I have spent most of my career working within or with the public sector on delivering change and new capability.
My work in the public sector started with the Ministry of Defence on its science and technology fast track programme and I have worked within or with most of the major Central Government departments including Cabinet Office, DWP, DH, HMRC, DfT, Directgov and CLG.
My most prominent role within Government was with the Cabinet Office where I provided advice to Ministers and Departments on the economic case for digital services and I have remained in this area of work ever since.
I have climbed since I went to university in Manchester and have had some interest in mountaineering. It was long after I had become interested in climbing and mountaineering that I came to understand the very strong team element of these sports. While the teams involved in climbs are small they are totally reliant in each other and these activities can give a useful insight into your own ability to work in a team under pressure.
Endurance and Challenge
One of the themes in my life that has emerged alongside my work in transformative change is my interest in ‘endurance’ sport.
The connection is probably my desire to ask ‘what if’ and ‘how could’ questions and then go and test the answers.
What I have discovered is that these events have a lot in common with transformative change:
- The majority of people and organisations can do extraordinary things if they have the desire and self-belief to do them
- Achieving the extraordinary typically requires a combination of technique and commitment to achieving the outcome even when it may seem impossibly difficult
- Technique and belief are essential and can be learnt and developed so ask those who have gone before you how they did it, they are usually happy to share
Open Water Swimming
I pretty much married into swimming and I was well into my 40’s before I started learning how to swim and enjoy it rather than just how not to drown.
Last year I took on the Dart 10K which is one of the UK’s most loved long distance swimming events and was possibly the hardest mental challenge I have ever taken on.
The event itself was pretty straight forward and enjoyable, the learning along the way to it was the hard bit.
Having to entirely re-learn how I swam and realise how ineffective I was turned out to be a hard set of lessons.
But, in the end it was essential before I could learn what I needed to learn.
The name trapeze for a website name came to me during a brainstorming session when I was attempting to identify what’s different in organisations that really get change to work for them.
Success on the trapeze turned out to be all about focus, nerve and trust and with those you could achieve extraordinary things like a flying trapeze catch.