Weeknotes 27

Learning to trust with caution

Ara and I finding enjoying the winter sun on our strolls. Isn’t she beautiful?

What I did

  • We had an unexpected situation which really tested our HR processes with external short-term contractors. I ended up spending more than 6 hours with Kim on this and it was very challenging. Something that has been coming up and we will be doing more internal and public work on is that many people do not know how to differentiate between wellbeing and safeguarding. I love how Cat explained it to me on a call once that wellbeing is foremost an individual responsibility before it becomes an organisational one. Safeguarding goes both ways. The organisation is responsible for safeguarding those that it works with or for, and but also those individuals are responsible for safeguarding on behalf of the organisation under contractual obligations and report back. We’re planning to add a section to our contract which makes this clear. Our trauma-informed HR toolkit is also going to explore how to support people to identify if they may be triggered beyond threshold before they start working with Chayn. We work on gender-based violence and there’s no avoiding that it’s a difficult topic. We expect our staff, volunteers and collaborators to be upfront in communicating when they are being affected and cannot work on that project anymore. Though this is not an unknown scenario, it’s a lot less common than people think it is. We have things in place to support people through this but recent events show us that we need to be explicit in communicating where our duty of care starts and ends. This is all in the contract already but we’ll prepare a seperate briefing to explain this further.
  • I took over the project management of a project that I had been helping on, and am taking a more active role in creative and scripting aspects of Chayn’s investigative podcast. This whole project has been really eye opening.
  • We held a town hall with our team around budgets. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago about how some of our staff who have never worked in non-profits didn’t really understand how we find, apply and allocate grant funding.
  • I attended a workshop by Mansi Gupta on “Designing for Women” through the Coaching Fellowship netweork. It was really interesting because I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with her; this got my brain working. Sometimes I get so tired from attending talks and workshops where my thinking is not challenged. This wasn’t one of those occassions. I’m sharing some prompts for further thinking from her presentation. If you’re interested in this, Mansi runs these workshops for teams. You can also sign up for her newsletter here.
  • On Sunday, we held a session with the volunteers to listen to a draft episode of our podcast and re-write the script. It was really interesting. I love this format that I came up with. We listen to the recording together which is played via Zoom and put comments on the Google doc of the transcript. We pause every 5–7 minutes to discuss comments and suggestions for improving the storytelling. By the end of the 1–2 hour call, we have a really good idea where to go with the episode and Aiman, our Communications Lead can start writing.
  • Superr Network published the Feminist Tech principles that Chayn contributed to. I was so proud to see Naomi from our team, who contributed on our behalf, in their promotions. For years, it was mostly me and a few volunteers who would do external-facing things. And Naomi has been such a star.
  • Reviewed and edited some blogs and newsletters. I am planning to run a blogging workshop within Chayn to help staff and volunteers who are new to blogging. It’s not that I’m really good at writing blogs but I do know what good looks like, and am an excellent editor.

What I learned

  • My default is to trust with caution, but still err on the side of trust. I think I need to be more guarded when it comes to Chayn because I don’t want my trusting nature to create problems. More on this on another blog probably. I’m too close to it right now to reflect.
  • Setting high standards. I talk about this non-stop both with our volunteers, staff and the Board. I’ve been talking about this since Chayn began and sometimes I wonder if I am creating stress in our teams because of these “high expectations”. I mentioned this in Weeknotes 24 too. Dama (friend and trustee) shared this article with me. It’s super interesting: https://sarahguo.com/blog/thestandard

“I have done 1,000s of references on leaders with their former reports over the last decade. The leaders who have had the most loyal followings are inevitably demanding. Great people crave high standards, high performing teammates, personal growth, a sense of urgency, and winning. That combination is a deeply satisfying and fun experience. Never have I spoken to a strong startup hire that was grateful to a former leader for shielding them from long-term reality, allowing them to operate within a bound of comfort. Many times, I have talked to someone who said, “this person asked something of me that felt crazy, but we made it happen together, and I am proud and forever grateful to them… CEOs are often afraid of making their team afraid.”

  • My husband was on-call this weekend so that can only mean two things: interior design bonanza, productivity marathon. For Saturday, I chose productivity marathon. I blitz-ed Chayn’s strategy slides as we get it ready for public comment. I’ve been tweaking away at it little by little since December 2021 with colleagues and alone, but there’s nothing like an inspired mind and a day full of no meetings. It was a glorious. I made so much progress! From completely re-writing some sections to adding new framing to our work — I’m very happy with where it is now.

Something else

Beena got me chocolate gatteau mousse and macha mousse with raspberry jam and italian meringue

I met my friend Beena in person after 2 years and it was so nice. Texting just cannot replace face to face interaction. We live less than 20 minutes away by car and used to see each other every few days before Covid put a stop to it.

p.s. I still have not done my tax return! Why must I dance with fire every year?

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