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Weeknote 1: Defining a new discipline

Verb: to weeknote

To work in the open; to share one's work process, thoughts, and reflections to everyone, to aid collaborative working.

This is my first weeknote at Aptitude Software. I hope it’s the first of many, but we all know how busy work/life can get. So, I'm making a promise to try to write weekly. Let’s see what happens...

Sam Villis, Head of Digital at The National Leadership Center of the UK Cabinet Office has written a short explanation about why weeknotes are a great thing to do. My conclusion is that they can give more transparency to our work, an opportunity to reflect, and a time to consider what progress we have made and what challenges we have faced.

I am in the relatively unique position of building a new discipline at Aptitude and hope it will be interesting and/or valuable to share my journey with you. Warts and all. When I joined Aptitude in 2019 it would be fair to say that we were at the bottom of the UX maturity scale. Aptitude provides financial management software to the CFO with the goal of enabling finance departments to optimise performance, reach goals and be future-ready. Until 2019 Aptitude practised minimal, tactical UX. Their experience aspirations are now much more sophisticated. My role is to be the change agent for this ambition; to build a team and design the processes that will deliver that change. I am responsible for defining and what a successful experience looks and feels like across a portfolio of 6 complex, global products, advocating for a business-wide customer-centric approach. No small task for sure.

It’s been a busy week!

On Monday and Tuesday, I began part one of a three-part training program called “Delivering Through Others”. I’ll confess, that while many people roll their eyes at 'soft skill’ training, I love it! The purpose of this program is to enhance our ability to achieve outcomes through others, especially when we don’t have direct line management responsibility. It’s also a great opportunity to meet new people – one of my favourite things!

High-level takeaway: I operate with my heart.

The course continues in mid-July. Our homework is to plan a role play... Ughhhh! Nobody likes a role play – not even me and my big heart! The internet tells me that although role play has become the dirty word of training, research shows that it can change attitudes and behaviours. It can enable us to build confidence, practice skills, and develop problem-solving solutions.

On Wednesday my to-do list had grown exponentially having taken two days out for training, but I was feeling motivated. I did the first of my teams’ mid-year reviews. You’ll probably not be surprised to hear that I kinda’ love a review too! Self-reflection is a really awesome tool for self-improvement. I’ve been privately working on my coaching skills recently and it’s nice to put them into practice. I’m a chatterbox, so active listening and conversational pauses are really hard for me! I just get so enthusiastic and carried away. (I’m working on it!) I did a coaching course a looooong time ago, and I am reminding myself that coaching is like a muscle; if you don’t flex it, you won’t get stronger.

Just because you’ve done a course, doesn’t mean you’re going to ace real life.

Thursday brought some work on an end-to-end customer journey map for the Accounting Hub. I’m working to create a complete overview of the Aptitude Experience; from the moment a client hears our name, to the relationship they build with Customer Success/ Strategic Accounts. Having a collective view of something helps to communicate the collective responsibility we all have in creating a great experience.

Friday! Back-to-back day meetings! Insufficient comfort breaks and a skipped lunch. Better diary management is a must! A walk at lunchtime always reinvigorates my motivation and creativity.

Fresh air is the absolute best.

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