Diary – A lighter take on the week

Monday: Our first ever human resources director is starting today. She has come from a bank and I hope she is not too horrified by what she sees. She is excited, which is good. Her face changes when I tell her about some of our previous practices and the challenge ahead. Ah well, best to get the bad news over quickly I meet two young disabled people who have just found housing and jobs. They rave about our service. I glow with nostalgia for the days when I actually did things rather than just organising them. Make a mental note to congratulate my staff.

Tuesday: I am glad to see my HR director has turned up for work and is looking happy again. Get the train to London and go to the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations 20th anniversary bash at 10 Downing Street. Chatter turns to silence as Tony Blair enters the room. Then a feeding frenzy of CEOs competing to meet our soon to be ex-leader. Despite some skilled manoeuvring, I fail to converse before he rushes off for a live teleconference with the USA. We politely listen to Stephen Bubb instead.

Wednesday: Back at base, the HR director is still here. Letter arrives telling me that we’re not getting a major slug of investment from a large merchant bank. Not this year anyway. Swear a lot then talk to my finance director who is a Buddhist and calms me down. Over a cup of herbal tea we decide this is not a crisis. My mood lifts when I come across a full page newspaper article singing our praises. Just manage to stop myself emailing it to said merchant bank.

Thursday: Down to London again. Speak to a conference at National Council of Voluntary Organisations for people from smaller charities about our brave new world – Tesco-isation and all that. Tell them they need to get real about professional management and the convergence of the three sectors. It goes down surprisingly well. Five years ago I would have been chased out of the building. Later on I meet up with another CEO and we talk about how to succeed as a small, national charity. The best way, we concluded after much deliberation, is to become a big national.

Friday: Write a job description for a chief operating officer role to replace my longstanding (and long suffering) deputy who’s leaving to become a CEO. My HR director helps me make it sound right. Appointing her already feels like money well spent. Our fundraising consultant calls to say he’s secured a prominent Tory with an interesting past for an event in the autumn. If we want him. I ask for the weekend to think it over

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