100 Days as CEO of Hello Sunday Morning

It’s traditional for incoming CEOs to give a report on their first 100 days of findings and changes, so here are my impressions, priorities and initial moves since starting at HSM in June. We’re ten years old and the last ten years has been a remarkable journey. From its humble beginnings when Chris started blogging about his own journey without alcohol, to today where we are continually helping thousands of people change their relationship with alcohol. Today the organisation is demonstrating real social impact in our community. My job is to build on that success story. 

We are in a strong position, which gives us an opportunity to clarify our future direction and build financial sustainability into the organisation, so that we can help people change their relationship with alcohol for generations to come. 

Strengthening our current position

Landing a new contract is always a great feeling, but when the Product Engineering and Clinical teams are working at capacity the ‘to-do’ list can get a little crowded, and that’s the situation we were facing halfway through this year. I’ve responded to this by splitting the Tech and User Experience team from the Clinical team and appointing a new Head of Tech (Cameron Lazall) to reshape the new Product Engineering team and prioritise the contract deliverables with his revitalised team. We’ve also created the new role of Head of Digital Health to head up the Clinical team, and that search is still underway. At the same time, we’re developing a new contracts management process to ensure smooth integration from initial negotiation, through sign-off and all the way through to implementation. 

Strengthening our financial position

Along with the Head of Tech, our new Head of Finance, Kirsty Walker, has also joined the Executive team. Kirsty comes to us with a wealth of CFO experience in the commercial and not-for-profit sector. Her priorities will be to implement a new budgeting process, develop ways to measure the return on investment for our contracts, and develop the new contracts management process. She’ll also work with the Executive team to improve our financial reporting between executive leadership and the Board, including a broader management dashboard.

One area that needs to be addressed quickly is our funding base. Put simply, we need to build a pot of funds that we can use for opportunities that fall outside of the deliverables written into our contracts, and we are in the early stages of working with a fundraising consultant who can help us identify areas of opportunity for fundraising. 

Lifting our standards in quality, safety, privacy and governance

We’ve been capturing key business- and clinical risks for the past year, and we’re developing a roadmap that prioritises our approach to meeting organisational and clinical quality and safety standards. These will set us up well for achieving ISO9001 accreditation by the end of next year.

Developing a strong culture to support our strategic direction

Against the backdrop of COVID isolation, there have been significant staffing changes within a short time, including the departure of Chris and Jamie, a new CEO, a new Head of Finance and a new Head of Tech. Remote working is having an impact on the team, and some of us are struggling with working from home for such an extended period. Onboarding new team members remotely also poses a challenge because there is less of an opportunity to establish strong connections. 

We’re responding to this by encouraging self-care across the organisation, revising the performance planning structure, and recruiting some great new people to the organisation (who are already having an impact!). 

Preparing for growth

We’re challenging ourselves to come up with a revised three-year strategy that is realistic yet ambitious, with an aim of demonstrating even bigger social impact. Working groups are already looking at options and we’ll be getting Board input later in the year.

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