Squared Online – lessons from Project One

If you’ve been following my Squared Online journey, you’ll know that we completed our first group project last month. In my last blog post, I said how happy I was with our completed project and that I thought we’d do really well.

We didn’t.

In fact, we received the pass mark. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement but after a little digging, we found that actually a lot of groups had received just the pass mark (6) or a 7. The feedback from our marker was rather frustrating as at times it seemed a bit too vague. For example:

“Provide compelling evidence to support your business ideas ability to deliver long-term growth”

We were asked to provide ‘compelling evidence’ but given no indication as to what this compelling evidence should have been. Suffice to say we challenged our feedback and were pleased to receive more detailed comments and also one section where our score changed from a 6 to a 7.

Having looked at some of the other group’s presentations, which were shared via our Google Plus group, it was clear that we hadn’t gone in to as much detail as those who scored higher than us.

Lessons learnt:

1. Much more is expected than is defined in the project brief.

2. If you think you’ve done enough research, you haven’t.

3. Make sure your audio covers more than what is already on the slides. Our feedback was that we needed to add more depth.

4. Two areas that really seem to matter in terms of marking are: originality of your idea and scalability.

5. Don’t be afraid. We weren’t happy with our feedback so we challenged it. This ensured we had more detailed feedback to actually learn from and put in to practice.

Our next project is due next week and we’re hoping to improve on the last score. So, watch this space!

The best and worst letter I’ve ever received

My husband and I share a love of dogs. As we rent our flat, we’re unable to have a dog of our own. Although, even if we did own a property, I’m not sure we could have a dog just yet as we both leave home early in the morning and are not home until around 7pm.

One of the first birthday presents I gave my husband was sponsoring a Dogs Trust dog in his name. Every year my husband receives birthday, Christmas and even Valentine’s cards from his sponsor dog, Shane.

Then he received this letter.

Letter from Dogs Trust

Shane had passed away.

I’m not ashamed to say I cried my eyes out. I’m even tearing up just writing this. Yes we never got to meet Shane but he had been our sponsor dog for years. Pictures of him are on our fridge. He’s the dog we never had.

But this post is not about losing Shane, it’s about how Dog’s Trust handled that communication to us. It’s a sad letter but a lovely one too as it talks all about Shane – what kind of dog he was, how he was loved and cared for by the Dogs Trust staff (sadly Shane never found a forever home) and how he would genuinely be missed. And I completely believe every word.

Now of course Dogs Trust doesn’t want to lose our monthly donation so they’ve chosen another dog for us to sponsor. They’ve given us the option to choose another dog or amend our sponsorship and have given us a telephone number should we wish to call them.

So meet Lollipop.

Lollipop

Lollipop will now be our new sponsor dog and we’re looking forward to receiving our first Christmas card from her and supporting her (and other dogs like her) through our continued sponsorship.

I believe that charities can, with well written and sensitive communication, turn a sad (or bad) situation in to a positive. This letter is a great example of that.