The first part of this week has been dedicated to a company sales conference. Itís really been for my USA colleagues but for some reason I got invited along and Iím glad I was.
Iíve learned loads of stuff about our business, what products and services are available in other parts of this now huge group (weíre a $200 million company these days) and Iíve taken away some ideas for stuff we can do in the UK Ė thatís really cool in itself. Iíve also learned a great deal about my colleagues, both new and old. Interestingly I once said of my new boss Ďprobably the same as the old bossí and Iíve been proven wrong about that. This is definitely not the same culture or style we had a couple of years ago. Iím not saying that old was bad and new is good, simply that itís refreshing to have a new style and Iím feeling very fired up with enthusiasm at the moment so I suspect the company probably has achieved one of its objectives for the week. Itís a corporate clichť to say that teams that love each other Ė all the members - do best but Iíve seen it to be true.
Another thing has struck me in the last two days. I am VALUED by the company I work for. Thatís something often said by Ďmanagersí Ė Ďwe value our staffí but in my view, itís not something thatís routinely practiced. In this case, I really genuinely believe it to be true. My opinion counts. I have been quoted today by my bossís boss in the meeting and I reckon that doesnít happen if my opinion isnít worth something. I feel doubly good about that. So Iím fired up with all sorts of enthusiasm tonight.
America still is almost entirely something Iíve not seen. Iíve not even been outside today Ė the conference started at 8am and has gone on until 6.30pm and a quick shower before dinner is all the time Iíve had. Iíve been out now and been to a restaurant in Princeton.
Tonight Iíve learned a lot of things. America has some beautiful places. I know, Iíve been to one of them! Iíve been to a restaurant that had nothing veggie in its menu but the staff were really accommodating and helpful and they made me a wonderful meal. Oh and it was a beautiful setting.
Iíve had a few deep conversations with folks I work with and theyíve been trying (harrowing even). My boss was in NYC on 9/11 and she saw it all happening. She was close to tears as she related to me that her company (she worked for one of our competitors then) had an office that was on floor 50 of one of the twin towers. She herself was based a few hundred yards away in another building.The only member of her team to be killed was a lady whoíd gone to a training course on the 80th floor that morning. I didnít know what to say. She was biting back tears recounting her own experience of the day. She was very brave. Thatís the human spirit in evidence absolutely. I saw the world through her eyes for a few moments and it wasnít pretty.
One of the members of my own team based in Epsom has been in tears because her life is a mess. Iíve tried to support her but at the end of the day, only she can move herself from her dark place. I just hope she can do it sooner rather than later.
All-in-all, itís the same things that make us tick, to love and be loved. Surely we all deserve that and surely if we do that people wonít want to kill themselves and others. I hope so.
This photo is the entrance way to my hotel. Itís magically beautiful. I love it. The photo has the new moon in the background Ė regeneration and new hope looms for all of us.
Having had another look at this photo I know DM will hate its very wonky horizon - sorry!