Hi! I’m Chris.
I have just joined Perago as a Communications Manager. And I’ve not stopped smiling yet.
It’s a great feeling when you start a new job. The excitement, the thought of meeting new colleagues, learning about new things and new ways of working, looking for opportunities to make your mark and add value – though it’s often mixed with a degree of trepidation and, if we’re honest a little ‘imposter syndrome’.
Though starting with Perago feels a little different to that.
The Perago way.
I’m really proud to say I have a bit of history with Perago. In the sense that I knew all of the founders before Perago was even Perago.
We worked together in the DVLA throughout a large-scale digital transformation where I led the internal communications team.
We learned then that change won’t be a success without successful communication and so we formed a really good way of thinking differently about communication.
Together, we moved away from considering communications as ‘putting something on the Intranet’ or ‘sending an all-colleague email’ – to something that people could experience, learn from or, dare I say it even enjoy!
After the DVLA, I took an opportunity to work in the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) as their Head of Internal Communications, by which time Perago was a thing.
At the time Perago was doing a piece of work with the IPO and Dave Floyd and I decided it would make sense for us to car share from Swansea.
We spent hours each week chatting in the car going up and down the M4 about the relationship between communications and change and how we could make things better – and Dave would tell me all about the everyday challenges of setting up a company from scratch.
And I remember thinking as he spoke; the ‘Perago way’ seems so native to me. I’d love to work with them again sometime.
Is it all the same though?
But I was also conscious that I’d been in the Civil Service for around 14 years and really wanted to experience different companies in different sectors – would the challenges be the same? Would it be easier without some of the bureaucracy? Would it be more difficult with less structure or governance? All questions I wanted to understand.
So, after making the giant leap (that any civil servant will understand) into the private sector, followed by a really excellent time with the great people at Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (a not for profit) – I can say there are many differences across the sectors, but not in the core approach of supporting change through comms.
Regardless of the sector, company or programme, you have to be clear about:
- your objectives, (those of the business as a whole and the comms objectives that support them),
- who it affects,
- how the change fits in with everything else is going on?
- how and what is going to be communicated
- how to make it resonate and involve people (not just tell!)
- how are we going to measure if it works?
And once you have that clear, to remember your audiences are human. People relate best to people.
No amount of talking about the latest Agile playbook is going impress anyone and will probably send many to sleep (or worse, isolate them for good), but making Agile a thing that people can put a face and friendly voice to, interact with, have input to and feel a shared pride in the outcome will get people on board with change. And that human element is what Perago does best.
So why does it feel different to join Perago?
And that’s why it feels a bit different starting at Perago. It feels like I’ve been with them on the sidelines since the start. Hearing their deliberations before they launched. Seeing them develop and grow – and feeling privileged that I’ve been able to join whilst there is still a lot of growing to do.
Perago has been around for 5 years, but in relative terms it feels great to be in ‘at the start’.
I’m looking forward to getting to know the wider Perago team, meeting a load of new people, learning what great work is going on in digital in Wales (and beyond!) and being part of that change. If you’re interested in having a chat about anything I’ve spoken about – please do get in touch.
Written by: Victoria Ford • Mar 9, 2021