I’m not sure if I will ever get to do this again but I have been beavering away trying to fill in a European Regional Development Fund form. If you have ever been involved in such a thing then you will understand the complexity and you have my sympathy. If you haven’t then you have done well to avoid them.
Many of the things I get involved in require the coordination of many individuals, some in positions of authority and others who can help me with the more laborious tasks. During my discussions people will say ‘have you spoken to so and so’ and off I trot to meet up with them. They may also say ‘have you done such and such’ and I think about it for a while and end up doing many of their suggestions. Building a coalition and garnering people’s cooperation requires me to listen and act upon their suggestions.
So it was that I ended up filling in the ERDF, actually it was and ESIF form, following a suggestion from one of our local politicians. He liked the idea I put forward and one of his advisors suggests that I may be able to get some money if I applied. I nodded in agreement and endeavoured to at least fill in the forms for stage one of the process. As always, time was tight but I was offered some support to achieve the task. Thank goodness as filling in such forms is an onerous task, one that requires experience, patience, tolerance and a degree of artistry.
In business I have learnt to be brief in reports, to use the minimum amount of words to make the maximum impact yet this does not seem to be the way to fill in an ESIF form. Each question required an answer in itself, I couldn’t assume that the answer to previous questions would be brought forward or that the reader would have any understanding of what my objectives were.
The help I was offered was invaluable. Where I thought I had filled in the form well, it turned out that I had done badly while where I thought I had done badly, I had done quite well. She encouraged me to go back to the bid documentation and reflect the questions in my responses.
I have got to the end. I have sent the forms back to the person supporting me for a final read through and am ready to press send. The process has been useful in helping me to gather my thoughts on paper and gain the support of influential people. You neve know, I may get some money as well. Fingers crossed.