Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Tomorrow's schedule for the Euro Summit is said to look like this
12:00 - Merkel delivers speech to Bundestag
14:00 - Bundestag starts voting
17:45 - Leaders arrive for the Summit
18:00 - Working session of the EC
19:15 - Working dinner
20:00 - Continuation of Eurozone meetings
22:00 - Press statements could start to emerge
Now over the years, TMM have attended many management "off sites" with just as impressive sounding schedules. However, from experience we think it will actually go like this -
11.30 - Meet at the venue for first round of coffee and the type of biscuits that go with coffee that you never actually see in the shops. Head straight for the most friendly unthreatening face in the crowd and make small talk.
11.50 - Wander into main hall for opening speech with coffee cup and find all seats too closely spaced, so no shoulder room to lift arm and drink coffee. Leave coffee on floor.
11.55 - Watch as delegate squeezing past kicks your coffee over the pile of papers you found on your chair but moved onto the floor.
12.00 - Listen to speech, guaranteed to be peppered with references to challenges, rising to them, team, going forward, commitment (normally yours to them not theirs to you) and success.
12.15 - Start checking Blackberry in bored manner.
12.30 - Start to regret not visiting a restroom after the 4 bolted coffees in the foyer.
12.45 - Find a Blackberry game in the depths of the menu and start playing it for the next hour.
14.00 - We have to vote?? On what? But I wasn't listening ! Oh jeez. Ask neighbour if it's a secret ballot. Yes? Oh good , doesn't matter which I tick then.
15.00 - Ask someone what you are meant to do now and calculate if there is time to go back to your room for an hours nap as still wearing the pain of the "get to know you drinks" from the night before.
16.00 - Realise, scanning your handout, that you are meant to have prepared a case study, entitled "How you would rescue a European in trouble (with examples and calculations)", ready for the 18.00 working session.
16.05 - Panic and ring a friend and ask for ideas, fending off protestations of "well its a bit late isn’t it”
17.00 - Start writing out a sketchy framework based on what you know from personal experience and from your friend.
18.00 - Rush to the "Working Session"and arrive to realise that you misread the title and they weren't referring to dragging a European from a burning building or out of the sea, but the financial rescue of the Euro Zone. Panic and start scribbling down what you have recently read in the press and seen on TV news.
18.30 - The white flip charts appear and everyone has to present their ideas. You are luckily 5th. Still scribbling, take ideas from last four presenters and build them into your own.
18.45 - Present your ideas on how to save Europe using 3 different coloured pens and the flip chart. Phew, think you got away with it
19.00 - Working dinner - Apparently your presentation caused a stir and they would like more detail.
20.00 - Asked to lead present your idea at the next round of meetings. FKFKFKFK. That wasn’t meant to happen.
20.30 - In for a penny in for a pound, make up the most ridiculous nonsense but present it with a gravitas and air of authority that has your audience nodding sagely. Dispel any questions or criticism with references to papers and studies that you have just made up.
21.00 Your idea is voted the best they have. You protest that surely someone has a better one. They don’t. Your single white flip chart scribbles are rushed off to a PR group for tidying up before being presented to the world. No, this can't be happening!
22.00 You slip away through a back door unnoticed as the two main leaders of Europe take the stage to offer the world the solution to Greece, the recapitalisation of the banks and the indebted structure of the other periphery nations.