22 April 2009

An Excursion

picture by Believe Collective

On Monday I received an unexpected summons to the Strategy and Planning Department - they wanted me to brief them on the progress of Project Phoenix.

My spirits were lifted, as I don't often get to visit the C-Suite on the 27th floor. "I would be delighted", I emailed back, "I am free any morning next week between 10 and 12".

They suggested 3pm the following afternoon.

Everyone likes to go up to the 27th floor.

Not for the thick carpets, free mineral water and expensive art on the walls, but because it reassures us that our company don't all spend their time performing reconciliations, testing SOX controls, writing progress reports and wrestling with the automatic bulleting software in Powerpoint.  Nope, up on the 27th floor we also make plans, decisions and budgets. "It's like work", I was once told by an indiscreet SPD staffer, at his leaving drinks, "but makes you feel really important - and without having to connect to the outside world"

I had sent my slides ahead, and when I arrived in the SPD conference room, there was the quick thrill of seeing my presentation printed out and bound up, a pack neatly at each seat at the table. But this time something was different and seeing our familiar Phoenix logo brightly on each cover page I gave a sort of squeak of surprise, and was too much taken aback to hold my tongue: "You can print in colour!",  I said. "Yes," they said, "we can print in colour, We have that privilege"

I hurried through my presentation, which was entitled Whence Project Phoenix and which asked whether the stakeholders were realising the benefits from which and indeed by which the project was justified.  After five slides I was interrupted by senior MD who looked up from his blackberry momentarily to ask "Sorry, but who exactly are you?". I smoothly referred him right back to slide one, and was allowed to continue.

All in all I think it went pretty well: I didn't losing my thread, and I got to the end without asking if there was anyone there from Tarporley.

But I wish someone had warned me about that colour printer: If I had only known I would have taken the trouble to make sure that all green traffic light symbols adorning my handouts were, well, green.


M4GD said...

Kudos for being prepared to handle the ‘unexpected summon.’! Handling the unexpected is a great gift to have! Well done! So, did you get them to connect with the outside world? Did the room have a view? What was your ice-breaker? Apart from the Blackberry addict, did they make eye contact with you? Did the stakeholders realize the benefits? What sort of feedback did you get (A wink, a thank you, a handshake, a coffee invite afterwards to discuss it some more…) Do you think even if they had warned you about the color printer capability, would you have still wondered if it was the right shade of green? And finally, what voice did you use?! ;-)

On another note, I’m just curious to learn if you got more hits/visits to your blog when the news gone amok using the words ‘Qualitative Easing” a couple of months ago? Enjoy the sunshine :-)

outside-jane said...

The outside world is over-rated.

Great blog - did the SPD staffer really say that? Fabulous!

Botogol said...

@M4GD - i don't really do eye contact and I didn't look up so I am not sure about view.
I used my 'petulant' voice :-)

@outside-jane - well, sort of. SPD are very orthodox, but I remember thinking 'he is too intelligent. He sees too clearly and speaks too plainly. The Party does not like such people. One day he will disappear. It is written in his face.