8 Feb 2010

Three weeks with new staff

It's now three weeks week since our biggest group of new staff joined us, and it seems like a good time to reflect on progress and challenges up to this point. We're still a pretty small organisation, with just 8 professional staff, but that means we're more than double the size we were at the end of last year.

We've come a long way in this short time, settling into our new office, with more new furniture and furnishings arriving almost every day, though not everything is working perfectly yet. An organisational culture is beginning to develop, pretty much along the young, dynamic and professional lines that I was hoping for. A sense of being a team is also growing, with vocal discussions going around the office pretty much all day, and even the odd argument - we did aim to recruit staff with strong personalities and willing to stand up for themselves, so some disagreement is as you would expect.

From a personal point of view, perhaps the hardest thing has been knowing how hands-on I should be as Director. Do I intervene in every decision to make sure new staff get it right, or do I allow people to make their own decisions in the full knowledge that sometimes this won't work out but also giving more space for staff to grow into their roles? I don't think I've got it right every time, but I'm pleased to see some staff already beginning to take responsibility and ownership of their work. We have some very bright and enthusiastic young staff - I think the default should be to encourage them to fulfill their potential and only step in at critical moments and if things are going off track. Eyes-on, hands-off is the principle, though that is much easier said than done.