Group hug, anyone?

After the unnecessary roadtrip into the realm of crunchy bedsheets on Tuesday and Wednesday, we were dropped into a strategic planning meeting. It was held off-site on Thursday. Knowing where you’re going is important, and a critical part of my job is to guide investment strategy decisions.

Under a prior organizational regime, this was a vile, evil multi-functional process, consisting of two consecutive weeks of Power Point Poisoning, no written documentation, confused and often conflicting purpose (including annual data-collection, program execution evaluation in addition to strategic planning). Dozens of individuals were derailed from actual work to support “chart making” – both the compulsory charts and those used in the freestyle portion of the competition* for resources.

The architect of the new, improved process is none other than the Chief of Operations – and organizational goose slayer – my friend T.  Since the new process is streamlined and focused, it is tying up far fewer human resources. There were many people** who were apparently miffed at being “left out” of the process.

The day before the big meeting, T shipped an e-mail with logistics for the planning session to those involved.  With more patience than i could muster on my best day – soaking in a tub with vicodin and chocolate – he included the following:

ATTENDEES – Division Chiefs, Portfolio Managers, and a few staff members are the only invitees to the Thursday, 8 May meeting. The Portfolio Managers and a few additional players might be asked to come in on Friday, 9 May. Div Chiefs/Deputies, please be sure other division personnel (such as your Technical Directors, Branch Technical Advisors) know that while they are still cherished members of our team they are not needed for this particular meeting.

* i’ve considered sponsoring an annual event known as “The Program Management Olympics” — and one key challenge is to present information to an unknown audience, using materials prepared by someone else… No doubt, i’d be a gold medalist…

** These are, by the way, many of the same people who whined endlessly about having to do the old process…