CEO Roundup: Uncertainty of Survival for the Home
Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home CEO, Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, gives us another update on what has been happening at the Home over the past week.
Monday 25th May
My my how is it possible that we’ve reached the last week of May without even blinking? I look back and reflect on what the past few weeks have been like this morning and I feel like I’ve lived a lifetime and I certainly feel like I can’t have been in this role for nearly two full months. It’s a commonly known fact that when any new CEO joins an organisation they of course want to change and adjust things to better suit how they think the organisation needs to grow and develop. While I’ve been at the Home for coming up to five years this summer, I certainly had those ideas of my own. New ways of working, innovation, streamline working and more networking and engagement. Well that plan went out the window along with the organisation’s ten-year financial strategy. The funny thing is that I’m not the least bit unsettled by that-I in fact like change as a leader and I don’t mind being kept on my feet. When you come from working in disaster management thinking on your feet becomes second nature. The uncertainty of what might come in my role doesn’t fill me with fear or the lack of ‘knowing’ what structures I would like to bring in. The luxury that would have been a normal first hundred days for me. The only unsettling fact I contend with is the uncertainty of survival for the Home. What I do know is I won’t rest, and I know our senior team won’t rest until we know that won’t happen but that’s going to take much longer than my first hundred days that’s for sure!
Tuesday 26th May
Thank goodness the sun is shining today, and the endless possibilities of outdoor play lie ahead…I couldn’t be more grateful as the idea of being stuck inside trying to coax my daughter outside in colder weather would be a tough line up. We have endless water play, picnics and relaxing together. We unfortunately stumble across the concept of loss when the ice lolly that’s being enjoyed in the mid-afternoon heat melts and drops on the floor faster than she can keep up. The look of absolute heartbreak on my daughters face with big fat tears rolling down is hard to take. It leads to a much bigger discussion about things that go away and that brings home to me how much she has lost over the past few months-the people she normally sees, the activities she normally does. She’s soldiered her way through with our love and care but has coped admirably really in the grand scheme of things. I might just need to be careful to avoid lolly pops for a few days….
Wednesday 27th May
Today holds my usual never-ending ping pong of zoom, catch up’s and information sharing. I’m finding the weekly team meeting with our behind the scenes super stars so uplifting as it just demonstrates how much ground is being covered by everyone with so much less than we had before. Now I’ve mentioned before I’m not too hot on social media and I have introduced myself to twitter as part of my role, with some success. However, there is a whole world of social engagement I’m aware that we are accessing at the Home. One of the newer ones for us is Tiktok and I’ve decided there is nothing better than seeing our dogs featured along with to a soundtrack-it’s become an addiction to watch them! However, the words from one of the digital team “we now have a group for Tiktok content” just filled me with so much pride and admiration for how much everyone has risen to the challenge of this crisis and have become so creative on behalf of the Home. My day ends up with us planning the date for when we’re going to get the Home partially open again and I’m so excited to get us going again for all those deserving dogs and cats ready to go to Homes. They have been so patient, so much more than I have been! This feels like a win for the Home is beginning to build.
Thursday 28th May
I’ve recently joined a network for CEO’s called ACOSVO and joined my first zoom call with other CEO’s who have also recently been appointed. It was wonderful to be connected to others who are in a similar position to myself and who are also juggling the impossible task of getting it all right during this crisis. It was fantastic to share those highlights and the challenges and to make some space for myself to hear others talk about this and not just have critical information sharing to help further the organisation. The rest of Thursday is spent in a flurry of phone calls and zoom video’s connecting and deciding the way forward on things. Lockdown lifting slightly helps that feeling of optimism but doesn’t lift my feeling of uncertainty about what will change when. So many unknown’s can fry your brain a little especially when they span both your work and personal life. Tomorrow is my last working day of May and I’m going to make the best of it with the sun shining overhead.
Friday 29th May
It’s such a glorious day and I’m pleased to be looking ahead into the weekend with the ability to see people I love dearly, even in a socially distant way. I know my daughter is going to be so excited to be near all these special people to her again. I’ll also be tuning in to follow the success of our global event ‘Jog with Gobi’ this Saturday. It’s going to be fantastic to see so many pull on their trainers and get out there in aid of the Home. I’ve been careful to protect some of my time this morning to get some of my admin done and catch up on emails and paperwork before I launch into meetings. I think back over the phone calls and discussions I’ve had this week. Some of it tough not being able to provide the certainty to everyone I so desperately want to; along with the phone call to our Rehoming Operations Manager agreeing the date she will come back off furlough to help us get our rehoming work moving forward with the kennel management team. That was a phone call made with a huge smile and a sense of hope of what’s coming for the Home. My parting feeling for this week is while that restless energy to save the Home never ceases it’s been quieted a little by the feeling of hope that rehoming will bring and sense of healing for the organisation that we’ve got back to the full cycle of our mission to not only rescue and reunite but to also rehome. The next few weeks of preparations for this are incredibly exciting! Tune in again next week for more on how our dogs, cats and people are coping in this crisis.