A user manual for Lindsay

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This post is about me and my preferences in my working life. 

This is the first blog I have ever written, so it’s kind of scary. 

It’s been three and a half years since I moved career into ‘digital’. It’s kind of odd looking back at a career that spans research and development, process development, business development and now service design. Some things about who I am, and what I enjoy, hold true whatever organisation or with whichever team I have worked with.  

How I got to here is outlined in my tube map:

Tube map showing Lindsay's journey to working in digital

Conditions I like to work in 

  • I’ve never been someone who likes to be at the same place every day. Looking back, that holds true whether it’s in a science lab, a manufacturing shop floor, out seeing manufacturing customers, meetings at a big table, or meetings in small huddles. I love variety. 
  • I try and keep things tidy but I’m actually quite a messy person. I’m hopeless at filing things – my inbox is my filing cabinet.  
  • I always scribble and do love a mind map. It helps me remember things and it’s how I used to revise for exams, how I brainstormed manufacturing problems and how I think about design. So, I figure it has done me well over the years.  
  • I quite like a workshop now and then and am really missing post-its and sharpies now I’m working at home full time.  
  • I love to be working with and in teams – I’m not a person who likes to be on their own. That feeling of a team delivering something is magic.  

The times/hours I like to work 

  • I have always worked better in the mornings and evenings. So serious meetings are not great for me in the afternoons. I do try but don’t always bring my best. And if you get emails on an evening it’s just because I’m on a roll, but I will take the time back.  
  • I’m happy working flexibly. If the weather looks rubbish on a Sunday but great for the Monday, I’d rather get out for a run or a bike ride on the Monday, and work part of a weekend.  
  • Although I won’t log onto emails when I’m off work, I do tend to keep an eye on Slack. I’m working hard not to do this! 

The best ways to communicate with me 

  • I don’t have strong preferences here, although sometimes managing email, Skype calls, Skype chat and Slack can get a bit much.  
  • I like it best when people send me a message and ask to chat. Quickly resolving things is far better than waiting weeks to schedule a meeting.  
  • I’m not sure about the whole Office 365 thing – OneDrive, Sharepoint and now Teams coming along. I can see some advantages like co-working on a document, but honestly sometimes it’s just blinking slow! I do though love MIRO, maybe because it’s so visual, and also Slack.  
  • Emails with hundreds of folks copied in just for the sake of it really irritate me. As do ones where people copy folk in for hierarchical purposes.  

The ways I like to receive feedback  

  • I prefer feedback one-to-one, but don’t mind if it’s in person or written down.  
  • If it’s positive I’ll be grateful, and if its negative I will consider it deeply. I’ll go away and reflect on it and then consider what to do.  
  • I’m not one for hiding things. I’d rather they were brought into the open and dealt with. But I will worry until it’s resolved. It’s just who I am and I’m trying really hard to overcome this.  

Things I need

  • I love to understand things ‘under the hood’. Whether it’s the chemistry of why cakes rise, through to big messy process problems and now working in digital. I always seek to understand. The ‘5 Why’s  is such a powerful thing.  
  • I need to be stretched and to be learning new things on a regular basis.  
  • I’m a thinker, so I don’t make emotional decisions on the spur of the moment. I’m much more logical and like to look at things from all angles before deciding.  
  • I really need to feel trusted, and to be given autonomy to do my job, and for my team to do theirs. They’re all experts in what they do so why wouldn’t anyone trust them?    
  • I need to have opportunities to coach people and help them develop. I really love this element of my job.  

Things I struggle with 

  • I struggle with imposter syndrome.  I think it comes from having moved ‘careers’ from scientist to business development through to service design. I know my skills are valued, and I value all I have learnt on the way and the people I have met. But as I didn’t start off in digital, sometimes I stop and think ‘how did I get here’? 
  • I’m a bit of an introvert really. 
  • I don’t like working with people who have no integrity. Leaders who don’t show this really irk me. I find it harder to build a working relationship with someone who does not share my work ethic.   
  • It can be difficult for me to switch off from what I’m working on, hence the comment above about checking Slack when I’m on holiday. It takes a few days to properly unwind.  
  • I worry a lot, about everything, whether its work or at home.  
  • I do like a night in the pub but prefer it when it is a small group so I can hear everyone. I’m not one for big loud places. The idea of a ‘party night’ is just horrific.

Things I love

  • The excitement of having delivered something, whether that is a new product rolling off a manufacturing line that I’ve developed, or a new service we’ve just pushed live. Making good things is just incredible.  
  • I love looking out and seeing how others have addressed similar problems. Sharing that within and across teams is the most powerful thing.   
  • I love coming up with ideas, testing them and solving problems. Experiments form the bedrock of science, as does peer review. I see no reason this approach shouldn’t be used more across every business and be much more accepted. 
  • I really like numbers and science…it makes me tick.  

Footnotes

  • I’m the team leader for Service Design at Scottish Enterprise. The team is an incredible bunch of user researchers, user experience/interface designers and service designers. I’m incredibly lucky to be in this role and I love it.  
  • I’m a good listener and will keep things in confidence 
  • I am good at reading people and picking up on group dynamics. 
  • I love being outdoors, even in rubbish weather. 

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