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Confidence as a cultural value

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Speakers at the confidence values day

As we've mentioned before, we have four cultural values here in PDS: care, community, curiosity, and confidence. To help people understand the values and reflect on what they can mean for them and their team we've been holding a series of values days.

Learning from the previous values day

We volunteered to curate a day dedicated to confidence. We learned from the feedback received after the care day and we focused on the subjects our colleagues wanted to hear about when they thought about confidence.

We gave people dedicated time away from their day jobs to hear some inspiring speakers, to take part in practical activities, and to think about what confidence can mean to them and their teams.

Many different ways of being confident

We kicked off with Kiko Matthews talking about bravery and building confidence in the face of adversity. Kiko overcame life threatening illness to become a world record holder as the fastest solo woman rower to cross the Atlantic in March 2018. Her incredible achievements inspired us to think about how we could tackle our own challenges and also find pleasure in simple, small things like sunsets, sea views, and finding a packet of sweets you forgot you had.

Building confidence at work is sometimes about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and facing your fears. Our Director of Live Services, Rob Sanders, talked about overcoming his terror of presenting using a mix of personal insight and psychology. Rob took us through his own journey from avoiding presentations to becoming the confident and accomplished presenter he is today, sharing some vital tricks and tips.

Confidence can be about being ourselves, having confidence in who we are, and the value of the unique perspectives, experiences, and knowledge we all bring to work with us. Many of us identified with Clare Moriarty’s experience of trying to blend in at work to succeed. She gradually starting wearing a grey suit and had a more sober appearance until only the red shoelaces from her preferred style of dress remained. Clare encouraged us to embrace the things that are unique to us to make our workplace more diverse and reflective of society as a whole.

After lunch, Jo Franchetti introduced us to ‘Mo’, a woman working in tech who gradually lost confidence in her abilities through a combination of imposter syndrome, anxiety, and perfectionism. Jo invited us all to recognise the signs of this destructive thinking and offered us things we can all do to value our own abilities and skills.

We finished the day with two completely different sessions. Gavin Elliot gave a hard-hitting, moving, and intensely personal account of his experience of anger, bereavement, and mental health problems. He also talked about how he has rebuilt his inner strength and confidence to become the man and the father he wants to be.

Anita Prabhu closed the day with a practical workshop on how to sell ourselves and our skills with confidence. As a contractor, Anita has become an expert in job applications and interviews and she shared the importance of being confident in the value of your skills and contribution. Attendees worked through a series of exercises to present their skills and experience in the best way possible to get that promotion.

Feedback from the day

We had some great feedback from colleagues:

I thought it was fantastic day, the talks were interesting and thought provoking. The set up provided me with the flexibility to dip in and out of the talks around my diary.

With one talking about the importance of taking time out of the working day:

It was a great opportunity to step back from the 'day to day' and focus on personal and team development. I loved all of the morning presentations, including hearing from a colleague about how they have overcome their personal challenges. Having a whole day dedicated to development in this way is a really visible way to demonstrate the Digital Service's commitment to its staff.

Alongside the day we ran some lunchtime learning sessions throughout the week as we know that not all colleagues have the kind of role or working arrangements that allow them to attend a whole day event. PDS colleagues ran varied sessions from building confident teams to increasing your personal impact at work. These sessions were really popular and something we’ll be doing again in the future.

Read more about the cultural values at PDS.  

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