Foolishly decided to be one of those super beings and did a 5.30am start today as speaking at the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives conference in Northern Ireland on the subject of 'Lessons of change and improvement'. (Note to myself go the night before in future!)
After doing the planes, trains and automobiles routine I got to Newcastle, County Down, just before 10.30am and my session started at midday. Despite having to neck copious amounts of caffeine to retain my focus the presentation appeared to go very well and my message seemed well received.
I gave some theory on change and improvement before talking about the 3 big change and improvement programmes I have been involved in during my career, reorganisation of local government in Scotland, the transformation of ADLO to APSE and as a highly interested observer and participant in the modernisation agenda for local government that has taken place over the past 10 years.
My 10 point change and improvement plan, based on my experiences, goes something like this:
Have a vision
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Get quick wins and publicise them
Create solid foundations
Celebrate a culture of success
Show some humility
Don't flog a dead horse
Despite the sleep deprivation, the long journey gave me plenty of time for reflection on the subject and by thinking through the mixture of theory and experience on change and improvement I gained an awful lot of learning and fresh ideas that I intend to put to good use in coming months.