Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Training Day

Twas a company 'away day' yesterday. We were off site in a converted hotel bedroom for most of the working day being spoken at by some self important training and development consultant. Are these people born clutching half a bag of flipchart pens?

The department I am employed within of the new company i joined a few months ago has a bit of an image problem. Oh good. Did they think employing me would help? If so, they were mistaken. It's nice to walk into a new job and be told that. No matter, we were here today to put it right, in the presence of someone who wouldnt know an image if it sprayed him purple.

So we arrived at business cliche central primed to come up with an 'action plan' to enable us to 'tick all the boxes' and rectify this problem. They were all there in the room: The negative Harrys complaining about everything, check. the quiet-as-a-mouse Tinas standing in the corner talking to nobody, check. The arse-licking Delias pouring coffee for and sniffling round the boss, check. The positive Timothys feeling energised and challenged, check. Far-too-honest Harriet, check. Sarcastic Terry, check. I'm not changing, i've been here too long Barry, check. And always-late Samantha, check, eventually.

And then through the door slimed Simon, our trainer for the day, check.

Do all training people have afflictions? Most of the ones i've been under have some sort of tick or behavioural twitch which makes focusing on what they're saying very difficult, as you're either watching them very closely or looking away for fear of saying something you shouldnt. Although not focusing on what they're saying isn't such a problem as its mainly 'think outside the box' 'i'm going to car park that', 'shall we check in?' or other rubbish. Is there a shop where you can buy facilitators, or hire them?

Simon carried his bag of what-nots in with him and clicked his fingers and instantly the flip charts were standing, the projector screen was up and the room was set to stun. Which was a bit galling as i'd had the flip chart stand in a half nelson for about 5 minutes and thought that i was near a submission.

We all sat round in our group drinking coffee and making forced conversation, aren't the bacon sandwiches always late and always not worth the wait? Then before we had finished the biscuits he was off, there was no stopping Simon, there were warm ups, check-ins, breakouts, briefings until before we knew it lunch arrived.

Simon slimed around the group as we picked at the sandwiches which seemed to have at least one ingredient in them that all of us didnt like with the lettuce available nowhere else other than hotel buffets, whilst the carbs free people tucked into their sandwich boxes full of health.

Over the other side of the room the the smokers skipped lunch and risked their lives by hanging out of a window for a quick drag. Which seemt a bit ironic - almost killing yourself so that you can kill yourself. Hey, but i'm no preacher.

After lunch was the 'graveyard shift', so Simon had a little trick up his sleeve for ensuring we didnt fall to sleep. I was too transfixed on his twitch to let that happen. But Simon had us holding flipchart pens between the palms of our hands - is there nothing that this man cannot do with flipchart pens?

Then it was the afternoon session. And time to pull all the things we'd talked about in the morning together. Which nowadays consists of one thing:

If i hear Greece beating Portugal in the final of Euro 2004 as a great analogy for teamwork again then i will seriously beat someone over the head with a projector.

"Did anybody see what happened in the final of the European soccer 2004 thats just happened?" Oh God, another part-time football supporter. There's nothing worse for a football supporter than being talked to about football by someone who doesnt understand what they are talking about. I admit it, im a football snob. No, i really am.
No answer.
"Portugal all had their star individual players, what did they think they were going to do?" asked Simon.
"win" answered eager Timothy.
"Thats right Tim, but what about Greece?" countered Simon, there was no need for the rest of us.
"Well they didnt have the individual players but they had a team plan" Tim spewed.
"So Portugal had the better players and Greece had a team plan. And which team kicked the winning goal?"
"Good Tim, so what does that tell us?" set up Simon
"It tells us that we might be good as individuals but we're always better with teamwork"
"Good Tim, remember: there's no 'I' in Team". slimed Simon as looked at us for the signs of thanks for improving our lives immeasurably. While we communally wished for lightning to strike.

I find that the best things about these days is that you get to go home earlier. Before you kill someone.