So often we speak of needing more hours in the day and yet there is also the adage of “if you need something doing, ask a busy person!” We moan about it and yet we thrive on it too! I think it is worth reflecting on the issues arising from the daily juggle of multiple projects and the how my business and clients benefit from it.
I am currently working on three projects. I am managing the Local Growth Fund projects for the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership; I am working with Central Bedfordshire Council to gain approval for their ERDF project Innovation Bridge which will deliver innovation to 350 enterprises across 3 LEP areas; and I am working with Innovas to deliver the growth plan for the sports and physical activity sector in Leicester and Leicestershire LEP. This week I have also contributed to the Aldwyck Housing Group Service Delivery Committee where we are grappling with the challenges of upholding customer service in tightening financial times of the social housing sector.
So what are the challenges of this juggling? Keeping abreast of all the issues is a challenge and does need a clear head and some time spent reading up and staying up to speed. I need to ensure quality on all commissions and need to manage time carefully to allow time and attention on all projects. That requires careful diary management, focus and application as well as keeping on top of emails! Taking breaks, family time and exercise is also key to ensuring I stay fresh enough to see the wood for the trees and think strategically and operationally about each activity.
So why do it? Would it not be easier to just do one project at any one time? Possibly but I thrive on the variety and enjoy working with so many different clients who are taking forward exciting initiatives for the benefit of local communities. It also makes business sense as I increase my knowledge, my expertise and reduce the risk of being without opportunities in the future. Each current project brings the potential for further work so it is also part of my marketing plan.
The connectivity is also beneficial. I always have an eye on confidentiality and conflicts of interest but I believe the learning from each project is helpfully shared with my clients so they learn what others are doing and how they are progressing. This best practice sharing is part of my offer to clients. I can connect projects and people and offer some added value to the commission.
Multiple projects allow me to develop and reinforce my own skills – for instance, as I continue to do direct business and stakeholder engagement in Leicestershire, I am providing at financial and output programme management for SEMLEP. I am always learning and strengthening skills.
It is a challenge but that is necessary to reach the a higher level and think what the next steps are for my business. I have a meeting next Thursday to do just that so watch this space for the latest updates on business development and carry on juggling!