I wasn’t looking forward to today; the 5.30 crawl from my nice warm bed, the 6.59 train to London and then onward to “glorious” Swindon. Everything was a fine as could be expected, out of the house dressed, presentable, correct papers in briefcase, and a decent parking space at the station (i.e. one of the old wide ones not the new skimpy ones where you just know your door is going to get bashed), until I get to Paddington and the mobile goes off.

“The meeting’s been brought forward from 10.30 to 9.00”. It’s now 8.40 and I’m over an hour away from Swindon. I let it be known , without losing it, that I’m not too happy at this rather late notification and that I can’t be there before 10. So we agree I will still turn up and will have a briefing at the end of the meeting to catch up.

I ring my manager from the train to rant about a “failure to communicate”. She tells me I’m so incensed they’ll know all about it the moment I walk in the the meeting, no chance of it wearing off before I get to the office!

Just to make me really happy it is snowing a blizzard when I get off the train at Swindon, and the office is 10minutes walk from the station, into the driving snow.

A London colleague deflated my anger by announcing joyfully, “You’re late!” when I put my head through the door. Dealing with these things is a lot easier when everyone knows you are in the right. There were plenty of apologies; the meeting organiser blamed the accountant for asking for the meeting to be brought forward, and a mix-up in passing on the changed time; the Publishing Manager was nice enough to say “You come in from East Anglia, don’t you, how long does that take?”, which gave me the opportunity to say that a 9 o’clock in Swindon means getting the 05.26 from home, so it isn’t really on, even if I had been informed.

Laughably, one of the big issues at the meeting was the failure to engage regional staff in the processes we were discussing , or to get them to attend meetings, and they wondered why!!!!

I work for a national organisation with 8 regional offices , from Manchester to Bristol, plus major offices in London and Swindon. Unfortunately, no matter what is done to foster a “corporate community” London and Swindon still expect everyone to come to them. No wonder we don’t get buy-in from the regions.

In the end, I got what I wanted from the meeting and a few side-meetings and was able to be back home by 4.00.

I shall now have a large glass of wine – I’ve earned it.

(snarfed a couple of buildings for Markeroni – there aren’t that many historic buildings in Swindon, unless you count 70’s shopping centres as old!)

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