Well - can you believe it? The halfway point is upon me!!! I certainly can't.
Friday started out with my head full of the long list of things I had to do back at my desk, and ended with a beer in the sunshine in great company - now that's my idea of a good way to end a challenging day.
Just over halfway through the course now and we were challenged to start considering how we as individuals and a collective could play a part in understanding and contributing to the legacy of the forthcoming Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Some of the team have been immersed in the preparations for the Games for years, and some had not as yet thought beyond how to get to work when buses and trains are full of revellers. Regardless, we were tasked with exploring the concept of legacy, what we felt a successful legacy outcome looked like and how we could help to achieve this ambition.
With just over 50 days to go until the Games begin, you can imagine the scale of the challenge we were wrestling with.
We were very lucky to have two key members of the games organising committee, Counsellor Archie Graham and Paul Zealey, take time out of what must be an exceptionally busy time for them, to talk through their project in depth and provide insight into areas where they feel they have had the greatest success so far. We were also afforded the opportunity to meet with our host for the day - Karen Cunningham of Glasgow Life. Karen told us all about their youth engagement programme over the period of the Games, whereby a live news room will be set-up, staffed and managed by a team of young people from across the Commonwealth. The generation of tomorrow will then provide live reporting from events, as well as spreading their message via just about every social media and print platform you can imagine! I'm planning a visit to the newsroom to take it all in and hopefully learn a few things from what is undoubtedly a very inspiring team of enthusiastic youngsters.
We also spoke with a very driven and creative team in the form of Emily Reid of Eco-Drama and Gregory Chauvet from Glasgow Bike Station, hearing about their journey through creative concept to practical delivery and beyond! The future does indeed look very bright for these guys and underpinning it all was their passion for what they do. What was wonderful to see was how infectious this passion was and by the end of our cafe culture sessions it had resulted in everyone around the table thinking about how to translate their passions into future plans. So, if you have any plans to work with these guys - take a ticket and get in line, as I think everyone on our course want a piece of their talents too!
Summer is a busy time back in the office - with constant deadlines and milestones, and of course juggling all this at a time when staff are taking their annual summer vacation - so I must admit to being one of those people who has considered the Games in a personal light, but not so much as an organisation. I purchased tickets to take my 5 year old to experience something new and exciting and perhaps inspire her to think about taking up a new sport, and we have a street BBQ in the offing to try to get some ooomph behind community engagement at a street level. Hopefully we will form some new allegiances to tackle something bigger for the benefit of our local community - be it a community garden, improving the street in which we live or dreaming bigger and looking to form a community group tackling some of the bigger problems at a local level.
As the old adage goes, 'from little acorns big oaks grow' - so whilst I may not be as engaged in the workplace as many of my colleagues on the course, through discussions across the day, I was beginning to see how small actions can have considerable impact for the future.
Later in the afternoon we changed direction slightly, revisiting some of our team challenges for progress updates and to listen to and explore new topics. This, for me, was extremely insightful and being provided the time to undertake a degree of self evaluation, something which is difficult for anyone to find the time to do when tackling the daily challenges back at the coal face, was refreshing. Having the support of the team in considering different approaches is very liberating and at the same time grounding, whilst it is reassuring to know that your challenge is not necessarily new and to considerate it from a number of different viewpoints.
I must say, I really can't believe that we are already halfway through the course. When I look back at the varied places we have visited, the people who have gladly given their precious time and experience to talk through their challenges with us and the issues we have tackled, I am in awe of the pace that the Common Purpose team set for us and the supportive environment they foster to allow each participant to mould their own journey. Already we have decided that after graduation, regular contact will be a desired outcome for all - and I hope that this will, in turn, help me to continue to grow my network of contacts and play my part in helping my own team back at work to think big and dream bigger!