If you are anything like me, then you will have spent a bit too much time over the last 72 hours looking at other peoples’ advice and ideas about New Years’ resolutions on social media and in the newspapers. Maybe you have set some resolutions of your own about what you will do differently this year?

I think that there is a lot to be said for setting ambitious challenges at the start of the year and then seeing how far you can take them.  Thinking about last years’ resolutions, I am very proud of what I achieved even though I didn’t quite hit the mark on all of them.  My running goal was to cover 1800km in the year and to beat my best time in the Brighton marathon in April.  I didn’t quite achieve either of these, but I had a lot of fun trying – and did manage to compete in 20 races over the course of the year.  I also started swimming, which I haven’t done since school.  After a slightly difficult first attempt, I am now getting the hang of it and finally realising how privileged I am to have a really good swimming pool just 5 minutes from the office.

 

I have thought about my resolutions for 2018 with an ambitious direction for the company in mind.  After two years of working in Coast to Capital, I am so proud to lead an organisation where people are so expert, passionate and fully engaged on making our region a place where everybody can achieve their ambitions.  To help you in setting your resolutions here are my suggestions about what we could do in order to get ahead of the challenges and opportunities that the year will bring:

  • Develop our skills. The central theme in everything that we will do in 2018 will be about improving productivity, in teams and in the region around us,  I think this is the best way of thinking about our own individual development needs.  What skills do you need to get better, or quicker, or more efficient at your job?  What areas do you need to learn more about in order to prepare yourself for promotion or to take on a new area of responsibility? In the senior team, we have started to do some work to understand how others see us and what changes we need to make in our personal behaviours in order to function more effectively as a team.  On a personal level, I am very keen to get better at social media so that I can communicate better across the different platforms which most people turn to now to get their news.  I want to make 2018 a learning year for everybody in Coast to Capital with more and more achievements to celebrate across the team as the year goes by.

 

  • Be creative. I believe that success at work comes from innovation, catching peoples’ imagination and helping others to understand things by seeing them in a different way.  Some of the best experiences of 2017 came from people in the team taking a creative approach to solving problems which in some cases we didn’t even know we had.  For example, we now have a fantastic Team Room thanks to insight into how we could improve our productivity by creating a meeting space where people from different teams could talk and listen properly to each other.  Creativity by the Growth Hub team has driven innovation in their engagement with businesses, such that 100% of their customers would now recommend the service to others.  My own resolution for 2018 is to look further and wider than I have before to learn from others and find different ways of improving what we do.  Nothing is off the table, and I encourage you all to think about different ways to approach work in order to sharpen our edge and increase our impact.

 

  • Enjoy yourselves. I believe that organisations only ever really achieve things when they work together as a team.  It is a great privilege to work so closely with our Board, who are a great example of a diverse team which is also on a journey to make the most of all its talents. I am also very proud of the excellent Away Days which were organised in Newhaven, Plumpton and Croydon in 2017 where we were able to learn first-hand about the work of our partners in all of those places and the different challenges that they face.  I am constantly impressed by how hard people work in this company, and how much we achieve in an organisation of fewer than 30 staff.  But as well as working so hard, and being so committed to our jobs, we also need to make the time to relish the experience and to make the most of the excellent colleagues that we have.  If we can be a first-class team, then we will achieve so much more than being a group of first-class individuals.  I know that there are lots of ideas within the team on how we can do this, and I am committed to helping make them happen.

 

Best wishes for 2018

 

Jonathan Sharrock

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