New Music – April 2016

April has been a good month for music. I’ve found plenty to listen to on freezing walks to the train station in the morning, and significantly warmer journeys home. I’ve bought a few records, spent hours listening to Spotify, and yet this list only really scratches the surface of the music that’s been released over the last month. It’s still a long list though, and probably about as much new music as I can reasonably listen to (as opposed to hear) in a month when I’m working every day and doing all the other things I do.

May will be a different kind of month as I’ll be at home more; with a two week break from work and a couple of long weekends. I’m not sure if that will change how I listen to music (or what I listen to), but I know I am very much looking forward to it.

I’m not sure what my favourite record from this list is, although I do have a soft spot for Direction of Travel by She Makes War. I’ve had this record a while, but it was properly released this month and I really hope a lot more people get to hear it. I’m also growing increasingly fond of The Magnetic North’s – Prospect of Skelmersdale which manages to make the town of Skelmersdale sound both beautiful and appealing (somehow).

My list for April is:

Black Mountain – IV
She Makes War – Direction of Travel
Yeasayer – Amen and Goodnight
The Magnetic North – Prospect of Skelmersdale
Mogwai – Atomic
Frightened Rabbit – Painting of a Panic Attack
Kevin Morby – Singing Saw
PJ Harvey – The Hope Six Demolition Project
Rufus Wainwright – Take all my Loves
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes – Person A
Tinpan Orange – Love is a Dog
Face+Heel – Our Prince’s Quarry
Brian Eno – The Ship
Guided by Voices – Please be Honest

Managing for efficiency and effectiveness

The latest module of my ILM5 training was called Managing for efficiency and effectiveness. I was a lot more comfortable with this as a subject than budgetary control, and my main learning point was that I was on the right track with a lot of the things I’m already doing, and that the way I organise myself and my time is fairly efficient and effective without me needing to make huge changes to how I work. I found it useful to compare the material in the session to research I’ve already done into Lean IT and Lean Six Sigma, and I’ll be doing further comparison once I’ve gone through Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt training which starts tomorrow.

The only mildly uncomfortable thing we covered was around feedback, and as part of the assignment I’ve got to ask people I’ve managed, supervised or otherwise lead to feed back on my management style. I wrote some questions yesterday, made them into a questionnaire this morning, and will start sending it out to people tomorrow. I’ve never been particularly comfortable asking for feedback, but it’s something that I think is very important as I think that regardless of how self-aware I might be, I’m always going to have blind spots.

As well as writing an assignment based on this feedback, I’ll also be starting the main phase of my final project, which involves planning and executing a major change in the workplace. The work I’m going to be doing is related to Lean IT, and making the flow of work through a system as efficient as possible by optimising working processes. I’m hoping to start the serious work on this in the next couple of weeks, and will be presenting the results at a talk in June (which I’ll probably repeat a couple of times for my team if all goes well).