An eventful year!

A lot has happened in the twelve months since I last wrote on this blog. I often look at this page and think about writing, but somehow I have not found the words or the time. I have barely been on twitter this year too, but I am still around, lurking when I can.

Firstly I am no longer just Lesley Campbell. I’ve gained a surname -Stephens, having got married earlier this year after nearly ten years engaged to my now husband. Our wedding was worth the long wait, a hugely emotional experience after a tough road to get there, but I’m so glad we finally made it down the aisle.

More recently, I lost my beloved dog, Nikki. She died suddenly of bone cancer and I am still learning how to live with a large dog shaped hole in my life. It is so strange when I work from home and she is no longer the shadow by my side.

On a professional note, I have been working in the Civil Service for almost a year now as a Senior Cohort Leader in the Fast Stream and Early Talent team. It is a unique role – line manager, HR advisor, talent business partner and leadership coach, all rolled into one multi-skilled and multi-tasking package.

I have learned an awful lot about leadership and management over the past year. I have been challenged and inspired in equal measures by the future leaders I have the pleasure of managing and coaching on their journeys towards the Senior Civil Service. It is interesting to hear about all the amazing things they are working on and learning about the far-reaching responsibilities of civil servants across government. It is a fascinating world and you can only begin to imagine the range of roles the average Fast Streamer might experience during their careers.

For me, coming from a private sector background, working in the Civil Service has also proven challenging and frustrating at times. It is quite unlike other industries or sectors. Every government department has its own culture, ways of working and rules and making sense of it as an outsider can feel somewhat daunting and at times, unwelcoming. It feels like there is a desire to bring in external talent, knowledge and experience, but not necessarily the understanding of how to get the best out of that talent. I can see positive steps to improve this and can see it takes work from both sides, but it makes for a bumpy landing. I just about feel like I’ve settled in now, but it has taken far longer than it has ever taken me in previous roles. Learning the job was not so much the issue, but adjusting to the politics, processes and culture is still an ongoing journey.

I’m moving roles within the wider team soon. Still working as a Senior Cohort Leader, but supporting Fast Streamers in a different year group and programme, so I am looking forward to a new challenge. Change and variety is hugely important for me, so I hope that I will continue to learn as much over the next year as I have in my first. I have a new project to work on over the next year that I’m particularly excited about and I’m also working towards an executive coaching qualification, which I am looking forward to getting stuck into. If you are interested in some free coaching and wouldn’t mind being recorded for my supervision, please do let me know – I am looking for additional clients!

Anyway, I am hoping to write more often soon. I have a few blog posts rattling around my head that I would like to get out into the world, but now is not the time. Until then…

P.S. Apologies if you’ve seen this page on one of the annoying occasions that it has suffered in the hands of wordpress hackers/bugs. I’ve had to tidy it up and boot out the malware on a couple of occasions recently and I am hoping it is clean again. If not, I may end up taking this down completely.

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