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.