Tuesday, March 12, 2002

The presentation went well, though starting it by saying that neither I nor the company really cared at all about the EFQM was, perhaps, shock tactics. The company doesn't want to go in for an award, and the scoring is secondary: the aim is to identify strengths for future benchmarking against other parts of the company and areas of improvement to tackle, preferable for a (very) quick win. Considering that practically everyone else is opting for a FACE approach (=perception-based questionnaire devised by Quality Scotland), and I said that after trying it in 1997, we would never even consider using it again, was probably a little cruel as well, though no one picked up on it. If they had, I would probably have said that our managers found it too mechanistic, too time-consuming and too power-controlled by an outsider (the Quality Scotland facilitator). It's like playing speed chess: you have three minutes per question and five minutes per break and then, after getting the individual questions, you have to go back to get the consensus. As the Thus risk manager said, it's possible, with a little coaxing and selling of the continuous improvement philosophy, to get a gaggle of managers into a small room for one session, but persuading already busy and now extremely reluctant people to repeat the experience is next to impossible.

I'm gonna do some stats on people who go sick just before or during a training course. I had to fight the programme manager to let little Miss X go on a presentation skills course tomorrow (he refused once and I had to do a long justification report) and what's she done today? Gone sick. It could well be that she's having a diplomatic sickness, getting her presentation finished. And as for Mr R, him with the long, ginger ponytail, what was it doing undulating down the corridors at five minutes past three this afternoon when it was supposed to be soaking up Assertiveness training? It's true that someone who has the chutzpah to wear a long ponytail in a short back and sides company may be considered to have a certain amount of assertiveness already; it's also true that the programme manager makes (in my opinion) a tactical error of judgement by allocating quiet, nice, polite people to such courses. I called Mr R over for an explanation: he thought we'd agreed he didn't need it (true, but we'd both been overruled on this by his manager), so he'd just gone on holiday and ignored my emails. Growl.

Monday, March 11, 2002

So, just why is there this attitude that going to France is a jolly? Springtime in Paris does sound like fun, but when it's translated into a crowded rushed journey to the grimy outskirts of an industrial quarter, stuffed in a room, negotiating multi-lingually, with economy flights at unsociable hours at each end of the trip and only the most basic of buffet hospitality food, then, suddenly, staying at one's own desk in one's own (not very quiet) corner seems more desirable than usual. The gym was fun, even falling off the step between the activity area and the reclining audience bit (but I just laughed it off as an unscheduled exercise). Never have I been so grateful for a small sip of water.

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