Week in the life of a Manager
I am currently a Manager at PPL, having joined as a Consultant back in April 2015. Before joining PPL I worked for the health and public sector department at Accenture. I joined Accenture after graduating from Warwick University, having studied History and Politics (and not having much of an idea of what I wanted to do!)
Mondays for a Manager at PPL is often the one day that feels similar each week, as this is when we hold the weekly management team meeting. I spend the first couple of hours catching up with some of the key emails from the previous Friday and making sure that the project teams I am responsible for have everything they need for the coming week. The management team is a chance for us to come together to discuss potential opportunities for new projects, projects that we have won and planning the future team for that project, current progress on projects, and a wider discussion on company strategies and how we can support and develop the team.
After that meeting there are always updates I will need to give to the project teams I am working on and to the four people that I people manage at PPL. As a manager at PPL I am lucky to work with such a strong and independent set of individuals who all drive forward the forward the projects and are pro-active in driving forward their career. In my role I concentrate on getting the best out of them, ensuring that what we do in the management team meeting best supports them to deliver value in projects and gets the best for them in their own personal development.
The rest of the day is checking in with my clients and completing any priority bits of desk work that has emerged over the morning or was left over from the busy week before.
Monday is pretty much the only day that follows a regular pattern, and the rest of the week can look different every week. This Tuesday I am heading to a client to meet with a new programme director of an integrated care programme we are supporting. We meet for an hour to discuss the priority work that needs to be completed and how myself and the team can best support the plan over the next couple of weeks. I check in with the wider team who are working on site with the client to make sure everything is okay and head back to the office.
After grabbing some lunch, I have a people management meeting with one of my PPL people to go through the progress on their current project and to start thinking about what opportunities are coming up and how this will fit with their development plan. The approach to people management meetings are flexible at PPL to fit with what that individual’s needs –although an important part of the discussion over the year, these aren’t just focussed on performance but also on their own development and their general wellbeing at work so is a chance for them to raise anything that that is on their mind. The rest of the afternoon is focussed on developing a strategic board paper as an action I took away from the morning meeting, as well as answering the flurry of emails from both clients and my project teams.
Wednesday morning sees me heading to see another client, this time to discuss a piece of workforce modelling we had completed for an integrated care team. I am meeting with the lead therapist and service manager to feed back our findings and work out the next steps. It is a good opportunity for one of the new joiners to come along to the session to get an idea of the work we do, and for us to have a conversation on the work we had done before and for me to also learn by getting a new perspective on what we were doing and of course why we are doing it. We refined the modelling work as part of the session and agreed to create a short presentation on the final findings. Afterwards, we agreed that it would be a good opportunity for a new joiner to take on drafting the paper and we discussed what the key elements that need to go in to this would be.
On returning to the office I quickly caught up with a couple of the management team to agree some changes to resourcing due to changes in a number of projects. After this I picked up the board paper again having received some helpful emails from key stakeholders who were providing some information that was important to the paper. This included the analysis of existing assurance and governance structures to propose a new approach that would support greater integration in the area. I also received a call from another stakeholder who explained that the information requested wasn’t available but together we agreed an approach that would fill in the gaps. The 5th cup of coffee for the day provided the needed push to get the first draft across the line and sent to the client.
On Thursday morning myself and a colleague headed slightly further than usual into the home counties to facilitate a vision setting workshop with a Primary Care team. I also received a call from one of my other teams on client site where several risks to some project delivery timescales had emerged the day before. We talked through the issues and agreed an action plan, including an action for myself to get in touch with the SRO of the wider programme to try and unblock some of the problems. We prepared for the workshop and ensured we were completely clear on the outcomes we wanted for the day and ensuring that the agenda would let us achieve that. We also agreed who would facilitate which bit – at PPL we ensure to provide an opportunity all grades of the company to facilitate these sessions, and ensure they are equipped to do so.
The workshop was only 2hrs (a relatively short workshop) but still takes a lot of energy to ensure we get everything we need from such a short space of time. Afterwards we spent time agreeing and organising the outputs of the session and planning how we would produce the write up. I then headed straight back home to spend the rest of the day drawing up the content from the day’s session, while also checking in on some key actions with clients and the project teams. There were also a couple of bid responses that we needed to be submitted the following day, so I checked in with the bid managers of those proposals to add in some information in the areas that I have experience and knowledge in.
Friday morning, I was attending an Integrated Care programme board, including presenting a number of papers on behalf of the Programme Director who was on leave that day. There is always an impossible number of things to discuss at these boards, but it proved to be a really engaging discussion that delved in to the future of health and care in an integrated system. We just about had time to discuss my item after I skipped through the background content to get to the key asks and decisions we needed from the board.
I then rushed back to the office to meet with some of my colleagues to catch up on some potential Business Development opportunities we want to take forward over the next couple of months and agree an action plan to engage with some of the clients we think we can support. In the afternoon we had a team ‘How We Learn’ session. ‘How We Learn’ is the internal development programme at PPL and training sessions are structured so that all the team come together in the afternoon to apply the skills relevant to that day. The sessions are a fantastic chance to test consulting skills and experience whatever your level, and also provide a really great opportunity to connect with the colleagues you see less often and learn together as a company. The training session finishes at 5pm, perfect time on a Friday to head to the local pub to see in the weekend over a well earnt drink.
How has PPL helped your career?
My move to PPL from a much bigger consultancy was built from the desire to have a more personal approach to my work both within the company I work for but also with the clients that we support. I am pleased to say that my experience has been exactly that. Being in a smaller company, you can work and connect with every one of your colleagues and there is a genuine collaborative approach to how we do things across all elements of the company. The ability to connect with and learn from a whole range of colleagues with a range of experiences is amazing and has definitely benefited my professional development. PPL staff are not just from consulting backgrounds but also from a huge range of backgrounds within the NHS and other public services.
At PPL I have always been given the opportunity to challenge myself. As a smaller company we tend to work in much smaller teams and with partner organisations, and very quickly I was responsible for leading on projects and engaging with senior stakeholders. This responsibility also came with all the support I needed both for times when it felt challenging, but also in the times when it didn’t so that I was always being proactive on my development to enable me to thrive. Having joined as a Consultant and progressed to Manager I have had the chance to hold a number of different roles, both externally and internally in supporting the operations of the business. More importantly PPL has really helped me to hone my understanding of what truly brings impact for clients and ensure that creating positive outcomes is at the forefront of all my work.