On my way up to Derbyshire for the second Local Government Challenge, I read Heather Storey’s post about lessons she learnt from the first challenge. It was a great reflection on what she might do differently and, besides reminding me of the unsuitability of my footwear choice (wearing suede shoes for an outdoor-based challenge – eeek!), it really prompted me to reflect on what I will aim to do more/less of in future challenges.
The challenge at Derbyshire County Council was to make the existing Learning Disability Service project-based activities self-sufficient and to move them away from the current reliance on council funding. So, what did I learn?
In both challenges, I feel my team has answered the brief well, but don’t think we’ve stretched the proposal to the same level as the other group. With my limited understanding of the other team’s ideas, there is a clear difference in the strategic reach of our ideas.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should have changed what we proposed, but looking back, I think we could have been bolder in painting a wider-reaching proposal to strategically transform LD provision in Derbyshire and could have gone further in the first challenge too. I mean, our idea could have lead to the closure of all day centres through providing opportunities for all those with learning disabilities, however severe. This would have made millions of pounds savings for the county whilst enriching the lives of all service users.
It’s easy to say this on reflection, but I know that next time, I will challenge myself to think bigger and be more strategic in my approach.
Trust my gut
At several points over the two days, I had a feeling that we were going off course slightly and at other points I felt the ideas being run with were perhaps not ones we should go for. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a criticism of anyone in my team – I came up with plenty of random ideas and we found our way in the end to a proposal that we all felt confident and enthusiastic about.
We didn’t end up going for those ideas that I felt slightly uneasy about and the learning for me is that I should speak out and trust my gut when it’s telling me that we’re slightly missing the mark or going off track and I’ll try to do that more in the next challenge. Just knowing that my instinct can be trusted is something I need to hold onto and use in future challenges.
Keep being my own compass
Despite not winning a challenge so far, I’ve not felt disappointed as internally I know I’m winning.
I’m learning so much, improving in areas I want to grow in and am managing to keep on returning to my own centre, my internal compass, which tells me how proud I am of myself and of the progress I’m making on my LG Challenge journey. I want to keep returning to my internal compass in all areas of my life as its through listening to this voice that I know I’ll truly win in life.