Ready, Steady, Go
So, hello to all my new colleagues!
Day one, week one, blog one.
I’ve done a fair amount of thinking about what to say in this inaugural blog and, eventually, I concluded that I would focus on three things – why Birmingham; some of my “back story”; and something about what makes me tick.
Why Birmingham? Well, it stems from a desire to work with great people, in a great city, on a truly exciting, albeit very challenging, set of agendas. Why wouldn’t I want to come to a place where there are so many opportunities to make a positive difference and, at the same time, be stretched professionally. I could add to this short list, but the central point I want to make is that what Birmingham is, and what Birmingham can become are powerful attractions – and, with residents, the elected members and you, I really want to be part of the City’s next phase of achievements.
As for the Mark Rogers’ story so far, an abridged version of my history is over on the About tab – and I’ll add to this from time to time, especially if anyone is interested in knowing more about my past exploits.
On the “what makes me tick front”, this is where I want to be a little more expansive. At the risk of getting an early reputation for pretension and conceit, I’m someone who wants to make a positive difference to people’s lives in the communities we serve, and work among people who are similarly motivated.
I believe lives come before services and that, in entering public service, our professional skills, knowledge, understanding and experiences exist to be developed and deployed to the benefit of the communities we serve. I was proud to be a teacher and I am proud to be a local government officer – but that pride comes not from being a professional per se, but from using whatever expertise it is that I have to help others fulfil their potential and for all our communities to flourish.
I also value “great behaviours”. In my last job I came to rate very highly such key human characteristics as openness, honesty, approachability and keeping promises. On top of this, I consider that showing respect is essential to the building of trust – without which very little is achieved in the first place, nor sustained into the longer term.
And I’ve never believed that these are traits expected solely of the leadership and management. Rather, I look to an organisation where it is everyone’s desire and responsibility (our collective leadership task if you like) to commit to this kind of values-based approach to doing business. The Chief Executive can lead by example, but truly to make a positive difference to people’s lives we all need to unite under this common purpose and create and sustain a culture that has humility and service of others at its heart.
Now, maybe this wasn’t the inaugural blog you were expecting? Indeed, I had considered whether or not to begin by describing my commitment to the delivery of the administration’s key priorities of a prosperous, fair and democratic Birmingham; how I intend to work in a fair and even-handed way with all the political groups in the Council; and outlining how I might guide, support and challenge the whole staff team to make the most difference it can to improving outcomes. And, in due course, I will indeed cover this rich and very important subject matter.
But, and it is a very important but, I decided that it was important to begin by trying to give you as much of a sense as I could about the kind of person I am and, therefore, what sort of expectations I have of the way we, the staff team, do business with, and on behalf of the communities we serve – and, not forgetting, with each other too.
And, in case you think that I might come from another planet where, for example, cuts don’t exist, fear not; I am from the real world and I do understand just how challenging times are (and are going to continue to be) which is why I put culture – and the values and behaviours that define a positive culture – at the top of my list of things to blog about.
Finally, whilst I may not be visible to all of you all of the time, I am aiming to ensure a presence across our organisation that can only be achieved by having a shared commitment to being empathetic and doing the right things, for the right reasons, right first time for our communities.
PS I have set myself the (possibly unrealistic) expectation of writing something fortnightly. To help the flow, you might want to suggest topics for me to cover. Send your suggestions via the comments box below.