Monday morning at the bank always starts with a full co-worker meeting – it’s great to get everyone in the same room and feel a sense of shared mission and purpose. The format of the meeting is pretty standard, with one department or team giving an update on their work and future plans as the main focus, while other co-workers share smaller items of news before and after. The Environment Team is presenting to us this week, talking about the bank’s investments in sustainable energy projects in the UK such as wind turbines and hydro-electric power. We’re reminded of the effect that greenhouse gases have in warming the atmosphere, and how many tons of GHGs a typical UK house emits in a year. I doubt many other banks start their week this way – it’s what helps to make Triodos such a unique place to work.
Following the team meeting it’s back to my desk where I take a look at my diary for the day and the week ahead. First on my list is my project to deliver project management training to co-workers in the bank. We’re running the first training event at the end of July, so I spend most of the morning calling and talking with folks involved in delivery: ensuring their contributions will be ready on time, that material conforms to branding guidelines, and collating feedback on draft versions of presentations. Since the ability to adapt to changing market conditions is crucial in a fast-moving sector like financial services, in my view it’s important that all co-workers can make an effective contribution to change projects – this skill-set shouldn’t just be the preserve of the project manager. Hence the training programme.
Once I’m satisfied that everything is on track, I check up on how it’s going with another project I’m coordinating – a marketing push on the sale of Depository Receipts, which are the bank’s version of shares. We have weekly progress meetings during the push, but as any good project manager knows, you don’t just wait until the meeting to check the status of actions! So I make a couple of calls to find out how certain tasks are going. This is my personal style: project management by conversation! In my experience if you can get something done by virtue of your relationship with a colleague, rather than just because you’re a manager, so much the better.
Before and after lunch I work on a session that I’m giving at the project management training event, on the theme of keeping projects on course to meet time, cost and quality constraints. Rather than explaining this through the traditional training method of ‘death by PowerPoint’, I’ve designed the session around a team exercise instead. The exercise aims to demonstrate the importance of starting a project by agreeing the exact specification for a piece of work with a customer. Basically it involves giving teams a rather woolly brief, and then issuing further refinements about what’s wanted during the course of the 10-minute exercise. Hopefully it will be fun, infuriating and educative in equal measure, giving people a good reference point for the future! I run through the details of the exercise with some other co-workers who have project management experience in the afternoon, get their feedback, and tweak a couple of things to make it even better.
Then it’s a case of dealing with email relating to the questions and requests for status that I put out in this morning, before I do a rehearsal for a presentation I’m giving tomorrow morning. And that’s it for Monday.