A year of work in progress – day 181

Day 181 – 23 October 2014

Oktoberfest is either a) The world’s largest funfair held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, a sixteen day festival running from late September to the first weekend in October with more than six million people from around the world attending the event and almost seven million litres of beer consumed every year, or b) The North East’s premier engineering and manufacturing show held annually in Newton Aycliffe, a one day event held in October where no beer is consumed at all.

Guess which one I went to.

I gather that this year the price of beer topped ten euro a litre in Munich for the first time and yet last night I paid a sixth of this for a litre of diesel. It’s a strange world where the price of beer is going up and the price of oil is going down.

Another day, another conference. This was the third time that I’d been to the exhibition. There are always lots of people and plenty of stands to visit. It was all grey suits and glossy tights. I was wearing blues and burgundy (sports jacket not tights). The main reason I went down was to be videoed for a case study with a local engineering firm. They had taken up superfast broadband on the back of the Digital Durham programme, and been able to link their two sites and make use of the improved bandwidth. They have seen growth and even taken on some more people since.

Being in front of the camera is not something I enjoy. As soon as the first question was asked my mouth went dry and I stuttered and stammered. Fortunately we were able to retake the first two responses because by the third I was in the groove. Once it was in the bag I had a tour of the stands. I ended up talking to a few people about Dynamo, Big Data satellites and broadband.

After that I made my way back to Tanfield for the third Senior Project Leads session with OnBrand Partners. These sessions are always intense and it’s great that everyone gets involved. The group has come a long way in the last year but because the change has been incremental it hasn’t always been obvious. We covered how we are in our comfort zone and need to move ourselves into a stretch zone without ending up in the panic zone.

We covered project management, its success factors and challenges. Darran told us about Jeff Hiatt’s ADKAR model, a sequential framework for leading successful projects (Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement). But life is not a string of projects. Things get in the way and compartmentalising our work in such a way can reinforce our silo approach. It makes us work in stripes rather than hoops.

Learning points for today: Video is not my media; there is an edge of stretch; Alvin Stardust was younger than he looked back in the seventies; we are hard upon ourselves and; keeping the Senior Leadership Team quiet is a challenge.

Today’s enjoyment rating 9/10 – training room was a bit hot.

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