My First "6 Weeks" in Advance



I was a little apprehensive when Al our MD suggested I should write a blog on my first few weeks (now months) of working for Advance Consultancy in the newly created role of Head of Delivery. Firstly, because I have never written a blog before and secondly, the Libra in me wants to please and not get it wrong.

I guess I will start at the beginning; the interview(s). They went very well clearly as I got the job, but not just from that perspective. The initial interview was remote and even from that call I got the impression that Al and Shakey were two very genuine people who were trying to run a business in the right way and do the right things, it was not all about what I could bring to the company, it was also about how I found the interview and what would I take away from it when I speak to my wife Fran. I was asked the same questions again in the second interview, less surprisingly this time. Only now I am in the company have I realised that questioning and an interest in how we feel and think and what our takeaways are runs right through how the team operates and how we run the business.

The timing of my recruitment and acceptance of the job offer was fortunate as it also gave Advance the opportunity to invite my wife, Fran, and I to the Christmas meal – not something all companies would do. I did not have to think long to accept the invite and glad I did as it gave the team and me the opportunity to meet in an informal setting and get to know one each other a little more without the work talk, it was just about the people who are at the heart of the business. This informal and brief interaction some 4-5 weeks before I started was a small gesture that went along way to making me feel welcome and at ease in my first week.

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Day one was full of excitement and, thanks to that Christmas meal, little nerves at all to my surprise and relief. I had been with my previous employer for over 11 years, I recalled in my interview that when I started there in my mid 20’s there was little risk from moving from one place to the next but now the stakes are much higher with a family and all the responsibility that comes with that.

Day two I was thrust into my first board meeting and something took me by surprise; I was asked across the table about what I thought, which has happened a lot in my time here. I am not used to being so directly asked what I think or how I feel before, and you know what? It is quite refreshing and, in some respects, exactly what I wanted out of the next challenge in a job for me perhaps without knowing it. It was not that my previous manager, who I got on with and respected a lot, ignored me or I never got my opinion into meetings or situations. Still, there is a difference between pausing and asking your employees by name what they think or how they feel about a given discussion point or meeting topic. It is a slightly different approach. It also creates a feeling of psychological safety and a safe space to express the honesty of one’s thoughts.

It also creates a feeling of psychological safety and a safe space to express the honesty of one’s thoughts.

Fast forward a few weeks and Advance was already starting to feel like home, I have been leading as we explore new business management systems, actively contributing to board meetings and strategy and even dabbled in some Finance Management as acted as some cover as our Finance Manager, Cassie took Maternity leave. Most importantly I am getting along with all of the team and providing what I hope was constructive input into discussions and in time I am sure I will start adding value to the company!

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