of a relatively small business where many staff live in the area is that we can decide to spend time together in this way without too much effort or disruption. It’s something I’ve done since the beginning – it seems one of the simplest and most effective ways of creating a shared sense of purpose and team, spending time with each other away from the day job.
We focused on a few simple things on the day:
- how far we’ve come;
- what have we got to achieve next;
- what we are committing to in order to make those achievements real.
We built a Belief Wall
A simple and effective exercise I learned from Jamie McPherson and Lisa De Jong from Lane4 a few years ago. Just sharing, discussing and recording Successes, Qualities and Beliefs/Values is really powerful.
There’s a tendency to always be looking ahead to the next challenge. But we’ve come so far and to see the views of 90 people captured in one place has great impact – suddenly those next challenges don’t look so daunting.
Being really clear about what we need to achieve this year and beyond is paramount. It’s maybe a bit of a cliche but it’s hard to buy-in to a goal and commit to delivering it if you don’t really understand what it is, or why it’s important. So we spent a considerable part of the day sharing and understanding our business goals and what they mean for each individual and team in AfB. We particularly focused on how to help each other achieve the collective ambition. No moaning about what everyone else needs to do to help me!
To lighten the tone we decided to take the opportunity of everyone being together, and invited the BetterSpace gang in to launch our pilot together.
Jim, Anna and the rest of the team did a great job of explaining the BetterSpace offer to AfB. It was especially impactful to have Rob Stephenson there ‘virtually’ with a video of his mental health experiences. I’ve talked on here before about my own experiences and that context is important. We’ve done a lot in AfB this past couple of years to promote mental health and wellbeing, to make AfB a great, safe place to work. But sometimes it can feel as though all the initiatives and hashtags potentially miss the individual need. I’m really looking forward to seeing whether the curated and personalised nature of BetterSpace can change that. Initial levels of engagement across the business are very positive – I’ll be updating on that as we go.