9 Jun 2003

The Me I always wanted to be …

The first part of the selection event was the worst. It was a ‘Group Exercise’ which, in case you have never experienced the pleasure, involves conducting a meeting within an allotted time with a ‘case study’ problem to solve as a group; the object of the exercise is to assess how you work within a group, build on the ideas of others and bullshit in a team situation. There are observers watching your every move.

The assessors have a set of criteria that they need to see evidence of during the exercise. They make notes as they observe to back up the decision that they have already made based on the cut of your jib.

The other candidates (my opponents) were as expected: Call Centre Tony (who maintained an air of distaining superiority), Janice (who is still peeling from the sun burn – she had her green contacts in) and Brenda from the Glasgow office (she is a fellow GREEN GOBLIN ecological representative and honks like a sea lion when she laughs.)

I was quietly confident throughout the session. I sat back; nodded in the right places. Then Call Centre Tony pulled a blinder. He stood up, patted Brenda on the back, engaged everyone in eye contact and took one of Janice’s ideas and ran with it: “Janice I like that idea and it builds on Brenda’s vision perfectly – we need a blended approach to incoming and outgoing calls. Our people should become more like ‘Customer Contact Agents’ ready to do their up-most whatever the channel.”

I have never heard him speak like this before. The observers, including Bernard, feverishly scribbled down their reactions. They were beaming with delight. I knew that I needed to seize the initiative, so I stood too, and said:

“You know call centres are all about relationships. (pause) What we need is fewer customers, less money. It is the things we think but do not say.”

There was silence.

I knew I shouldn’t have watched JERRY MAGUIRE last night.